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  • Writer's pictureMarcia Svaleson

Welcome back!

After 3 months, the word has come down that we can re-open for in person lessons! This is great news, and what we've been waiting and hoping for. I would love to say that it'll be like old times, but the reality is that it can't be. I take your health and safety (and mine) very seriously, and I am following the state guidelines for fitness centers to the best of my ability.

So what does that mean? Well, it's going to look something like this:

When you make your appointment we ask that you and those in your household be symptom free. When you get your reminder email the day before your lesson we ask that you look over the quick questionnaire. If you're still symptom free then you're clear to come for your lesson.

When you come to the studio, I'm asking for you to come at your appointment time, not before. This limits how many people are in the studio going in and out the door at one time, and allows everyone to get the cleaning done. More on that in a sec. Also - please come alone, only one person per instructor. There is no waiting area because we're limiting how many people are in the space at one time.

As you arrive, you'll notice we've moved things around. There is an entry station as you come in the door. You can deposit your stuff in the cubbies and take off your shoes. At this point I am going to ask you the questionnaire AGAIN, just because I'm thorough like that. Then I'm going to shoot you in the forehead with a no-touch thermometer. I'll be making a note of these things, so that if anyone coming to the studio were to test positive the contact tracers will have more/better information. (Side note - I'll be answering the questions and taking my temperature daily as well, logging them too - because this applies to EVERYONE.)

At the entry station is hand sanitizer. We're both going to use that. And there will be paper masks handy in case you forgot yours or prefer to use ours. That means we're both going to be wearing masks. I know this is a divisive topic, and if you really don't want to wear a mask we can still do zoom lessons as we have been. My decision comes from the fact that heavy/deep breathing in indoor spaces seems to be a very effective way to transmit this virus, and I feel better knowing we are mitigating those risks to the best of our ability. If you're working so hard in your lesson that you need a mask free breather, we'll work it out. But right now the policy is masks for everyone.

We've set up the studio into 5 distinct stations that are clearly marked, as well as walkways to get where you're going. We're going to stay in one area as much as possible to allow for distancing. And with our big, beautiful space we're all going to feel very comfortably distanced! Distancing also means I'll be 'hands off' as much as I can. I won't be shouting at you from across the room or anything, and if spotting needs to happen then that safety outweighs everything. But we're going to do our best to have nice big personal space bubbles.

If you think you're going to want water during your lesson you'll need to bring that with you in a closed container. We've been advised to not offer communal water for now, so the water dispenser is on vacation.

You'll be working with props that were cleaned and disinfected just for you, and will be in a box that only you will handle. When your lesson is done you'll put everything back in the box, close the lid, and then I'll clean it all again at the end of the day. Every person has their own box. It's a beautiful thing!

So the weak link in this beautiful chain is the bathroom. It is a public restroom shared by several businesses in the building. As such I cannot control who uses them or how. This means that if you choose to use the bathroom while at the studio you understand the risk involved. A fun caddy of PPE and cleaning supplies will be your bathroom buddy so that you can do no-touch to your heart's content. Then hand sanitizer will be waiting for you just inside the studio door. If you gotta go you gotta go ... but if you can hold it that would be the safest bet.

We have always had the policy that the student cleans the equipment they use. This is still true, and just exactly as before. But now I'll be following right behind you with a second disinfecting solution that has to sit on the surfaces for a few minutes to be maximally effective. So with your help we'll just streamline the cleaning into a new little dance and we don't have to put additional cleaning times in between lessons. This means people can keep their regular times!

As you're gathering up your personal items and preparing to go, I'll be wandering around cleaning doorknobs and communal surfaces. It's just a thing I'm into now. You can hand sanitize one last time for good measure if you like, and then we're done for the day! We've got to clear the entryway before the next scheduled appointment.

So that's what the protocol looks like for now. We will of course revise things as new information becomes available or as the state requires. We will streamline the process as much as possible and I'm confident we'll be back in the rhythm of things in no time!

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