Managing COVID-19 in an educational environment is a very fine line.
On the one hand, it is vital that some form of normality exists and that education continues - the longer absolute lock-downs continue, the more both children and adults will suffer in the long term through the loss of skills, experience and stress that goes with it.
It is also very true to say however, that any collection of people runs the risk of spreading COVID-19, and this can not be denied by anyone. Even in the case of children, who are said to be more resilient to the virus, there is always the possibility that they can spread the virus to others without actually contracting it themselves.
Within the guidelines set by the Government therefore, and in some cases exceeding these guidelines due to the nature of tuition and equipment in use, the Digital Storytellers Academy has set down a series of rules and regulations governing the attendance of DSA Studios, and the responsibility that DSA has to ensure, to the best of our ability, a safe Studio session.
Please also note that there will always be a local set of guidelines in place at our host venues.
These rules are absolute and non-negotiable - failure to follow the rules set here and by host venues will result in removal from the Studio Session, and may result in the termination of DSA Membership.
Current rules revision: 11th September 2020
Equipment & Venue
- All equipment in use within a DSA Studio will be appropriately cleaned using suitable hygiene materials prior to attendance of students.
- All venues should be examined and where appropriate cleaned prior to attendance of students.
- Venues should be selected or modified so that an appropriate student layout can be maintained with social distancing in place, and where staff may visit a student / group with suitable PPE in place.
- Students, including minors, should provide their own face masks as part of everyday COVID-19 prevention procedures. An additional clear-shield will be provided to all students attending class, which will be appropriately cleaned before and after use. Student may provide their own is they so wish.
- For the duration, equipment which relies solely of 'loupe' or eyepiece-type viewers will be suspended from use, or an additional screen-type viewer added. Students should not put the mouth / eyes / face to any equipment in the Studio.
- The DSA Studio will provide nitrile gloves (which are suitable for use with touch-screen equipment) which will be worn at all times when handling equipment within the Studio, so as to prevent contamination of surfaces and reduce ongoing and repetitive cleaning of equipment during the class.
- Nitrile gloves and face coverings will be in use by DSA staff conducting the class.
- All students should practice self-discipline and identify whether any COVID-19 symptoms are identified. Where self-identified of a positive COVID-19 test has been received, the student should self-isolate under current Government guidelines and not attend the DSA Studio. Under current conditions, a non-attendance due to COVID-19 infection will qualify for non-penalised suspension of the student membership until healthy.
- All students must, as per normal Studio regulations, register before entry to the Studio. For the duration, this registration will also qualify as part of the Studio's Track-and-Trace obligations to the NHS.
- All students should implement suitable personal hygiene and wear freshly cleaned clothing so as to prevent / reduce the possibility of surface transfer of the virus, regardless of how slight the possibility (unlike a dance or exercise environment, a DSA Studio does not suffer from excessive, exercise related issues connected with perspiration and breathing).
- DSA will provide suitable hand sanitiser which will be used on entry to the Studio.
- Students will respect social distancing rules at all times. Staff will allocate placements of students within the room, where equipment can be utilised. Where students are teamed with other students (such as in pairs for use equipment), Students will respect this ongoing allocation.
- Students will respect both the education based health and safety guidelines listed here, as well as the current studio etiquette guidelines in use for filming which now incorporate COVID-19 prevention measures.
- Where classes extend over breaks and where snacks / food may have been brought into the Studio, food containers should remain sealed until use and should not be shared. Where drink / hydration is permitted, these should be in sealable / non-spill containers, and kept separate from other students in the class.
- Students will maintain the use of PPE (face shield and mask where appropriate, nitrile gloves) at all times during the class where practicals are being undertaken. Face PPE may be removed when the student is in isolation and sufficiently distant from other students for the purposes of being filmed in front of the camera. For the duration, any role / scene which requires physical contact will be removed or greatly reduced, and will only be undertaken using suitable PPE.
- During non-practical exercises, PPE may be removed only if the class is sufficiently social-distanced.
- Students should enter and leave the classroom only at the direction of the tutor so as to maintain order and appropriate social distancing.
- Students should leave the classroom only at the direction of the tutor.
- For the duration of the outbreak, the registration documents will be completed with a leaving time so as to track cross-over of students where multiple classes are being taught at a DSA Studio.
- Parents, carers, guardians who are collecting students should respect social distancing guidelines and PPE guidelines while waiting externally to the studio. Currently, collectors of students will not be permitted inside the studio itself in order to prevent transmission by non-registered participants.
- On exit, all students will use the hand sanitiser and dispose of their gloves in a provided receptacle.
- UK Government: Staying Alert and Safe (latest update 9th Sept 2020)
- UK Government: Out of school settings (latest update 20th August 2020)
- UK Government: Guidance to providers of out of school settings (latest update 20th August 2020)