Programs are currently being offered online and outdoors, because people can transmit the omicron variant indoors regardless of vaccination status.
In solidarity with dancers and community members who are immune-compromised, at high risk for severe COVID-19 or Long Covid, and/or have health conditions that mean they cannot safely be vaccinated, we are continuing to focus on online offerings.
Currently, all programs are in collaboration with partner organizations that have detailed safety plans and protocols, and have staff who maintain lists of in-person participants for contact tracing.
The following protocols have been developed based on orders and guidance issued by the provincial health officer and WorkSafeBC, as well as paying attention to peer-reviewed studies about how COVID-19 transmits.
General protocols to reduce the risk of transmission
- When possible, working from home and teaching online through video platforms.
- During the warm season, sessions take place outdoors when possible. Please bring layers and dress for the weather.
- For indoor sessions, windows and/or doors are opened for ventilation when possible. Please bring warm layers.
- Physical distancing:
- Participants and facilitators are spaced at least 2.5 metres apart when dancing, with the facilitator in a designated “instructor area” further apart when possible. The size of groups has been reduced.
- Most in-person groups are remaining seated in one spot during classes, which maintains the physical distance throughout the session.
- For studio sessions, each participant has a designated area taped on the floor (at least 3 meters squared) in which they can move about, to maintain physical distancing with other participants. When a dancer is participating with an attendant or support person, they have a larger designated area.
- For indoor sessions, masks that cover the mouth and nose are worn, except when located at least 2 metres apart and eating or drinking. BC’s exemptions for wearing a mask: people who are unable to wear a mask due to a health condition or a physical, cognitive or mental impairment, and people who are unable to put on or remove a mask without the assistance of another person. People who are not wearing a mask are asked to stay at least 2 metres apart from others.
- If a participant needs to see the facilitator’s face for speechreading, then physical distancing and ventilation is increased and a face shield is worn if a clear mask is not available.
- Airborne etiquette and hand hygiene:
- Participants are reminded to cover coughs and sneezes.
- Music volume has been lowered so that talking does not need to be loud.
- During the pandemic, singing is avoided at in-person sessions (only virtual sessions online welcome singing along to songs).
- Hand hygiene is encouraged, including hand washing or sanitizing before and after sessions.
- Everyone is encouraged to bring a full water bottle and arrive wearing their dance clothes. Please keep any bag or personal items in a designated spot.
- During the pandemic, most dance prop use is on pause.
- When props are used, each participant has their own prop that is not shared. Props are sanitized and generally quarantined for at least 14 days between use.
- Partner organizations and host venues have detailed cleaning and sanitizing protocols for their venues.
Policy regarding symptoms of COVID-19
Facilitators, collaborators and participants who are showing symptoms of COVID-19 are not allowed in-person at sessions. For example:
- Anyone who has had symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 5 days must self-isolate at home. Consult the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool, or call 811 for further guidance related to testing and self-isolation.
- Anyone who has been identified by Public Health as a close contact of someone with COVID-19.
- Anyone directed by Public Health to self-isolate.
- Anyone who has arrived from outside of Canada must self-isolate for 14 days and monitor for symptoms.
If anyone at a session starts to feel ill: the person with symptoms should report to first aid (even with mild symptoms), be provided with a mask, wash or sanitize their hands, and isolate until they are able to go straight home (or seek medical attention if severely ill). Ventilate the room and clean and disinfect any surfaces that the person with symptoms has come into contact with.
*This policy uses text copied from WorkSafeBC’s COVID-19 Safety Plan template.
These pandemic protocols and policy will continue to be updated based on BC public health orders and new information.
If you have any questions or concerns, please be in touch.