Status of Current Protocols:
At our May 7 quarterly meeting, the NBCDS Board of Directors updated our masking protocol. Masks are now optional for all participants including dancers. We strongly encourage vaccination and current boosters. We ask people to refrain from attending events when they feel ill. We will continue to gather contact information at sign-in and ask participants to alert the organizer of any positive COVID-19 cases that emerge within a week of the event.
On May 11, 2023 the COVID-19 Federal Health Emergency Declaration ended, and the CDC announced it would no longer maintain the Red/Yellow/Green Community Level. The NBCDS Board had intended to use these levels to guide our COVID safety policy. Community wastewater viral load measurements are available, and we will use them to track relative risk level.
To inform our decision about masking, the NBCDS Safety Committee researched current practices of sister organizations across the country and requested input from community members through our Spring 2023 community survey. In the over 90 responses, we saw a significant difference between contra and ECD dancers. For this transition period, dance manager/programmer teams have the prerogative to set stricter protocols for their dance series and events. We will make a concerted effort to communicate masking requirements for each event on our online calendar, in email announcements, and on social media posts.
Detailed NBCDS COVID-19 Safety Policy
The NBCDS Board adopted this policy on 6/2/22. The most recent review/revision occurred on 6/2/23, and the next review will be on 8/26/23.
To mitigate the risk of transmitting COVID-19 and other illnesses at our events, NBCDS will implement the following protocols:
- Participants will read the COVID-19 Safety Protocol, then agree to follow the guidelines by signing in at each dance and providing a legible, current contact email address or phone number.
- Participants agree to not attend events if they are feeling ill.
- Participants agree to notify the NBCDS dance manager or Board president if they become infected with COVID-19 (test positive or show symptoms) within five days after attending that dance. NBCDS will inform participants if a positive case is reported but not disclose the identify of the infected person(s).
- While we strongly encourage members of our dance community to be vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 and to stay current with boosters, we no longer check vaccination status at our local dance events. Special events such as Epicenter and Mad Robin Ball may have vaccination requirements. Read our rationale in our February 2023 Covid Safety Policy Update.
- At this time, unless the management team for a specific series opts for stricter protocols, masking for all participants is optional. Food and drink may be served and consumed inside the hall.
- Dance managers will post current masking protocols at the sign-in table and have some extra masks on hand in case the protocol changes and for individuals who choose to wear a mask at any time.
- Depending on risk level as assessed by the management team, wind instrument players *may* be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 6 hours of the dance and possibly use instrument-specific precautions such as flute-masks. At high risk levels, we will book bands that don’t include singing or wind instruments.
- At this time, testing is not required. NBCDS requests that all participants assess their health prior to participating in an event and stay home if they feel ill or have a concern about a recent exposure.
- At high risk levels or for special events: Dancers, callers, and musicians may be required to test less than 6 hours before attending a dance event. An individually-administered rapid test is sufficient. Dancers must bring evidence (photo) of the negative test to the dance.
Assessing Level of Risk
- Every Thursday, the four NBCDS Safety Committee members will review wastewater reports of viral load trends on Verily.com, which draws on data collected by municipal wastewater treatment plants. By 8pm we will each weigh in on whether the current viral load levels AND the trend over the past two weeks indicate that alerting dance organizer teams to consider recommending–or requiring–masks for their upcoming events would be prudent. Decisions for each dance will be based on data from the reporting city in which that dance is held. The data can be viewed online for the following cities: San Rafael, Napa, Santa Rosa, and Petaluma.
- We’ll aim to have at least three of the four members of the Safety Committee submit an independent assessment, and if two or more of us suggest that masking may be warranted, we will alert the dance manager & programmer so they can confer and communicate any changes in the masking recommendations or requirements in the Friday/Saturday reminder email and update other messaging such as Facebook events and posts. We will also aim to update the nbcds.org website and individual events on the NBCDS online calendar. If the Safety Committee observes a significant and/or sustained trend, we may call an emergency Board meeting to discuss making a Board-level change to the masking policy.
The dance manager and/or programmer, in consultation with a Board member, may choose to cancel a dance based on their assessment of risk. City-specific wastewater data, the CDC Wastewater Surveillance Tool, and other CDC data can be used to inform these decisions.
Communicating with the NBCDS Community
The most current NBCDS COVID-19 Safety Policy will be posted on our website and printed for display at the sign-in tables. The Safety Policy will be reviewed by the Safety subcommittee (Jen Bamesberger, Craig Meltzner, Bonnie Richardson, and Tom Spittler) and revised or reconfirmed at each Quarterly Board Meeting. We also have reached out to the dance community for input and feedback; summaries of responses are linked below:
NBCDS Spring 2023 Community Survey Responses
NBCDS Fall 2022 Community Survey Responses
NBCDS Spring 2022 Community Survey Responses