Safely reopening your dance studio is critical to your business and your students. As you open, you’ll need to take precautions to protect yourself, your teachers and your dancers. No one has all the answers, but you can take some steps to stay as safe as possible while we await a vaccine and more coronavirus information.
Make your dance studio opening as germ-free as possible with proper cleaning procedures, mask practices and other safe behaviors. Let’s take a look at what those practices to reopen your dance studio entail.
COVID-19 Safety Protocols
Much remains unknown about transmission, reinfection, side effects or reasons why some are asymptomatic, other people have long-lasting health complications and others lose their lives. Research is ongoing, but many health organizations have released guidance on practices to keep the virus away as best we can, based on current knowledge.
We’ve culled these recommendations from the Task Force on Dancers’ Health Report sponsored by Dance USA, interviews with the technical director of a major chemical company that manufactures disinfectants that kill COVID-19 and Dr. Bonnie Simmons, chair of Prohealth Urgent Care in New York, who has headed up task forces responding to Ebola and COVID-19.
For medical advice, please contact your physician. Protocols on dealing with COVID-19 are evolving rapidly as we learn more about the disease. Please be on the lookout for updates from reliable sources only.
There are conflicting recommendations about reducing the impact and transmission of COVID-19. Some experts claim heat and humidity will quell the virus, especially during the summer. Others point out that the virus lives longer on moist surfaces. Some people have noted that Singapore, which is notoriously hot and humid, just experienced a spike.
Another conflict of opinion about COVID-19 concerns air circulation. Some say an HVAC system can remove the virus from indoor air. Others say it re-circulates the droplets carrying the virus, thus infecting more people. When there are no definitive answers, we have to wait it out until scientists reach a consensus.
We do know that fresh air is better than being in a contained space. Early on, there was some confusion about whether you should wear a mask. This discussion is over. Wear a mask, especially in close quarters, to do your part and prevent the spread.
Opening a Dance Studio Checklist
If you need to reopen a dance studio, that task requires careful planning and abiding by lots of safe practices. Here’s our checklist for opening a dance studio with some essential aspects to keep in mind.
- Masks: Everyone must wear a mask or facial covering at all times. That means teachers, students and parents. The only exception is babies under 5 years old. There are a few types of masks, and, while N95 masks and respirators offer excellent protection, they are typically exclusively for health care workers who need them most. The public should use cloth masks with two to three layers. You can also add a filter. Make sure masks cover the entire lower two-thirds of your face, from the bridge of your nose to below your chin.
- Hand sanitizer: Everyone coming into and going out of the studio should use hand sanitizer. Consider reapplying once or twice during class, perhaps at the end of barre work.
- Social distancing: We have all heard of staying 6 feet apart, but when you are dancing, you may need to remain 10 feet apart, as exertion causes heavier breathing. Staying 6 feet apart is acceptable at the ballet barre.
- Disinfect all surfaces: Clean the floors once or twice a day. Sanitize ballet barres, doorknobs and all surfaces dancers and teachers may touch before and after all classes.
What to Do to Limit Risk of Spread
Several do’s and don’ts will limit the risk of spread.
- Have all students carry their dance shoes into class and put them on in the studio. Take shoes off before leaving class. Ask parents to sanitize the bottom of the shoes before coming to class.
- Check the temperature of everyone coming into class with a non-contact infrared thermometer. Anyone with a temperature over 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit must leave immediately.
- Ensure students wear their practice and dancewear to and from class. No changing should occur on-premises.
- Facilitate smaller, shorter classes.
- Stagger entrance times into the studio to avoid lines.
- Get a signed release from parents saying they are sending their children to class without any symptoms of the virus, and that they will abide by all the rules and regulations implemented to protect all the students. Get legal counsel to assist as necessary.
- Don’t allow access to dressing rooms.
- Don’t allow bags or other personal effects in the studio, except for dance shoes.
- Don’t use props, toys or any objects that more than one person would handle.
- Don’t allow bare feet — shoes only.
- Don’t allow parents or observers in the studio. Staff should meet students at the front door to check on masks and observe the use of hand sanitizer.
- Close down the water fountains and snack bar area.
- As tough as it may seem, don’t allow any hugging, handshaking or close socializing before, during and after class.
- Eliminate multiple styles of dance that require a change of shoes during class.
- Don’t allow any lying, sitting or exercises on the floor.
- There should be no shouting or singing in class. The teacher could use a sanitized microphone for amplification, if necessary.
- Limit the use of bathroom facilities if possible, and sanitize them often.
Symptoms can range widely, but commonly reported symptoms of COVID-19 include the following and can appear within two weeks after the initial exposure to the virus. This list is not comprehensive, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are always updating it as they learn more.
- Dry cough
- Fever with a temperature over 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Loss of smell or taste
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sore throat
- Muscle or body aches
If your students show these symptoms, send them home immediately, and urge them to get tested.
If Someone Who Has Attended Class Tests Positive
A positive test result can be nerve-wracking for you, your clients and your instructors. Unfortunately, at this point, you must close down the school for the quarantine period of 14 days.
Spend that time thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing the entire studio from wall to wall.
How to Sanitize Your Studio
Sanitizing your studio involves more than just spraying high-touch surfaces with disinfectant.
- Clean every reachable surface with a detergent that leaves no residue. COVID-19 loves residue and any organic material. Always clean the surface before using disinfectant.
- Use EPA-certified disinfectant on all surfaces.
- Clean and disinfect your dance floor surface at least once a day. Twice would be even better. Products with alcohol, ammonia or bleach will damage your floor, so take care to use floor-specific substances.
- Disinfect ballet barres, light switches, doorknobs and bathrooms before and after every class.
- If you have windows, open them between classes. Fresh air helps.
Information to Know Before Opening Your Dance Studio
- COVID-19 most likely gets transmitted after 15 minutes of continual contact.
- Loud talking, singing or shouting transmits the virus more rapidly and over greater distances. Silence is golden.
- Before using any product on your floor or surfaces, test to ensure it will not discolor or damage.
- Many carriers of COVID-19 are asymptomatic. Anywhere from 10 to 40% of those infected may not experience symptoms, but can transfer the virus to others.
- People over 65 years old, especially with underlying conditions like cancer, heart/lung disease, diabetes, etc., are more likely to contract severe cases of COVID-19. That means Grandma and Grandpa should refrain from coming to watch practice for a few weeks. Urge them to stay home.
- Young people are less likely to contact COVID-19 — however, they are not immune. There have been reports of side effects such as stroke, heart attack and blood clotting in younger patients.
- No known product on the market can disinfect carpeting from COVID-19. Disinfectant carpet cleaners only kill odor-causing bacteria.
- Recent data shows that virus transfer is less likely to happen from object to person. Person-to-person contact through droplet transmission is much more prevalent.
Stagestep Flooring Solutions Can Help You Prepare
Remember that many common cleaning supplies can harm your dance floor. We have specially formulated our array of products to clean your floors without damaging them over time.
- Proclean: ProClean is a concentrated detergent degreaser that does not leave a residue. It is ideal for dance floor surfaces and for the initial cleaning of all other surfaces.
- Proclean D Plus: This product is EPA-certified to kill COVID-19 along with other viruses, bacteria, fungus and algae. It is non-hazmat, hospital-strength and safe to use on dance floors, ballet barres, etc.
- Six-foot distancing tape: You can put down 2-inch vinyl tape that stands out from your floor and reminds dancers of the minimum distance to stay apart.
- Micron Wipes: Use Micron Wipes in conjunction with Proclean and Proclean D Plus to wipe down all touchable surfaces. Washable and reusable, Micron Wipes have extra-fine fibers to trap dirt and bacteria, including the aluminum compound residue that tap shoes can deposit.
- Coming soon: Spray applicators for small and large studios to speed up the cleaning and sanitizing process.
All products include free shipping in the continental U.S. Contact our team today with any questions!