COVID Safety Plan

Montfort College – COVID SAFETY PLAN

 

Dear Parents, Guardians and Students, 

Thank you for being part of our Montfort College community. We are returning to class with renewed focus on the health and safety of all our families and tutors and are grateful for your patience and understanding during this time. 

Montfort College will be operating within current government guidelines. 

We have a strong commitment to ensuring our community’s health. If you have any concerns or questions about our processes and procedures in this transition period, please don’t hesitate to contact us at info@montfortcollege.com 

The Montfort College of Performing Arts studios have been risk assessed by management at the Montfort College in association with Morley Safety Consultants in August 2020 and the following procedures have been implemented.

 

Best regards 

Eileen Nolan & Trevor Ryan 

Directors

 

 

 

 

CONTENTS

  • Introduction 
  • Key Changes for the new term 
  • Covid-19 
  • Best Practice Guidance 

3.1 Preparation of Facilities 

3.2 Clean Facility
3.3 Good Hygiene
3.4 Social Distancing 

3.5 Controlling the flow of participants 

3.6 Face Coverings

  • Safety Promotion 
  • Business Practice 
  • Check In Procedure 
  • Attendance Records 
  • Staff Practice 
  • Staying Informed 

 

1. INTRODUCTION 

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has substantially affected communities all around the world, leading to significant restrictions in all sectors of society, particularly the Performing Arts. 

In the field of Performing Arts, all activities ceased completely on the 12th of March 2020. 

COVID-19 has impacted people in a myriad of ways with many experiencing degradation to their physical and mental health and significant impact on their financial status. 

Resumption of cultural and creative activities will significantly contribute to the re- establishment of normality in Ireland in a post COVID-19 environment, as well as rebooting hundreds of small and medium sized businesses. 

To ensure safety of our communities and ourselves, we are faced with complex decisions and must carefully consider how we return to the Performing Arts in the COVID-19 environment and how we engage others.

1.1 Key changes for the new term 

Class times have been reduced to 55 minutes to allow for an additional 10 minutes cleaning between classes and to temperature check all students before they enter the studio. 

  • All class times have been staggered to reduce the amount of traffic. 
  • Separate entry and exit points to all studios where possible.
  • The study room in the South Link studio is no longer available and has been converted to an isolation room. 
  • All staff members must complete an online RETURN TO WORK form 2 days before resuming work.
  • All students must complete an online RETURN TO CLASS form 2 days before returning to class. 
  • If a student is sick for any reason they MUST complete the RETURN TO CLASS form again before returning to class. 
  • Teachers will wear a visor and or mask at all times. 
  • Any water bottles, coats etc. left behind will be held for 24 hours and will then be sanitized and donated to charity. 
  • Please see details below on the wearing of face masks.
  • Mini Montforts who may have difficulty in getting in and out of their leotard while visiting the toilet can attend class in a tracksuit, leggings or loose fitting clothing (no jeans). They must however wear the correct dance shoes.
  • All DRAMA students shold bring a folder and pencil/ biro. 
  • All ACRO students should bring their own yoga mat. All students should have their own mat by week 3 at the latest. 

2 . COVID-19 

The COVID-19 novel coronavirus is a new strain of coronavirus affecting humans. Some coronaviruses can cause illness similar to the common cold and others can cause more serious diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). This novel coronavirus is still new and as such we are still learning more about it. 

Signs and Symptoms: 

It can take up to 14 days for symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) to appear. They can be similar to the symptoms of cold and flu. 

Common symptoms of coronavirus include: 

  • a fever (high temperature - 38 degrees Celsius or above) 
  • a cough - this can be any kind of cough, not just dry 
  • shortness of breath or breathing difficulties 
  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal* 

How is Coronavirus Spread: 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is spread in sneeze or cough droplets. You could get the virus if you: 

  • come into close contact with someone who has the virus and is coughing or sneezing 
  • touch surfaces that someone who has the virus has coughed or sneezed on and bring your unwashed hands to your face (eyes, nose or mouth) 

Prevention: 

By following BEST PRACTICE GUIDANCE

*Taken from https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/symptoms.html

3. BEST PRACTICE GUIDANCE 

Strategies to limit time and person-to-person contact on site will be implemented. Please note at this time this means no parent, guardian or carer will be permitted inside any Montfort College studio until such time as restrictions are lifted. 

  • No use of changing rooms.
  • Toilets will remain open and will be cleaned regularly.
  • Arrive dressed and ready for class or rehearsal wherever possible.
  • Arrive on time, leave on time.
  • Maintain good hygiene practices.
  • Eat off-site at all times.
  • All students and staff to adhere to social distancing requirments in all studios. 

3.1 Preparation of Facilities 

All facilities have undergone a Risk Assessment by the Montfort College and Morley Safety Consultants prior to resumption of activities. The review considered:

  • Availability of sanitation amenities.
  • High traffic times internal and external.
  • Cleaning protocols.
  • Cleaning protocols for shared areas etc. 

3.2 Clean Facility 

Montfort College will ensure that there are adequate cleaning protocols in place for controlling the risk of infection within each room/area. Appropriate detergents and disinfection products will be used as required. Cleaning protocols are to include: 

  • Regular common surface disinfection.
  • Disinfection of high-touch points and common use equipment between activities. 
  • Regular cleaning of bathroom amenities. 

Important considerations: 

  • Where shared amenities are used for multiple facilities, Montfort College will confirm adequate measures are in place to sanitise the area. This may require consultation with the landlord or other tenancies within a shared use premises.
  • Where Performing Arts activity includes ‘Floor Work’ clean room/area protocols will include an enhanced cleaning schedule for floor surfaces. 

3.3 Good hygiene 

Good personal hygiene can help prevent the transmission of COVID-19. All students and staff must be encouraged to promote and engage in good hygiene practices such as: 

  • Not attend activities if feeling unwell.
  • Frequent hand washing or using alcohol-based sanitizers. 
  • Avoid touching their face.
  • Limit touching of surfaces.
  • Limiting the use of shared equipment or cleaning after use.
  • Covering sneezes and coughs as recommended by HSE. 
  • Each student is required to bring their own clearly labeled water bottle. A water bottle is the only item that students will be allowed to bring to class i.e. no school bags, no food. Phones must be kept in a clearly labeled sanitized zip lock sandwich bag and turned off while in the building. If absolutely necessary, primary & senior students may bring a small gymbag to carry their water bottle and their dance shoes.
  • Suitable sanitation products will be available for students and teachers. Adequate sanitisation may include: bathroom with fresh water, soap and clean paper towels / hand dryer and alcohol-based hand sanitizer. 
  •  Staff will supervise the hand sanitization of each student before and after class.
  • Children (preschool - 2nd class) will be supervised on toilet breaks to ensure that proper hand hygiene is being followed.
  • Older students will be encouraged to wash and sanitize their hands after using the bathroom.
  • The use of props and shared equipment will be limited and wiped down between users.
  • Correct cough and sneezing etiquette will be encouraged at all times. 
  • Bare feet in class is no longer permitted. Trainers (hip hop only), dance shoes or non-slip gym socks must be worn.
  • Acro equipment will be sanitised after each class.

Cleaning 

  • Time has been allocated between all classes to allow for ventilation of the studios and the disinfection/cleaning of all common areas and high touch points. 
  • A ‘CLASSROOM CLEANING CHECKLIST’ will be signed and dated after each class in all studios. 
  • All bathrooms will be cleaned regularly throughout the day.
  • All floors will be cleaned daily, however if dancers are to sit or roll on the floor during choreography the floor will then be disinfected in between classes.
  • Dance mirrors to be washed and disinfected daily.
  • Disinfection of common use equipment in between individual uses e.g. music stands, chairs and acro equpiment.
  • When Montfort College are using shared buildings to hold classes we wish to confirm that we have adequate cleaning measures in place to sanitize the facility before and after class in consultation with the management of the shared facility.
  • The South Link studio will be safely sanitized by Ozone at the end of each evening. In addition disinfectant fogging machines will be used regularly in the South Link studio.  

3.4 Social Distancing 

Social distancing is a measure used to limit the transmission of COVID-19 and similar illnesses by reducing exposure between people. The more distance between people and others, the harder it is for viruses to spread. 

The basic principles of social distancing are to maintain as much as practical;

  • 2 metre distance between people when gathering. 
  • All classes will operate in pods of 6. Each student will be told at the start of each term the coloured pod to which they belong. Some classes will operate with multiple pods where space allows for adequate social distancing. Pods will never interact and will line up, enter and leave the studio while socially distancing.
  • All class groupings have been reduced in size in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines.
  • No hugging, kissing, hand shaking will be permitted within the building.
  • All but essential furniture has been removed to create as much space as possible.
  • The study room in the South Link studio is no longer available. 
  • Limited interaction on arrival and departure and in hallways and other shared areas. 
  • Students who are attending multiple classes in the South Ring studio can only wait for up to a maximum of 30 minutes between classes and must wear a mask. Students can only wait on the seating outside the NOLAN studio. We must know in advance the student name, day and time. Please email the office info@montfortcollege.com

To comply with Social distancing measures, Montfort College will: 

  • Adhere to social distancing recommendations as detailed within the HSE guidelines and Sports Ireland as much as reasonably practicable. 
  • Provide visual indication of social distancing measures to assist participants to follow. 

These may include (but not limited to): 

  • Floor markings. Each studio is marked with clear floor indicators to help students stay within their own space.
  • Wall markings.
  • Spacing of furniture or materials.
  • Installing physical barriers in high traffic area. 

Montfort College will actively promote the practice of social distancing for all students and staff.

3.5 Controlling the flow of participants 

The ‘flow of participants’ is the term used to describe controlling students and staff movements on their way to, moving between, or leaving class to limit the possibility of gatherings and reduce exposure. 

Montfort College will implement measures to control the flow of students within the building and their studios. Montfort College will also consider the effect participant traffic may have on the immediate area around their premises or facilities. Measures will be put in place such as: 

  • Staggering of activity times where multiple rooms/areas are in use to limit traffic or gatherings in common spaces. 
  • Established arrival times to minimise gathering while waiting for class. 
  • Co-ordination by teachers and class assistants with the exit of classes. 
  • We will ensure separate entry and exit points to each room/area and use visual guides such as arrows to coordinate the flow. 
  • 3.6 Face Coverings
  • Teaching and administrative staff will wear face coverings at all times.
  • Students from 3rd class upwards will be asked to bring face shields to singing class and must be worn at all times during class.
  • Students from 3rd class upwards will be asked to bring face shields to Musical Theatre class which they must wear when singing only. This must be brought into class in a clearly labeled sanitized zip lock sandwich bag and brought home afterwards.
  • Face shields are not compulsory while dancing however are most welcome if you feel more comfortable doing so. 
  • Any face covering that are left behind after class will be disposed of safely.
  • We ask all parents and visitors to wear face covering when dropping or collecting. 

4. Safety Promotion 

Safety promotion is how you communicate your safety measures and best practice behaviours to anyone engaging in activities at Montfort College. Safety promotion will include visible display of safety procedures, best practice guidance and business compliance inside Montfort College. Promotion may include posters, printed material or online instructions. 

Examples of safety promotion may include: 

  • Requirements for entering and exiting room/area.
  • COVID Safe Compliance signage.
  • Markings for physical distancing in waiting areas.
  • Participant behavioural expectations in relation to good hygiene and social distancing.
  • Instructional posters on hand washing, hand sanitization, social distancing and COVID-19. 

5. Business Practices 

General business practices are to be modified as required to limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19. 

  • Non-contact payment methods for services is preferred.
  • It should be requested that deliveries to the premises/facility provide prior notice to arrival or provide contactless delivery service with a designated delivery area. 

PLEASE NOTE: During the pandemic we advise parents, guardians or carers that they may not enter the Montfort College studio without giving prior warning to Montfort College office. 

6. Check-in procedure 

Check-in procedures will provide first point of contact protection by identifying, and preventing entry to, individuals who may be infected with COVID-19 and thus preventing transmission within the Montfort College. 

Montfort College will have a check-in procedure for teachers and students: 

  • ‘RETURN TO CLASS / WORK’ online forms should be completed no earlier than 2 daysprior to returning to Montfort College. 
  • Students should arrive as close to their class start time as possible. Only one parent/ guardian should drop them to the door and where possible other siblings etc. should not queue with them. 
  • We ask all parents to wear face coverings while queuing before and after class.
  • The reception area in the South Link studio is currently closed so parents cannot wait within the studio during classes, nor can students arrive early and wait.
  • Parents/guardians must drop and pick-up on time to ensure the smooth running of the schedule.
  • Parents/guardians should maintain social distancing when dropping and collecting their children.
  • Students will be met by the teacher at the entrance to the studio. No student can enter the building without a teacher present. 
  • Parents/guardians and non-students are not allowed to enter the building.
  • We will limit interactions with parents on the door for social distancing purposes, if you have any questions please contact the office.  
  • The reception area in the South Link studio will be used as an ENTRY point only. Students will EXIT through the side door to the right of the building. A one way system now operates throughout the building. 
  • Non contact temperature check for everyone on entry to the building.
  • Attendance records (Name of student, Date and Class attended) are recorded and securely stored through our online roll system.
  • Records will be kept for 15 weeks in accordance with contact tracing guidelines and GDPR protocols.
  • Any person presenting one or more of the following symptoms will not be permitted into the building: A fever, cough or breathing difficulties, loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, aches and pains.
  • On entering & leaving the studio, students are required to use hand sanitizer which is available in every studio. 
  • A one-way system will operate in all studios where relevant. 
  • Changing facilities will not be available in any studio.
  • Students should arrive ‘dance ready’ and in their uniform. All students are requested to wear their uniform in class. 
  • Our staff will wear face visors whilst doing arrivals/ pick ups and during class. 

As per Government guidelines the temperature of individuals should be measured using: 

  • Infra-red forehead thermometers which require no contact with the body. 

Results of temperature testing are to be interpreted as follows: 

  • Temperature of 37.5C or greater is considered High
  • Temperature of 37.3C or 37.4C is considered borderline
  • Temperature of 37.2C or below is not considered elevated 

Any person presenting with an elevated temperature: 

  • Will not be allowed on the premises and should be taken home and their GP informed. 

Any person presenting with a borderline temperature should: 

Have their temperature re-checked after resting for 10 minutes in an isolated area. If the recorded temperature remains borderline they should be considered as having an elevated temperature and follow the guidance above. 

All elevated and repeat borderline temperature measurements will be recorded on an incident report for further monitoring and risk review by Montfort College. 

Procedures during class

  • Once in the studio students will be assigned to a pod. They will then change into their dance shoes and store their belongings. They will remain in the same pod for the duration of the term. 
  • At the start of each class, we will remind students of all precautions that should be maintained during the class (social distancing, good respiratory hygiene etc.).
  • Time will be allocated for water breaks during class. Students are requested to bring their own bottle of water. No disposable water bottles are allowed. Personalised Montfort water bottles can be purchased on the Montfort website. 
  • Eating in the studio is not permitted. All waste MUST be taken home and cannot be left on the premises or deposited in the bins. 
  • Toilets will be available for students and staff only. Parents / siblings are not permitted to use them. Toilets will be cleaned on a regular basis throughout the day.  
  • If during class a student needs assistance from the teacher (is crying, is hurt, is anxious etc.) we will, of course, attend to this student’s needs. However, we will wear a facemask, visor and gloves whilst doing so.  We will then wash both our and their hands after the interaction. The teacher will also change any clothing that had contact with the student. 

7. Attendance Records 

Attendance records (online rolls) for all students visiting Montfort College should be maintained to assist with contact tracing if required. 

Attendance records must be kept securely for at least one full term (15 weeks) and should contain the minimum of: 

  • Full name of student and parent or guardian, phone or mobile number.
  • Location, date and time of class.
     

8. Staff Practices 

Montfort College will ensure that teachers are informed, protected and aware of their responsibilities regarding their safety and the safety of others during the activities at Montfort College and will have also completed the ‘BACK TO WORK FORM’. 

Responsibilities; 

Staff must: 

  • Present fit for work. i.e. individuals experiencing signs or symptoms of COVID-19 must not attend work and follow the advice from the HSE. 
  • Monitor the health of students before, during and after class.
  • Ensure students maintain good hygiene and physical distancing practices and model these behaviours for others. 

Education and Training 

Education for staff in Montfort College about COVID-19 risk mitigation strategies is crucial and records of training in relation to COVID-19 will be kept. 

  • The Montfort College of Performing Arts has 4 fully qualified COVID Compliance Officers - Trevor Ryan, Sarah Moriarty, Karen Walsh and Naomi Luttrell who will oversee the implementation of all safety measures stated in this document.
  • All other staff members have completed a Covid 19 Induction Course provided by Morley Safety Consultants. 

9. Staying informed 

Montfort College has an obligation under the Industry COVID-19 Safe Plan to stay informed of any issue or development that may increase the risk to their students and staff including: 

  • Changes to regulations or restrictions.
  • Outbreaks or clusters in their area.
  • Contact with individuals who may be infected.

 

We look forward to welcoming you all back!

 

 

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