Posted: August 5, 2020.
Based on all known information and guidelines, as of July 31/20, all Act One classes for the 2020/21 school year will be held on-site/in-person.
We are able to make this statement with a high degree of confidence due to our experiences with the outcome of our 2019/20 classes, that were successfully completed using the same protocols we will be continuing to follow in the Fall. These protocols and procedures have been developed using the guidelines outlined by the Durham Region Health Department and “best practices” procedures being implemented and/or planned by the departments of Education, Recreation and Child Services.
This include the following main highlights:
Physical Distancing: Instructors will be adapting all activities to meet physical distancing requirements. This includes games, exercises and play staging/blocking..
Main Studio Access Restrictions: For 2020/21, access to the main studio will be limited solely to school staff and students/instructors in the current class only. This is being done to ensure the main studio can be designated as “private” and allow us flexibility regarding mask usage and other pandemic considerations.
Reception Area Access and Capacity: Reception capacity for at least the Fall Term (Sept to Jan) will be limited to a maximum of four individuals. Also, anyone wishing or planning to stay in reception for more than a 5-minute period, will be required to obtain prior school permission to do so. In the case where reception capacity is full, all others will need to wait outside or in their cars.
Class Start and End Times: These will set to eliminate overlap between classes. The first 5 minutes of each class will be designated as the “arrival” time and the last 5 minutes as “departure” time. Students in the upcoming class will not be able to enter the studio prior to the arrival time. When class is over, instructors will use the departure time period to let students leave one-by-one, spaced out to ensure safe physical distancing between each student.
Screening Declaration: • As required by provincial guidelines, prior to the start of each class, each week, we will require a parent or guardian to provide a “screening declaration”, stating that to the best of their knowledge, since the previous class, their child has neither demonstrated any COVID-19 symptoms or come into contact with anyone suspected of them. This declaration can be signed by the parents in reception before the class or sent to the school from their personal e-mail, anytime within the 24hrs prior to the class start. Without the declaration, Act One will not be able to permit a student to enter the main studio.
Temperature Checks: In addition, before being allowed to enter the main studio, all students will have to undergo a contactless temperature check. Based on current health guidelines, a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius is considered a strong indicator of fever and infection. For extra safety, Act One is requiring a temperate below 37.8 degrees Celsius for entrance to Act One.
General Mask Requirements: Anyone entering the school will be required to wear a mask upon entering, exiting and/or remaining in reception. This includes students, instructors and parents, etc.
Hand Sanitization: Upon entering the main studio, prior to taking a seat, students will be required to use the hand sanitizer provided or wash their hands.They will also be encouraged to do same when they elave at the end of the class.
Main Studio/In-Class Mask Usage: Once in the main studio, participants are allowed to remove their masks if they receive instructor permission but must keep them on their person, in case the instructor deems it necessary for them to put them back on for any reason. (FYI – schools and camps that can be closed to general public (like Act One) are exempt from mandatory indoor mask wearing, if this can be done safely and still adhere to physical distancing. Mask usage options in the main studio will be based on instructor discretion, depending on the specific activity and students at hand).
Washroom Procedures: Washroom use will require instructor permission to make sure we keep track of when it is used. Everyone will be required to use hand sanitizer both before entering and after exiting the washroom. Paper towels will be available for those who wish to avoid direct skin contact with any common touch points in the washroom.
School Performance Events: We will still be presenting our regular student performance events at their normally scheduled times (Winter cabaret: End of January; Weekend of Monologues: End of March and Year End Shows: end of June). The only difference is, due to concerns over large group gatherings, we will be live streaming them as opposed to having in-house audience on show nights. Students will still be able to gain performance experience on Act One’s stage, under full show conditions.
We recognize that the above measures may add some inconvenience to family activities (especially around school drop-off and pick up flexibility). Act One will do its best to work with everyone to keep these as minimal as possible but we hope everyone understands that, in the current pandemic environment, it will likely be impossible to eliminate all inconveniences and we hope families can plan accordingly. Ultimately, the safety of the Act One “family” (ie staff, students and their families) must take precedence over convenience.
If anyone has any questions regarding this update, please feel free to contact the school.