As the coronavirus outbreak grips the world, you might be wondering what this means for your dance studio. The most important thing is that business owners follow the guidelines laid out by your respective government in the interests of public health. Here’s what we know so far:
- Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is a respiratory illness that is spreading rapidly throughout the world.
- As a new disease, no one has immunity to it.
- Different countries are battling the disease at various stages.
- Different countries are taking different measures to combat the spread.
As a studio owner, your responsibilities are similar to that of a school. Many children – and adults – will come through your doors and congregate together to learn. You might be nervous that running classes is putting students at risk. During the early stages of this outbreak, you should focus on reiterating good hygiene practices and following the advice of bodies such as the CDC and the Australian Government.
Encourage your students and parents to do the following, by reminding them in class and via your usual communication channels – online updates, emails or newsletters:
- Wash hands before and after class, with hot water and soap.
- Wash hands before and after using the bathroom at the studio.
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and wash hands afterward.
- Notify you or your teachers if they feel unwell.
- Not attend class if they are displaying symptoms (cough, fever, shortness of breath).
- Advise you or your teachers if they have come into contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Your students may also be using supplements and dietary measures more than usual, to boost their health and immunity. It’s important that they always speak to their doctor or healthcare provider, before making any drastic changes. It’s also important to know that excess supplementation can cause more harm than good. Registered dietician Emily Harrison advises in this Dance Informa article that “there is much lower risk of excess when we get nutrients through food! The body can decide how much of a nutrient to allow into the tissues in most cases.” If your students are at risk of overloading on supplements and vitamins, she suggests that they “talk to a knowledgeable registered dietician to determine individual supplement needs.” In a similar article focused on Vitamin C for dancers, Harrison advises that “vitamin C isn’t a miracle cure for colds and flu, but moderate, regular doses from foods can positively impact a dancer’s health and immune function.” That means eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, including citrus fruits.
You might also like to do a one-off deep clean of your studio, especially if any of your students have become unwell. This is a great idea, but you can also take more frequent measures to keep germs at bay. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces – in the studio, this means the barres, floors, toilets and any door handles – daily, using disposable cloths and antibacterial cleaning agents. You can also provide hand sanitizer at the entrance to your studio.
While the outbreak is certainly challenging, the best thing you can do for your studio and your students is to stay calm and follow mandated guidelines. Take the advice of your national government and continue to promote good hygiene.
For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html, www.health.gov.au and www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019.
By Emily Newton-Smith of Dance Informa.