Chanute dance studios have reopened classes for the year, with some adjustments for the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Studio B resumed classes last week and Brenda’s Dance met for the first time Tuesday evening. Owners Beth Bell and Brenda Osborn both said attendance is down from before and both are taking temperatures and other precautions.
Osborn said masks are recommended but not required for students, although they are required for staff. Students use sanitizer on their hands and feet before class.
Bell said the floor in her studio has a grid to give students a six-foot distance from each other.
“That helps quite a bit, even without COVID,” she said.
Osborn used dots on the mats to spread students out before the pandemic. She cleans mats, bars and things students touch with a hospital-grade sanitizer that lasts up to 90 days, but now she re-sanitizes hourly.
“We’re kind of playing that by ear,” she said, adding that information about the sanitizer is posted around the studio.
“I did my research,” Osborn said.
Bell said she has one room in her studio that can hold up to 15 students plus two teachers, but classes average 12 people. Before the pandemic, she had an average of 20 students in each class.
“A lot of my classes aren’t even that big,” she said.
When the pandemic shut down activities in mid-March, Bell said she went to online video, but her total enrollment has lost more than 100 kids. She said she does not want to take on more than she can handle.
“I’m trying to keep it minimal and safe,” she said.
Osborn said that in March she had 2 1/2 months left of her second session and had her highest enrollment ever. It was her second year in the current building, and this is her 30th year overall in business.
Her studio has a capacity of 24 in a room including teachers, but now class sizes are 10 to 12 students.
“Numbers are down, but not as much as I thought they would be,” she said.
Bell said that since she started classes last week, six families are out due to quarantining.
“It’s mostly the parents that tested positive,” she said, noting that students have not tested positive, but are out because of parents or someone they know with whom they have had what’s considered to be close contact.
Both studios are following procedures like the public schools.
Bell said classes will work on technique for the first 12-week session, then she will take December off to re-evaluate.
“We all live in the unknown right now,” she said, and she doesn’t think students care if they have a recital in the spring – they are just excited to be back.
Osborn said her studio will have an annual recital in June 2021.
“No matter what,” she said.
Bell said if a child tests positive, she may have to shut down the whole studio. But
Osborn said that if a student tests positive, he or she would not come to class and she anticipates that the county health department would inform her who the student was in contact with.
“I’m absolutely 100 percent taking precautions,” she said, noting that she will offer online classes for students if they are quarantined.
Osborn said she does not take the situation lightly and hopes parents will feel comfortable.
“They’re entrusting me with their child,” she said.