Updated July 8, 2020

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As CDSS Board member Pam Paulson has said often in the past few months, “We stay apart and wear masks so that when we come together, everyone is here.”

As COVID-19 continues unfolding on our continent, we all need to continue making adjustments in our actions and expectations. Although there is still a lot that is unknown about this virus, the medical community is learning more and more every month. Since March, for example, we’ve learned that it is very important to prevent aerosol transmission, particularly prolonged exposure in places with poor or internal ventilation. Reference

Listed below are current recommendations for participants and organizers, along with links to helpful information. The most important thing is for everyone to take care of each other, prepare for events being cancelled or postponed, and actively monitor WHO, CDC, Canadian Public Health, and State Health Department recommendations.

In line with CDSS’s own plans, we recommend that all in-person participatory dance events originally scheduled through the end of 2020 be suspended or cancelled. It may be necessary to extend this period. For those organizing no-contact, socially-distant music or song events, we recommend outdoor or open-air settings only.

Here is an excellent interactive resource for monitoring the virus.

We encourage everyone—U.S. residents and Canadian residents alike—to read this article.

As we’ve already seen this year, the dance, music, and song traditions we love will not go away because we need to hit the pause button for a while. They’ve made it through population migrations, world wars, the rise of digital entertainment, and are now weathering a modern worldwide pandemic. Dancing and singing together in person will continue with gusto after the initial virus has run its course, just as it did after the Spanish Flu pandemic 100 years ago. Be kind and understanding with the dancers, singers, musicians, callers, and organizers around you. Keep reaching out to each other and checking on the people in your community. We are all aching with the loss of togetherness, but we will get through this!

For Participants (dancers, singers, musicians, etc.)

Be prepared for in-person events to continue to be cancelled or postponed. Remember that having to cancel an event can be a financial hardship for your local organization. If a special event you care about is cancelled and you’re in a position to do so, consider allowing the organization to keep all or part of your registration fee to cover non-refundable facility deposits and provide support for cancelled callers, musicians, and sound engineers, and other talent. You can also support artists by purchasing their merchandise. And please consider making a larger donation to your local organization this year.

Please initiate self-quarantine and refrain from social interaction if:

  • You have any flu-like symptoms, including fever, cough, or difficulty breathing.
  • You returned from travel in the last 3 weeks to an area with sustained local transmission (not just a travel ban/warning). Read the travel advisories from the CDC and Government of Canada.
  • You have had close physical contact with a person currently under investigation for COVID-19, or who is a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Many people in our fold are at higher risk, by virtue of their age, their compromised immunity, or other issues. Even if you are not at risk yourself, diligently adhering to these preventative measures could save lives.

Prevention of respiratory diseases, from the CDC

For Organizers

CDSS is recommending that all in-person participatory dance events originally scheduled through the end of 2020 be suspended or cancelled. It may be necessary to extend this period. For those organizing no-contact, socially distant music or song events, we recommend outdoor or open-air settings only.

  • Meet with your team to discuss ways to keep your community connected and engaged during this time. (Check out our list of crowd-sourced ideas from other organizers or our calendar of online events for inspiration.)
  • Add your online music or dance event to our calendar! Be sure to choose Online Events in the Categories box and add your event URL in the Extra Info box.
  • Actively monitor recommendations from the WHO, the CDC, and your state health department.
  • Plan ahead now for cancelling events:
    • Look into the costs you will have to pay facilities.
    • Stay in contact with your community.
    • Communicate with the musicians, callers, sound engineers, and other talent lined up for gigs, and remember that this is a hardship on those who depend on our gig economy. Be transparent and kind with them.
    • Think of individuals in your community who you can reach out to for short-term financial help if needed.
  • When cancelling an event:
    • Add it to our list of cancelled events.
    • Consider providing pre-registered attendees an option to donate all or part of their registration fee to help offset event costs and reimburse talent. Be mindful that not everyone will be in a position to do this. See an example here.
    • Also consider creating a way for would-be attendees to contribute to the musicians, callers, and sound techs who are losing income. See an example here.
  • At this time, CDSS recommends cancelling all in-person dance events through the end of 2020. If you are going ahead with a modified music or song gathering, please think about ways to reduce the risk of transmission:
    • Host the event outside or in an open-air setting.
    • Follow social distancing protocols, including masks.
    • Inform your community about disease prevention.
    • Coordinate in-depth sterilization procedures for the facilities you use.
    • Encourage people to wash hands before, several times during, and after an event.
    • Think through adjustments to how people enter your event (hand sanitizer, encouragement to wash hands upon arrival, posted
    • recommendations, etc.).
    • Rather than providing communal snacks and water, encourage people to bring their own.
    • Request donations of hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes.
  • Monitor your area’s current risk level:

Updates on CDSS Summer Programs

All in-person CDSS programs and events have been cancelled through the end of 2020. We are continuing with all 2021 summer camp plans for now, but are actively monitoring the situation and will adjust as necessary. In the event that we need to cancel one or more programs or any camper must cancel because of COVID-19, we will offer a full refund of registration fees. We will communicate in the weeks leading up to camp, and at camp, to explain any procedures that will be put in place for safety.

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