NBCDS COVID-19 Policy Update 2/16/23

At our February meeting, the NBCDS Board of Directors reviewed our COVID-19 Policy and opted to make some changes. As of March 11, 2023 we will be discontinuing the vaccination requirement to attend our local dance series. While we strongly encourage our community members to get vaccinated if medically possible, our review of scientific literature leads us to understand the primary benefit of vaccination to be to the individual in reducing the severity of Covid infection. Vaccination appears not to offer a significant reduction in likelihood of community transmission of Covid at dances, as even vaccinated dancers can contract and transmit Covid. The vast majority of our dancing community is vaccinated and actively maintaining protection with new boosters as they become available. We ask that dancers assess their health before coming to a dance and to stay home if they are unwell.

At this time, we will retain mandatory masking for dancers at all events. The scientific literature and CDC guidelines confirm that masking and good ventilation are effective in limiting the spread of COVID and other respiratory infections. Specific details, such as types of masks required and masking expectations for callers and musicians, can be found in our current policy on our website. If community levels remain low over the next couple of months, we expect to consider scaling back to optional masking, at least under some conditions, in late spring/early summer 2023.

Longer or higher profile events that draw dancers from a wider region, such as Epicenter and the Mad Robin Ball, may implement stricter requirements. We plan to retain the Covid policy for Epicenter that was in place when registration opened, and that includes full vaccination with at least one booster and N95 masks indoors.

In January, our NBCDS Safety Committee reviewed current scientific studies and community conditions, and we requested that members of the dance community share feedback about the proposed changes to our Covid safety policy. We received 37 responses, mostly from dancers currently active in both contra and English Country dance. Approximately 75% of those responses showed strong support for continuing universal masking, and another 75% were comfortable with relaxing the vaccination requirement.

We’re striving to follow good science and also listen and respond to the community, and we know that we can’t satisfy everyone or meet everyone’s needs. We hope that we are addressing our mission to promote music and dance while also keeping our community healthy and engaged. While we will solicit community input prior to reviewing the safety policy at our May 7 Annual Board meeting, you can reach out at any time. Thank you for your continued support, patience, and participation – hope to see you at a dance soon!

The NBCDS Board of Directors: Jen Bamesberger, Sarah Lee, Craig Meltzner, Hideko Oga, Bonnie Richardson, and Chris Stadick