YWCP COVID-19 Health Safety Plan

(as of July 26, 2021)

 

The Young Women’s Choral Projects prioritizes the health and safety of its choristers, staff, families, patrons and guest artists. To help minimize the impact of COVID-19 at our rehearsals, we have formed a Re-Opening Task Force composed of staff, medical professionals, parents and board members. We are committed to following the guidelines of the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) and Center for Disease Control (CDC) in regards to a safe reopening of indoor rehearsals and performances. Since singing is a higher risk activity than attending school classes, some of our protocols will be more conservative to create the safest choral environment we can.

It is mandatory that all persons attending our rehearsal venues understand and agree to adhere to the measures listed below.

1. Vaccinations

Vaccinations are required for participation for every age-eligible chorister unless there is a documented medical or religious exemption. As YWCP will sing in various venues where vaccines have been mandated for age-eligible choristers, for everyone’s safety, we are making this a requirement at the onset.  Immunization status, like all other medical information, will be kept confidential by the YWCP office.

Please note: The one vaccine currently approved in the US for ages 12-17 is Pfizer-BioNTech, which requires two injections taken three weeks apart, in addition to waiting two weeks after the second injection, to reach full immunity and be considered fully vaccinated. Choristers eligible for the vaccine should get their vaccinations as soon as possible to help ensure a safe practice environment for everyone in late August (YWC) or early September (Training Choirs).

All YWCP faculty, pianists, staff and volunteers will be fully vaccinated.

2. Masking

We require that all singers are masked in the rehearsal venue, regardless of vaccination status. The CDC and SFDPH recommends masking indoors to reduce the likelihood of spreading the virus even by vaccinated people. During breaks, you may remove your mask outside the building to eat a snack or have a drink that you have brought from home. Choristers may not share food and drinks, so please plan accordingly.

YWCP will be purchasing special VocalEase singers’ masks for all choristers. These masks offer a lightweight, comfortable fit designed for expressive speech and singing as well as superior filtration (preliminary testing shows 62-67% aerosol filtration – above the highest performance (Level 2) standard of the ASTM Standard Specification for Face Barrier Coverings (ASTM F3502-2)), while completely eliminating the muffled sound. Medical professionals have checked the materials in the mask and none is shown to cause skin irritation. You must wear this mask during rehearsal, put it in a plastic bag in your folder to take home and wash after each rehearsal. Don’t forget it for the next rehearsal!! Given our safety protocols, if a chorister forgets her VocalEase mask, she will be required to sit out and observe rehearsal wearing her own cloth mask, and sadly, will not be allowed to sing during this rehearsal.

3. Physical Distancing

Choristers will stay in their own chorus rooms and/ or theory class and not mingle with other groups.

Singers will be spaced 3 feet apart* when rehearsing in their choruses.
*Recommended distance by the International Coalition Performing Arts Aerosol Study (Updated Guidelines 7/9/21)

Choruses will stagger leaving the building to avoid crowding near the exit. In order to facilitate this process, we ask that all choristers be picked up on time and not plan to remain in the building.

Adhering to the current SFDPH guidelines, parents are asked to pick-up and drop off their choristers outdoors.  When entry into the premises is necessary (either due to an appointment, or a prior arrangement with our YWCP staff), we will continue to follow protocols for the safety of everyone and allow only fully-vaccinated individuals to enter the venue.

4. Ventilation and Cleaning

We have moved our rehearsals to Calvary Presbyterian Church where we will have larger spaces, better ventilation and frequent cleaning.

We will have designated breaks during rehearsals where we will leave the rooms to let the air exchange in the room. YWCP is working on getting a measurement on each room’s air exchange rate to determine the length of rehearsals before a break is needed.

While in the facility, we ask choristers to frequently wash their hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer (some will be located at the check-in table).

5. Symptom Screening and Attendance

Before attending all rehearsals, you will need to answer a short Symptom-Screening Questionnaire.  Anyone with cold symptoms (frequent coughing, runny nose, fever) should not come to rehearsal. If your daughter has allergies and not other COVID symptoms, she can attend rehearsal. Allergies should be reported on her medical information form. Please tell the rehearsal coordinator if you are sending your daughter with any non-contagious symptoms that could be misinterpreted as COVID-19.

At the present time, YWCP does not have an online option for rehearsals.

Absences

We understand that choristers may need to take more absences due to illness or quarantining this year. YWCP will be flexible with total absence hour requirements if a chorister must stay home or be quarantined because of COVID-19.

Important: If any YWCP chorister has been diagnosed with COVID-19, please report it to YWCP. According to the latest CDC guidelines, they can return to rehearsal when they are:

1) 10 days out from the start of the symptoms, AND
2) fever free for 24 hours without fever reducing medications, AND
3) symptoms have improved

As the SFDPH states, “If a positive case is confirmed, limited quarantine of individuals in close contact may be required depending upon COVID-19 immunization status.”

If a chorister tests positive who has been at rehearsal with other choristers, that chorus level may need to suspend in-person rehearsals for a designated quarantine period. If a whole chorus level has to quarantine, the Director (unless ill) will teach online rehearsals.

6. Testing

As of this date, we will not require COVID testing before each rehearsal. This may change if deemed necessary.

Exceptions:

1. For the October retreat, all YWC choristers must present documentation of a negative PCR lab COVID test within 72 hours prior to going on the overnight retreat (regardless of vaccination status). Negative test results will need to be shown to YWCP prior to boarding the bus for the retreat. Throughout the retreat, we will require masks indoors (VocalEase masks for singing and cloth masks for other indoor activities and on the bus).

2. Special restrictions and local guidelines for international travel will be given to YWC families at the appropriate time prior to the 2022 summer tour.

3. When returning from any trip outside of California, choristers need to be lab tested and show proof of a negative COVID test.

4. When returning to Chorus after a COVID-19 quarantine period, choristers may need to be lab tested and show proof of a negative COVID test.

YWCP will continue to monitor the state of COVID-19 in the San Francisco community, and will follow the recommendations of local, state and national government health departments regarding singing rehearsals and performances.

We all should remain flexible in case health conditions require us to have some online rehearsals.