Updated May 21, 2020

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It’s time for us to do what we do best: take care of each other.

With the emergence and spread of COVID-19 on our continent, we all need to make adjustments in our actions and expectations. 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 in-person participatory art events originally scheduled through the end of August be suspended or cancelled. According to the WHO, “This is a controllable pandemic.” If we work together as a nation to slow the transmission, our health system will be able to manage the virus and provide adequate care for those who are ill.

Flattening the Curve for COVID-19, from University of Michigan

Here is an excellent interactive resource for monitoring the virus.

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

Our dance, song, and music traditions will not go away if we need to hit the pause button for a while. They’ve made it through population migrations, world wars, and the rise of digital entertainment. Dancing and singing together will continue with gusto after the initial virus has run its course. Be kind and understanding with the dancers, singers, musicians, callers, and organizers around you.

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

Be prepared for most or all events to be cancelled for the next few months, possibly longer. 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 in-person participatory art events originally scheduled through the end of August be suspended or cancelled.

  • Meet with your team to start making plans. Consider meeting via a video conferencing tool (such as Google Hangouts, Zoom, or Skype).
  • 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. We will add more info here as it becomes available.
  • At this time, CDSS recommends cancelling all events through the end of August. If you are going ahead with yours, please think about ways to reduce the risk of transmission:
    • 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.).
    • Consider adjustments to how snacks are provided or 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

With great sadness, CDSS has announced the cancellation of all of our camp programs for summer 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic. As many of you will be aware, Pinewoods Camp took the decision to cancel their season in early April. At that time, we had decided to wait a little longer before making that call for our other programs, but it has now become unavoidable to acknowledge that there will be no safe way to have camps this summer. The health and safety of our community is the most important thing, and with that in mind it is necessary to wait until next year to dance and sing together at camp.

Campers are entitled to a full refund, but may also choose to defer their registration to 2021, and we ask that you consider making a donation to CDSS in support of our camp staff and the future of our programs. To tell us what to do with your registration, please log in to CDSS Commons to access the cancellation form, or email camp@cdss.org if you have any questions.

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