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Education

Boston Ballet School Return to Dance Plan

Boston Ballet School is closely monitoring community activity, academic school plans, CDC and Massachusetts guidelines and taking the advice of many health experts, including our partners at Boston Children’s Hospital. The safety of our students and families remains our top priority.

Our mission statement continues to guide our plans: while excellence in ballet training is crucial to our mission, our job as arts educators goes well beyond technique. The School's philosophy and curriculum support the development of the whole student within a stimulating educational environment.

UPDATES as of 8.24.2021

We are currently offering in-studio and virtual classes for the 2021/2022 school year, while closely monitoring local and state COVID-19 safety guidelines. BBS understands the reality that we will likely need to pivot to 100% virtual instruction at times throughout the year.

With the uncertainty of the challenges COVID-19 presents on a frequent basis, we want to remind you that we may need to switch a group to virtual instruction or cancel completely on any day should something unexpected occur. We will provide as much notice as possible to allow for everyone to receive this information and prepare for the outcome. 

Fall 2021 COVID-19 Risk Reduction Protocols
In planning for this year’s programming, we strive to provide a rewarding dance experience balanced with COVID-19 protocols and measures to ensure a safe response to dance.   Boston Ballet School has developed an expansive COVID-19 Risk Reduction Plan that focuses on the health and safety of the entire community.  

KEY ELEMENTS

  • The Boston Ballet Return to Work Taskforce consulted with numerous doctors, infectious disease specialists, epidemiologists, labor unions, legal experts and other stakeholders in the development of this plan.
  • Boston Ballet has invested in Sterile-Aire Light systems to the rooftop air handlers and has engaged an Air Balancing service to ensure the optimum amount of fresh air is being introduced to the environment. The HVAC system and filters are frequently being inspected and replaced as necessary. Filters have been upgraded to MERV-13.
  • Thanks to all for your support of each other - please remember to honor confidentiality as well. Our organization has prepared for many scenarios, and we’re all in this together!

BEST PRACTICES

  • Employees and students should frequently wash hands for at least 20 seconds, and, in particular, wash or sanitize hands when using shared surfaces (like door handles), before handling food, after using the bathroom, after sneezing, coughing, or nose blowing, and when coming in from the outdoors.
  • Employees and students should avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth. Cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and clean hands with soap and water.
  • Students and employees are required to wipe down their portion of the barre and other touched equipment before and after use.
  • Stay home if you are unwell and have a fever, flu like symptoms such as cough, or sore throat.

COVID-19 VACCINATION

  • People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving a second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two weeks after receiving a single dose of Johnson & Johnson.
  • Boston Ballet School is requesting vaccination information from students as we think more information about vaccination status allows us to make more informed decisions regarding students testing positive or coming in contact with a positive case, and allow us to better plan for future events and decision as we move towards all groups being eligible for vaccination. 
  • Students participating in the Nutcracker are required to be vaccinated or required to get the vaccine as soon as it becomes eligible for them. 
  • Boston Ballet is requiring vaccination for employees unless they have a religious or medical exemption.

MASK POLICY FOR STUDENTS AND EMPLOYEES

  • Masks are required for all students, faculty, musicians, and staff regardless of vaccination status.
  • Cloth masks must preferably have layers. Bandanas, handkerchiefs, fleece balaclavas, and neck gaiters are not acceptable masks.
  • BBS does not recommend N95 masks for use during dance class because they can trap carbon dioxide.
  • Students and staff are required to wear masks during class and are asked to bring multiple masks for the day so they can replace wet masks with clean and dry ones.
  • Individuals are asked to supply their own masks, but there will be extras available at the front desk in case of emergency.
  • Reusable masks must be routinely washed.
  • Masks are currently required regardless of vaccination status unless inside an office independently.

CHECK IN 

  • Students are required to check in with a studio administrator upon arrival before every class. By checking in, students and guardians are attesting that their children have no symptoms of COVID-19 and have not been exposed to anyone who has had COVID-19 in the past fourteen days. The symptoms of COVID-19 are listed below:
    • Fever (temperature of 100.0 F or above), felt feverish, or had chills?
    • Cough?
    • Sore throat?
    • Difficulty breathing?
    • Gastrointestinal symptoms (diarrhea, nausea, vomiting)?
    • Fatigue? (Fatigue alone should not exclude a child from participation)
    • Headache?
    • New loss of smell/taste?
    • New muscle aches?
    • Pink eye?

SOCIAL DISTANCING

  • At least 3 feet of social distancing should be maintained at all times, including in the dance studios.

COMMON AREAS

  • Common areas such as the bathrooms, locker-rooms and lobbies are open for use.

APPROVED CHAPERONES

  • In order to reduce occupancy levels on premises during class time and further limit exposure to BBS students who are not eligible to be vaccinated yet, Boston Ballet School will limit chaperones to:
    • Children’s Program students, ages 16mo-7 years and Adaptive Dance Program students, in order to assist with removing street shoes and clothes to prepare for class, bathroom trips if required.
    • Special exceptions will be granted for the Classical Ballet Program, ages 8-18 with prior written approval.  
    • Chaperones must follow on-site protocols at all times.
    • Designated chaperone waiting areas will be provided and clearly marked.
    • Younger siblings of students are permitted to join the chaperone-student pair at the wellness check, and if necessary, on premises while the chaperone assists the student to prepare for class. Siblings must adhere to the safety protocols.

WATER AND SNACK BREAKS

  • Water breaks are encouraged. Students will be asked to stay socially distanced when drinking water.
  • If a student has a break in between class, they are allowed to eat a snack or sit in the lobby while they wait. Students must stay socially distanced while eating and are required to wear their mask when not eating or drinking. Lobbies will be configured to clearly mark space for students to wait and spread out safely.

STUDENTS OR STAFF TESTING POSITIVE FOR COVID-19
If a student or faculty member tests positive for COVID-19, BBS will initiate contact tracing to determine the exposure level at the studio. Students/classes impacted will be asked to transition to virtual learning and contact their child’s primary care physician for advice on testing for COVID-19. If the test is positive, all students in the class will be notified about the positive case while keeping the identity of the individual confidential. The person who tested positive can only return once the following criteria are met:

  1. Improvement in respiratory symptoms; AND
  2. It has been 72 hours since a fever resolved without the use of medication; AND one of the following:
  3. 2 consecutive negative tests collected >24 hours apart; OR 10 days have passed since symptoms first occurred (or since the person tested positive, if he/she remains asymptomatic the entire time).

POSSIBLE COVID-19 EXPOSURE
If your child or a member of your household has been in contact with a confirmed case, or your child or a member of your household tested positive to COVID-19, but doesn’t show symptoms, that person and any household members must stay home and inform BBS administration. Guardians should contact their child’s primary care physician to obtain testing recommendations and a doctor’s note of result. The student’s first date back onsite will be determined by vaccination status, present symptoms, and a doctor’s recommendation.

Boston Ballet School will require any staff exposed to COVID-19 take a test five days after exposure, regardless of symptoms. During those five days, employees will be asked to either work from home or may continued at work masked or distanced depending on job function. Staff who are symptomatic or test positive will isolate per the guidance referenced above. 

COVID-19 EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES
Guardians are encouraged to read through these COVID-19 educational resources prior to participating in any BBS program.

Please reach out to school@bostonballet.org with any questions or concerns. Information and schedules are subject to change.

We celebrate diversity while fostering a team spirit.

Mikko Nissinen, Artistic Director
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