Reopening of Dance Schools in lockdown, as well as a number of other indoor leisure companies, has now been approved. On Thursday 9th July the UK Government announced that we could reopen our doors from Saturday 25th July.
You may have wondered why it’s taken us so long to report on this, and announce our dance school reopening plans?
Part of the delay was due to the completion of our house purchase (unfortunately just before the stamp duty holiday). Our broadband at home hasn’t gone live yet so internet use has been limited. Add to that the DIY & decorating we have been powering through since then and we’ve been swamped!
Mainly though we were waiting for the UK Government to release detailed guidance and procedures. Also to hear from our teaching association, the NATD, as well as other industry bodies such as the British Dance Council.
The DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport), finally released general guidance last week.
Antony therefore had the fun job last weekend of reading all the various documents and guides. These weren’t specifically for dance schools reopening from lockdown but covered the whole leisure sector.
It included a 20-page detailed guidance on ventilation; which he assures everyone was not how he had original planned to spend a Saturday!
You can jump ahead to sections, or make yourself a cuppa and settle in for the full read!
Table Of Contents
- Government Guidance for Reopening
- What does Learn To Dance have to consider?
- When are we back?
- Dance School Procedures & Precautions
- A brief thank you for your support
DCMS Guidance for a Dance School Reopening after Lockdown
We won’t bore you with a complete analysis of the DCMS guidance. However in summary the things that Learn To Dance need to have in mind, to bring the dance school out of lockdown include:
- Limit the number of people at the studio at any one time
- Reduction in class numbers in ratio to the dance school studio size
- Allow sufficient time between classes to prevent groups congregating
- Enhanced cleaning regime
- Provision of hand sanitisers
- Implement a one-way system and queue management if required
- Ensure there is adequate ventilation
- Temporary floor markings to indicate social distancing
- No use of showers or changing facilities where possible
If you’re a glutton for punishment you can peruse the guidance yourself by following the below links:
- Government Announces Gyms & Pools to Reopen Safely
- Working Safely During Coronavirus – Guidance for Gym/Leisure Facilities
- HSE Working safely during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
- PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and Face Coverings in non-healthcare work
- Cleaning Your Workplace to Reduce Risk from Coronavirus
- Guidance For The Public on Phased Return of Outdoor Sport & Recreation
- Maintaining Records of Staff, Customers & Visitors to support NHS Test & Trace
- Air Conditioning & Ventilation during the Coronavirus outbreak
- Performing Arts – Working Safely during Coronavirus
What does Learn To Dance have to consider to reopen safely?
There are four main areas then that we have to consider to allow us to reopen the dance school safely after lockdown.
Thinking About Risk
We have completed a risk assessment, which we will be forwarding to the Parish Council to approve. When thinking about risk we had to assess:
- the potential means of transmitting the virus
- who is at risk
- how likely it is
- how to remove or control the risk
It also has to be understood that it is impossible to completely eliminate the risk, and therefore care must be taken to mitigate the risk as much as possible.
The main ways we can do this include social distancing, staggering teaching shifts where possible, and ensuring regular hand washing is adhered to.
We will also be discussing the risk assessment with our teachers to identify any further risks or mitigations possible.
We’re all by now aware of the need to socially distance to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus.
Measures to help with social distancing can include:
- Floor taping
- Signage and warnings
- ‘Sneeze’ Screens
- Avoiding face-to-face positions. Either side-by-side or back-to-back preferable
- Limiting movement around the studio
Again all of us should by now be aware of the need to clean hands and surfaces more regularly. Measures to help us safely come back should include:
- Good handwashing technique – and signage to encourage
- Coughing or sneezing into the arm rather than hands
- Avoid touching your face
- Use of hand sanitiser if you cannot regularly wash your hands
- Regular cleaning of surfaces that may have been come into contact with
- Cleaning between use of equipment
Temperature and Illness
High temperature can be an indicator of Coronavirus or general illness. Anyone with a temperature higher than 38°C should not visit the studio
If people feel unwell then they should avoid coming to the studio. Or if you exhibit symptoms such as a persistent cough, shortness of breath or fever.
Equally if you suspect, or have been told, that you have had contact with someone with Covid in the last 14 days you should self-isolate.
When is the Dance School Reopening from Lockdown?
So now we come to how and when Learn To Dance plan to reopen safely.
First of all, we will not be opening on Saturday 25th July or indeed that week. Part of the reason is to evaluate what effect the general easing of lockdown has had, and what issues might arise.
We have therefore decided to trial reopening from Sunday 2nd August with a heavily limited schedule.
There will be no classes scheduled currently in August, although we may consider running some if there is the demand, subject to the precautions we plan to have in place.
Private lessons will be offered to COUPLES ONLY or singles who are happy to DANCE ON THEIR OWN. There will be no 1-on-1 contact lessons offered at present. We may consider offering private group classes for up to 4 couples, so long as social distancing is maintained if seperate households.
We will be contacting existing bookings to confirm whether they are happy to keep their booked slots or to discuss alternative arrangements.
No existing packages that were valid before lockdown will expire before December 2020.
We ask that you bear with us should we miss one or two, as it is quite a task to extend all the packages. If you notice that a package has expired, that you feel should have still been active, please let us know.
Dance School Procedures & Precautions
So now you know WHEN we plan to open, but what are we doing (and going to require you to do) to allow us to operate safely?
Prepping the Studio to reopen after lockdown
There are a number of measures we are taking to ensure the studio is ready for reopening.
- There will be a one-way system in operation for entry and exit of the studio. We ask that you enter down the right-hand (pitch) side of the building through the fire escape. Leaving will be from the other side of the studio next to the nature reserve trail.
- Sanitiser Gel Dispensers have been installed by the toilets and by the temporary entrance and exits.
- We have invested in a contactless card machine to reduce the need to hand over cards. However if you wish to have your card saved we can still do this on our regular booking system.
- The changing rooms and showers will not be available for use
- Windows will be opened prior to student’s arrival and fans will be running constantly to circulate the outside air.
- We will be installing a ‘sneeze’ screen at the kitchen serving hatch. Should payments need to be taken etc. we ask that you queue at the hatch (observing social distancing where required) and do not enter the kitchen.
- Where possible all internal doors will be propped open (subject to adhering to fire regulations).
- Teachers will wear face shields and adhere to social distance requirements. Face masks will be at teacher’s discretion.
- Music will be run at ‘conversational level’ to prevent the need to raise voices (which can increase virus transmission distance).
- We will aim to have a 15 minute gap between lessons/classes to reduce the chance of student’s grouping/overlapping. This will also allow us time to clean surfaces between sessions.
- Any local lockdowns will be monitored and may require short-notice cancellations.
What Learn To Dance Students will be asked to do, to return after lockdown
To return to dancing, following lockdown, we will be asking students to adhere to the following:
- Face masks will be required upon arrival at the studio, however you are not required to wear them whilst dancing.
- Temperature checks will be carried out upon arrival and you will only be permitted to enter the studio, and remove your mask, if you are below 38°C. Entrance will also be subject to confirmation that you are not feeling unwell, displaying any Coronavirus-like symptoms, nor have had contact with anyone suffering from Covid-19 in the previous 14 days.
- Whilst it will be lovely to see you all again we ask that you refrain from hugging our teachers, or other students.
- There will be no refilling of drinks allowed at the studio, please ensure you bring sufficient for your lesson.
- Please avoid entering the studio before you are invited by a teacher and have had your temperature checked.
- Check and confirm that your contact details are up-to-date. Preferably please do this online in advance otherwise we will need to do this at the start of your lesson, for NHS Track & Trace purposes.
- Try to leave one parking space between your car and others if possible.
- If you are not a current Learn To Dance student please register/book for session in advance online or over the phone.
- Wash hands regularly and use sanitiser provided.
- Towels are not permitted to be brought into dance studios under current government guidance. It is recommended to use paper towels where possible.
It’s Thanks From Us
As for every other business this has been a trying and testing time and we thank all of you who have contacted us during this time.
We are especially grateful to the students who opted to add to their account balances over lockdown, or pay as if they were attending, and help us meet our continuing obligations.
We can’t wait to get the dance school back to full reopening following lockdown.
Details of classes will be released as we evaluate the situation so keep an eye on the news page.
Don’t forget you can always check out our selection of online dance lessons, which we hope to add to over the next few months.
We look forward to welcoming you back to the studio as soon as possible.
Antony & Emma