Are dance school restrictions easing on 19th July? Read our update below to see what changes we’re going to implement, and what’s staying the same.
UPDATE 16/07/2021: FOLLOWING DISCUSSIONS WITH STAFF AND STUDENTS WE HAVE MADE SOME CHANGES TO THESE PLANS. CHECK OUR COVID POLICIES PAGE FOR THE MOST UP-TO-DATE PROCEDURES.
Dance School Restrictions Easing Step 4 (delayed from 21st June)
So the government have now confirmed that Step 4 of lockdown easing will finally go ahead from Monday 19th July. Whilst not all of the guidelines have currently been updated the main document is available and we have been reviewing it today.
Although most legal restrictions are being lifted at step 4, and lots of people have been vaccinated, we are told it is still possible to catch and spread COVID-19. This can happen even if you are fully vaccinated, and we are currently in the third wave of the pandemic in the UK.
The government have confirmed that COVID-19 will be a feature of our lives for the foreseeable future. Therefore we need to learn to live with it and manage the risk to ourselves and others.
Some of the features of the last year that we can expect to see being encouraged/required as dance school restrictions easing starts are:
- Being tested if you develop symptoms
- Self-isolating if you test positive, or are asked to isolate by Test & Trace. The requirement to isolate by Test & Trace will be removed for Under 18s and those fully vaccinated after 16th August if a negative test result is received.
- Masks in busy confined spaces such as public transport
- Good ventilation should be maintained
- Social contact should still be minimised
- COVID passes recommended to enter some venues
So what restrictions are being lifted?
The 2m social distancing requirement is going to be removed and there will be no limit now on the numbers that you can meet up with.
All businesses are now allowed to be fully open with all capacity limits removed.
However there are still some things they recommend to help mitigate or minimise the risk of transmission as the dance school restrictions begin easing:
- You should limit close contact with those you don’t normally live with
- Close contact should be gradually increased over time
- Minimise the number, proximity and duration of social contacts
- Meet outdoors where possible
- Whilst working from home will no longer be encouraged, there should be a phased return over the summer where possible
- Face covering requirements will be removed from law, however are recommended to be maintained in crowded areas
- Limits on weddings and other similar events will be removed although there will be additional guidance on this (not yet updated as at 13/07/2021).
- All businesses are now allowed to reopen
- Capacity limits will be removed
- No social distancing rules
- Still have to follow relevant working safely guidance (not yet updated as at 13/07/2021
- Certain mitigations should still be followed:
- Regular cleaning of frequently touched surfaces
- Ensure sufficient air flow around the venue
- If staff or customers are unwell they shouldn’t enter the building
- Consider implementation of the COVID pass for entry. The NHS COVID Pass will be made available through the NHS App, NHS.UK, or as a letter that can be requested by ringing NHS 119. Visitors will also be able to show text or email confirmation of test results.
- QR code for Trace and Test should still be displayed
- Twice weekly testing for staff should be encouraged
Some of the guidelines are still in the process of being updated but there shouldn’t be too many material differences hopefully. We will however review the various documents as they are updated.
If you are worried about going back to a more ‘normal’ life, there is information from the NHS on how to cope with anxiety about lockdown lifting.
Understanding the risks of COVID-19
The risk of catching or passing on COVID-19 can be higher in certain places and when doing certain activities.
The main way of spreading COVID-19 is through close contact with an infected person. When someone with COVID-19 breathes, speaks, coughs or sneezes, they release particles (droplets and aerosols) containing the virus that causes COVID-19. These particles can be breathed in by another person. The particles can also land on surfaces and be passed from person to person via touch.
Generally the risk of catching or passing on COVID-19 is higher:
- within crowded spaces, where there are more people who might be infectious
- in enclosed indoor spaces where there is limited fresh air
Some activities can also increase the risk of catching or passing on COVID-19. This happens where people are doing activities which generate more particles as they breathe heavily, such as singing, dancing, exercising or raising their voices.
The risk is greatest where these factors overlap, for example in crowded indoor spaces where people are raising their voices.
In situations where there is a higher risk of catching or passing on COVID-19, you should be particularly careful to follow the guidance on keeping yourself and others safe as we return to normality. Every little action helps to keep us all safer.
How close contact advice affects the dance school restrictions easing
The main way of spreading COVID-19 is through close contact with an infected person. When someone with COVID-19 breathes, speaks, coughs or sneezes, they release particles (droplets and aerosols) containing the virus that causes COVID-19. These particles can be breathed in by another person.
The government is therefore recommending that you may choose to limit the close contact you have with people you do not usually live with. They also recommend being tested before taking part in activities that will require close contact for prolonged periods. All our teachers voluntarily take part in twice-weekly testing.
So what will Learn To Dance be implementing as the dance school restrictions easing starts?
We have discussed this as a school and agreed how we are going to start implementing the changes as dance school restrictions easing begins.
There will be some of our current restrictions/procedures that we will be maintaining, some that we will be removing, and some that we will relax but not entirely remove yet.
What are we taking away?
- TEMPERATURE CHECKS ON ARRIVAL
- But please note this will be replaced by COVID pass or negative test proofs – more on that later
- REQUIREMENT TO WEAR A MASK ON ARRIVAL OR LEAVING
- You will no longer be required to wear a mask on arrival, or when leaving the studio. However we would recommend wearing one when you head down the corridor to the toilets.
- SOCIAL DISTANCING ‘DOTS’ REMOVED
- We will no longer have the floor spacings and we won’t be enforcing social distancing. However please bear in mind that not everyone will be fully comfortable with returning to ‘normal’ as we move out of lockdown restrictions. Therefore we ask that you respect others space in classes and try to avoid getting too close.
- PRE-BOOKING NOT REQUIRED
- You will no longer be required to pre-book for our classes, details on new temporary capacity limits follow later. Please note however that those not pre-booked may be refused entry if our new limits are hit.
What’s staying the same?
- ONE-WAY SYSTEM
- For the moment we will be retaining the one-way system at the studio. You will still be required to enter from the pitch side of the studio, and leave on the opposite side. This will allow us to continue to implement some of our policies, including new ones you can read more on later.
- NON-CONTACT WITH OUR TEACHERS (in group classes)
- We are required to phase contact back in and so will be trialling limited contact during private lessons only initially
- FOGGING/CLEANING OF THE STUDIO
- Our cleaning regime of the studio will remain in place which means we will still ask you to leave promptly at the end of classes to allow us to fog areas. You may not be admitted to the studio if you arrive too early for a session, if sufficient time hasn’t passed to allow the process to take effect.
- HAND SANITISER STATIONS
- Our hand sanitiser stations will remain and we recommend using on arrival and before leaving, or when visiting the toilets.
- FEELING ILL? STAY AWAY
- If you are displaying any COVID-like symptoms please do not come to the studio
- REGULAR TESTING
- Our teachers are undergoing voluntary twice-weekly testing and will continue to do so
What changes/new procedures are we bringing in?
Though dance school restrictions easing on 19th July is a long-awaited date we feel there are some procedures we need to introduce of change.
- COVID-pass OR NEGATIVE TESTS FOR ENTRY
- The government have introduced a COVID-pass using the NHS app (not the Test & Trace app). This is the easiest way for us to lower the risk to ALL our staff and students.
- Your COVID-pass shows instantly if you are fully vaccinated, or have received a negative Covid test in the previous 48hrs.
- the NHS COVID Pass will be made available through the NHS App, NHS.UK, or as a letter that can be requested by ringing NHS 119.
- if you have a negative lateral flow test result you can also show us the email or text message, so long as it was within 48hrs of your visit.
- If you do not have a smartphone you can bring a printout, or the letter if you have requested this from NHS 119.
- At this stage you will not be permitted entry if you do not bring the required proof. We will be updating our booking confirmation and reminders to reflect this change. This applies to both private lessons and group classes, regardless of whether you will be partnering anyone.
- INCREASED CAPACITY FOR CLASSES
- Although the government have removed all capacity limits for businesses we are still going to limit our class sizes initially.
- We have increased our class capacity to 24 people as a trial.
- You will no longer have to pre-book for our classes, but it is still recommended as we will stop admitting people if our pre-booked and walk-in numbers hit 24.
- If you are running late for a class please ring the studio and let us know, as no-show places will be offered to any walk-ins who may have waited.
- CONTACT BETWEEN STUDENTS IN GROUP CLASSES
- We will no longer restrict solo dancers to dancing on their own if they wish to rotate amongst other solo dancers.
- At present our teachers will still not be partnering solo dancers in group classes. Initially we are going to trial partnering during private lessons only.
- To avoid confusion we will be implementing a traffic light system for our solo dancers. On arrival you will be asked whether you would be happy to dance with another student, either with or without a mask, or whether you want to dance only on your own. You will then be issued with a coloured sticker.
- Green – I’m happy to dance with someone ‘as normal’
- Yellow – If we both wear masks I’m happy to dance with someone
- Red – I’m not comfortable dancing with anyone yet
- We ask that you respect each student’s choice and be prepared to wear a mask, or not dance with someone, depending on their sticker.
- PRIVATE LESSONS REINTRODUCING LIMITED CONTACT
- In line with the government’s guidelines we will be reintroducing contact with our teachers during private lessons only
- However the guidelines also state that individuals should limit close contact with those that they don’t live with. Whilst our teachers may be one extra person that you are partnering we have to consider the number of people they could end up partnering in a week.
- With this in mind we will only be partnering for a maximum of 50% of a private lesson, and in no more than 15 minute intervals initially.
- SOCIAL EVENTS TESTING
- We will not be reintroducing most of our social events initially, but will start running a trial with our Tuesday Over 50s returning to 90 minutes.
- The session will be 45-60 minutes of tuition and the remaining time for tea/coffee, practice and socialising.
- Our traffic light system will still be in effect so please respect other student’s choices during this time
- For tea & coffee please bring your own mugs and limit the time spent in the kitchen area (please chat in the main studio. We ask that you wear masks when entering the kitchen.
We hope you can appreciate our cautious approach to reopening. Whilst it would be a lot better for us financially to return to ‘normality’ as soon as possible we would rather ensure a safe environment for all of you and us.
However we will be constantly monitoring both government & industry advice, as well as feedback from our students, so please let us know if you have any questions or comments.
We can’t wait to welcome more of you back and hope that the dance school restrictions easing can continue over the next few months.