Safely returning to class (last updated November 2020)
We would like to start by thanking each and every one of our parents who have continued to support us throughout the pandemic both by encouraging students to take part in online learning and by continuing to make payments to the Academy despite the difficult circumstances we have all had to face. Your support has allowed us to keep the children active whilst also keeping the business in a stable position.
COVID-19 has no doubt had an impact on each and every one of us both mentally and physically and we now all have to move onto the next stage of getting things back up and running and get used to the new normal together.
As we move into the next stage of re-opening and re-building we will be closely following the Government guidance ensuring that social distancing and the safety of our students, staff and parents remains the priority. We have carefully constructed a plan which will allow us to implement social distancing and open our doors to welcome back the children with a revised timetable, reduced class numbers and specific rules that we all must adhere to. This information has been outlined in our social distancing video which has been circulated on social media.
Entering and Exiting the Academy
We will be operating a new one-way system when entering and exiting the Academy to allow us to maintain social distancing when dropping off and picking up students. The main entrance which is normally used for all classes will be the entrance point and we will have a clearly marked one-way route through the building to the exit at the other door at the front of the building. It is important that students and parents follow this route at all times. A safe distance should be adhered to when moving through the building. We will only allow one parent per child to enter the building at any time and please no siblings unless it is absolutely necessary. We are only permitting one person in the toilets at any time unless they are from the same household and we will be limiting the number of toilets we use so that we can keep on top of cleaning. Where possible we advise parents not to enter the Academy at all unless it is necessary or they are bringing young children.
Please be considerate when parking and space vehicles out within the car-park. We have purposely reduced the timetable and allowed extra time between classes so that this also reduces the number of cars in the car park at any one time.
Social Distancing in classes
We will be running classes using our larger rooms only. Smaller singing studios will only be used for one-on-one sessions such as LAMDA. Larger rooms will have floor decals which clearly mark a safe distance between students in the room. Students will be required to take part in warm up’s, dance routines and lessons using their individual marker as a guide for social distancing. Dance routines and blocking which would normally be placed or staged closely together will be performed at a distance until we are able to relax social distancing further. Staff members will teach lessons from a safe distance and there will be no physical contact or support given until restrictions are lifted.
Social 'bubbles' and class divides
We will be splitting children into social ‘bubbles’ which they will remain part of in the near future. Where possible we will divide children with people they are friends. We will also take into consideration those that attend additional classes such as Commercial and Encore when arranging the bubbles.
Social Distancing between lessons
When entering the building for the start of lessons students are required to sanitise their hands using the alcohol gel provided and enter the main hall or studio where there will be a number of chairs positioned around the room at a safe distance apart. These chairs will be allocated to each individual child where they should place their belongings. Please where possible avoid bringing too many things into the building. Belongings should be placed on your child’s allocated chair. Moving between lessons children will be reminded to keep a safe distance apart. At the end of the session older students will be permitted to leave safely to the car park. The parents of younger students should queue up to the door maintaining a safe distance and their child will be called one by one and exit following the one way route.
We are accepting payments by card or contactless only. Alternatively payments can be made online using Go Cardless or by bank transfer. There will be no additional transaction fees on any card payments or minimum spends. We are avoiding any cash payments until further notice to reduce the spread of germs however if this is absolutely necessary cash or cheques must be placed into a sealed envelope with the amount, your invoice number and child’s name on the front. Unfortunately we are unable to give any change.
Break times have been reduced and will be taken within the main hall and again students will be required to return to their own chair where they can eat their snacks and chat with their friends safely. This is far different from our normal break time where students are encouraged to mix and socialise but we need children to understand that this has been put in place as a temporary safety measure and they are unable to run around and play with their friends until restrictions are relaxed.
Hygiene and Protection
Keeping hands free of germs will remain our priority for the foreseeable future. To avoid large numbers of people entering the toilets at the beginning of lessons we will provide hand sanitizer gel at the entrance and throughout the building. Hands must be washed after using the toilet and before and after break times. We will allocate extra time to do this. Tissues will be placed around the studios for any child who may need to cough or sneeze during a lesson and should be disposed of safely in the bins. Again, they will be encouraged to wash their hands. We will endeavour to clean regularly used surfaces, handles, chairs between lessons and floors will be disinfected before each teaching day. Antibacterial wipes and sanitizers will be freely available to use by anyone at any point.
All adults are required to wear a face covering when entering the building unless they are exempt. Face masks are not required for children. Staff and chaperones will be provided with protective masks to wear should they choose to whilst teaching classes and moving around the building but they are not compulsory.
Those who are showing symptoms relating to COVID-19 or generally feel unwell should not come to class. This includes any parents who may be picking up or dropping off and anyone who has a member of their household showing symptoms or been in contact with anyone else. Any child who we feel is showing the symptoms or feels unwell and has turned up to class will not be permitted to stay.
Track and Trace
To allow us to stay compliant with NHS guidance and easily identify cohorts of students that have been in contact with each other our new track and trace feature on our online system should hopefully give parents and children the confidence to return to lessons safely. We hope to not have to use it but should any student or member of their family show symptoms of the virus, we can easily track down who has been in contact with the individual and freeze any lessons for their entire 'bubble' for a period of time.
Safeguarding and Child Protection
We understand that the long duration spent at home during lockdown away from social environments may have had a negative impact on students and they may have been affected by the pandemic in different ways. Our staff are aware to look out for additional signs and unusual behaviour during our return and will provide opportunities to talk about their experiences and show support where required. Extra consideration will be shown towards those that have developed anxieties in relation to the virus or who’s family or close friends may have been affected. Safeguarding issues will be addressed using our normal child protection and safe guarding procedures which can be found in our policy.