NTPA Academy 2020 Fall Semester Safety Protocol

Introduction

We are pleased to introduce the NTPA ACADEMY SAFETY PROTOCOL to guide the safety procedures and processes for Academy class and Core Flexible Learning activities.

NTPA will be providing a more safe and healthy alternative learning environment this Fall by employing these unique advantages:

  • NTPA’s “Integrated” learning environment allows students and their families the choice to decide whether to join online, in-person or a flexible combination for almost all classes.
  • The Academy has a historical average classroom size of 10.3 students, providing almost 4 times the space per student of a typical public school in spacious studios and theatres.
  • Most classes in the 2020-2021 school year will be capped at 15 students.
  • Campuses will be capped between 30-100 students (depending on location size) in a location, providing a limited-contact exposure environment to our students.
  • Students can pursue a number of distance-learning “Core Academic Study” programs, including those now offered online at their public schools and still take advantage of the NTPA performing arts curriculum and “Core Café” learning environment.
  • NTPA will adhere to daily health checks, rigorous disinfection efforts, safe social distance and protective mask policies.

In order to maximize the safety of NTPA students, parents, patrons and staff, the North Texas Performing Arts created its Reopening Task force of some 25 professionals including four medical doctors, legal counsel, board members and others. The Task Force defined the procedures and protocols outlined in this document to ensure that NTPA’s Production Rehearsals are opened in a safe and deliberate manner that best protects the health of its students and staff.

In addition to the NTPA ACADEMY SAFETY PROTOCOL outlined below, NTPA Staff have been trained upon and will enforce a detailed “Staff Safety Protocol” and “NTPA Facilities Protocol” also approved by the NTPA Task Force outlining their obligations and responsibilities. 

This Staff Safety Protocol includes the continuous wearing of masks, the maintenance of a “safe social distance” of six feet at all times, the vigilance for signs of potentially unhealthy students or staff members and appropriate response, the availability of hand sanitizers at all times, the on-going cleaning and sanitizing of all facilities, the wiping down of commonly-touched facilities on a regular schedule and other protocols consistent with the Governor’s Strike Force recommendations for personnel and facilities for these purposes. A copy of the full detailed staff guidance may be made available to Parents or Guardians upon request.

NTPA’s safety protocol builds upon the requirements recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Texas Governor’s Strike Force, and expands beyond them to provide a comprehensive and careful standard of care.

Our thanks to the Members of the NTPA Re-Opening Task Force

  • Mark Frankenfeld, Board President
  • Elly Marsh, Board President-Elect
  • Steve Flad, Past Board President
  • Michelle Hoffman Board Vice President
  • Trysh Pope, Board Secretary
  • Tamara Jones, Board Treasurer
  • Michael Massiatte, Board Counsel
  • Dr. Seth Kaplan
  • Dr. Jenny Duewall
  • Dr. Jeri Tidwell
  • Connor Bourland

Management Board Chairpersons:

  • Laura Coppedge, Plano
  • Holly Tripp, Fairview
  • Sara Johnson, Dallas
  • Erika Bazan, Frisco
  • Lisa Rodenbaugh, Repertory
  • Fred Lamb, Starcatchers
  • Holly Dalton, Academy
  • Jennifer Harrison, Principal
  • Steve McMurray, Board Set-Build Oversight
  • Tammy Thies, NTPA Ticketing, RN

NTPA Staff Members:

  • Darrell Rodenbaugh, Chief Executive Officer
  • Lindsey Lederer, VP of Youth Theatres
  • Lauren Boykin, Senior Marketing Director
  • Mike Mazur, Academy Head of School & Plano Managing Director
  • Cibby Bowden, Fairview Managing Director
  • Christian Black, Dallas Program Director
  • Hannah Makepeace, Frisco Program Director
  • Danny Miranda, Rep Theatre Artistic Director
  • Greg McKnight, NTPA Technical Director
  • Riley Gray, Starcatchers Theatre
  • Jackie Miller, Business Manager

Advantages of University Model Instruction

NTPA students already have the option of selecting classes on a university style schedule. Therefore, students have the option of attending between 1-5 days a week. These choices naturally reduce the total population on campus each day.

This approach also means that students could continue to participate in their regular public school online programs while taking advantage of coursework at the NTPA Academy.

Integrated Learning Model

This fall, the NTPA Academy will be implementing its “integrated” learning environment providing flexibility for onsite and at-home learning opportunities. Almost ALL CLASSES will be able take advantage of this approach:

  • Student/Parent determine the strategies and best practices associated with blended learning to design learning activities for all students.
  • Regardless of learning environment, will engage in high quality learning experiences aligned to NTPA’s Academy Curriculum.
  • Student/parents can decide BEFORE THE BEGINNING OF EACH CLASS SESSION which learning environment they will be taking advantage of and advise Academy management accordingly.
  • The student will join with THEIR OWN CLASS when they join remotely or in-person and participate in either setting.
  • Both the remote and face-to-face experience will utilize ASAP and Google Classroom, provide similar expectations around coursework and follow the same grading guidelines.

The remote learning opportunity will allow students to engage in high quality learning experiences, utilize regular instructional resources and meaningfully connect with their teachers and other students. Students will join the in-person classroom via remote connection with TV screens. Parents will support remote students as a “learning coach” and ensure they have access to a device, a place to work and are engaged in virtual learning activities. Grading will be consistent with the guidelines and practices used in all face-to-face instruction. All coursework, expectations, and evaluations will be the same regardless of the method of attendance. Students attending through Zoom, must be visible on camera during the duration of the class period in order to receive credit for attendance.

Some courses may have a few required in person days established at the start of the semester.

Students will have the flexibility to determine which attendance method meets their needs throughout the semester.

  1. Example: A student could zoom a class on Monday and choose to attend on Wednesday
  2. Example: A Student could zoom for several weeks and then start attending in person or vice versa.

This will be a “synchronous” learning opportunity, and while classes will be recorded, students joining online must be available for live, synchronous instruction during each school day. Any absences will be recorded in ASAP.

Daily In-Person Admittance

  • To minimize parent movement in the facility, parents are encouraged to remain outside the facility and safely drop their children off when appropriate and await the student’s completion of the health checklist.
  • Prior to admission, and once inside the facility, Participants will be asked a series of standard health screening questions and have their temperature taken with a touchless thermometer. Any child with a fever of 100.0 or above must be sent home, so parents should ensure their child has passed these tests before leaving the area.
  • In admitting their student, the Parent acknowledges that they have not observed or have any reason to suspect their actor is ill or about to become ill or has been exposed or recently placed in a high-risk situation and therefore should be in quarantine as defined by the Center for Disease Control.
  • Students should bring their own water bottle and necessary materials. The NTPA water fountains will not be available for their use.  If they do not have a water bottle, water can be made available upon request.
  • For the protection of the Student and staff, all persons onsite at every NTPA facility must wear a facemask, including students, Parents or visitors, at all times. Those appearing without a mask must acquire one before entering or will not be admitted. Parents are encouraged to work with their children to gain experience with their facemask for prolonged periods in advance of coming to rehearsal.
  • The students must provide their own acceptably protective face mask. NTPA will have reusable face masks available for sale for $10 each and single-use disposable masks for sale for $2.00 each for those who arrive without a mask. NTPA will provide single-use masks to families in financial need on an individual basis at prior request and as available and on an exceptional basis.
  • Students are required to use hand sanitizer provided by NTPA before entering the building at the entry of each of NTPA’s facilities.
  • Front Entry Doors will remain closed during regular Academy hours.
  • Students will be directed to walk directly to their classrooms upon being cleared to enter.
  • Teachers and Administration will determine if staggered drop off/pick-up times are needed.
  • Specific Classroom locations should be communicated in advance and confirmed by the show manager so that students can go directly to their studio or room without congregating in the theatre lobby. From the moment a student enters to the time they leave, social distancing will be enforced.

Pick-Up Process

  • Students will be ushered to the pick-up zone and will be dismissed to parent guardians.
  • Students should respect a safe social distance while waiting for their ride.

In-Class Conduct

  • All participants (Students, Staff & Volunteers) must wear masks at all times.
  • Low-volume “live singing” during at 25% of strength will be permitted in those classes where singing is necessary.
  • There should not be “group” bathroom breaks, and students should be excused individually to go to the restrooms as necessary. Younger students will be accompanied.
  • Breaks must either remain in the rehearsal room or can be moved outside pending adult supervision.
  • Non-essential visitors, volunteers, and activities will not be permitted within NTPA facilities..
  • There will be no sharing of items, including but not limited to phones, scripts, electronic devices, toys, books, and other games or learning aids. Each student will be required to store personal belongings assigned.
  • If students need to remove their masks for any reason, they may go outside the facility individually with the show manager to do so.
  • If an actor becomes sick or fevered, they will immediately be separated and parent’s contacted for pick-up and NTPA will follow its detailed Notification Protocol.
  • If necessary, NTPA will discipline undesirable behavior invoking its “Three Strike” rule which will apply to rules surrounding COVID-19 safety precautions, including the mask-wearing and other special details. Upon first violation, the child is counseled. Upon second violation, the parent is contacted, and if there is a third violation (depending on the violation) the child may be excused from the activity or the entire program.
  • One way hallways for class changes will be established to provide social distancing where possible.
  • The last five minutes of every class will be reserved for sanitizing hands and safe collection of belongings.
  • In accordance with our standard policy, students are allowed to arrive on campus no more than 15 minutes before their first class and may remain on campus no more than 15 minutes after their last class. Students requiring to be on campus earlier or later than this amount of time will need to sign up for an appropriate Core Library offering to cover additional time on campus.
  • Students will be required to remain in the designated core cafe area or a reserved practice room if there are gaps in their daily schedule. Students will be encouraged to register for classes to avoid these gaps if at all possible.

Lunch and Breaks

  • The supervised Core Cafe for its “flexible learning environment” for core academics will be established with tables and chairs set for social distancing to allow breaks between classes and lunch. The core cafe provides a refrigerator and a microwave available for student use.
  • While students are eating lunch or snacks in the Core Cafe, they may remove masks, but must maintain a strict social distancing of 6 feet or more.
  • Once students are finished they will replace their masks in accordance with the general mask policy.
  • In accordance with past semesters, students will be allowed to leave the NTPA Plano Campus for lunch so long as a parent waiver is on file. Most students walk to the mall food court or equivalent in other facilities.  Students are advised to maintain social distancing while away from campus.
  • The Academy Administration team will determine the appropriate lunch privileges for any new campuses that may open based on the facilities.

Academy Productions

The NTPA Academy will adhere to the standard PHASE III NTPA protocol for Academy Show, Rehearsal, and Technical Rehearsal activities.

  1. The Academy’s musical (Chicago) and the Shakespeare play will require in person rehearsals as called based on casting so long as the NTPA policies allow for in person rehearsals. The directors may offer zoom options early in the process, but students should expect to attend in person most of the semester.
  2. The Academy will add a new offering of an online only production (title TBD). This show will require no in person rehearsals and will be performed online as well. This production will be open to non-conservatory students of all types available at the scheduled rehearsal time including kids in online public schools, hybrid schooling models (private and public), and traditional homeschoolers.
  3. Auditions and callbacks for all these shows will be completed in accordance with NTPAs Audition Policies currently in place. This means the process will be completed in an online format for all shows.

Return to School Protocols

While we hope no child becomes infected, we should anticipate that there will be positive test cases.  It is important to remember the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread by infected persons who have few or no symptoms. Even if an infected person shows no symptoms or is only mildly ill, the people they spread it to may become seriously or fatally ill, especially for persons 65 years of age or older with pre-existing health conditions placing them at higher risk. Because of the hidden nature of this threat, the Academy expects all employees, students and families to rigorously follow these practices.

NTPA will follow the CDC-published guidelines for student discharge, quarantine, and re-admittance should a student show symptoms or test-positive for Covid-19, and will apply NTPA’s Notification Protocol.

IN ORDER TO PARTICIPATE IN AN NTPA ACTIVITY OR ENTER AN NTPA FACILITY, ALL PARTICIPANTS MUST AGREE TO THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE COVID 19 PARTICIPANT RELEASE.

Appendix A

NTPA Facility Preparations Safety Protocol

NTPA Staff and Volunteers will be taking the following precautions to prepare the facilities for use:

  • Hand sanitizer will be available at all entrances and in each restroom and in each class/practice room that is being occupied. Sanitizing stations at entrances include signage encouraging every person to disinfect before entering the building.
  • A symptom list should be posted at each entrance. Everyone entering the building will be asked to verbally confirm that they are symptom free in addition to getting a temperature check with a touchless thermometer.
  • Disinfecting soap will be available in all restrooms.
  • Disable non-Touchless water fountains and have water bottles available for students for sale or to give away. Other water fountains will be disabled.
  • The Core Café Lunch Room will be available only to Academy students and supervisors, and will be limited to no more than 15 participants in the facility.
  • Facilities should be cleaned and disinfected as outlined below EACH MORNING of operations before students arrive.
  • Maintain Air Conditioning fans to operate continuously while personnel are in the facilities to increase air circulation.
  • When possible, doors will be propped open so they do not have to be touched to open, and to keep air circulating
  • Position trash cans outside the bathroom doors (for patrons that use a paper towel to open the door)
  • Clean and disinfect all areas such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment (like tablets, touch screens, keyboards, remote controls) every morning, focusing especially on frequently touched surfaces.
  • Cleaning Guidance for different surfaces:
    • Hard (Non-porous) Surfaces: Employ detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection on all floors then apply EPA-registered household disinfectants ensuring a contact time of at least 1 minute, and allowing proper ventilation during and after application. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted. Bleach solutions will be effective for disinfection up to 24 hours.
    • Soft (Porous) Surfaces: Soft items (carpets, rugs, etc) should be removed if possible. To clean, remove visible contamination if present and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces. After cleaning, launder those items where possible and dry items completely.
  • Electronics: For electronics such as tablets, touch screens, keyboards, remote controls, etc, use an approved alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol to disinfect touch screens. Dry surfaces thoroughly to avoid pooling of liquids.
  • The risk of exposure to cleaning staff is inherently low. Cleaning staff should wear disposable gloves and masks during the cleaning process, including handling trash. Cleaning staff and others should clean hands often by washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available and hands are not visibly dirty, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol may be used.
  • Directional Signage will be displayed during all operational hours. Post disclaimers at all entrances, exits, and egress clearly stating that by entering the event facility, attendees accept all risk in attending in-person events and will adhere to all social distancing and protective equipment use requirements.
  • Mark 6 foot distances on the floor in high traffic areas (lobbys/main hallways)
  • Where possible, include signage indicating a one-way traffic pattern in and out of classrooms/offices/facilities.

Restroom Specific Cleaning and Protocol

  • During classes, no more than 2 students and a supervising staff/intern will be in the bathroom at any given time.
  • Don’t Touch Surfaces Unless Necessary
  • Wash Hands – fingers, palms, wrists, and thumbs – 20 Seconds (Sing Happy Birthday) before exiting the bathroom.
  • Use Hand Sanitizer on Entry and Exit of the bathroom.
  • Staff to Mop floors, wipe down stall doors, safety rails, commode, urinals/urinal screens exterior and interior, counter tops, sinks and fixtures, all dispensers (toilet paper, paper towels, soap) with disinfecting products.
  • Restock toilet paper, soap, and paper towels to full capacity.
  • Empty general trash and small trash from stalls.  Replace bags.
  • When 50 or more people are on campus high touch cleaning will be completed and tracked every two hours.
  • High Touch Cleaning requires wiping down all high touch surface areas with disinfecting products.  These include counter top, sink fixtures, door handles/locks of stalls, commode handle, safety rails, soap dispenser, paper towel dispenser, lids of trash containers in the stalls.
  • Bathroom main entrance doors will be fully open to increase air circulation, decrease high touch areas, and reduce aerosolization.
  • Every other stall will be closed to limit aerosolization and increase social distance.
  • Every other sink will be closed to provide social distancing and reduce water spatter or aerosolization.
  • Touchless Soap Dispensers will be available at every open sink to reduce touch points.
  • Paper Towel Dispensers at each sink to reduce movement and touch points.
  • A Publically Visible Cleaning Tracker will be mounted on the door.
  • No Phones will be permitted in the bathrooms to reduce touch points and lingering.  Signage to that effect will be posted.
  • Hand Sanitizer will be provided outside bathrooms for use upon entry and exit.
  • Additional trash cans will be placed in each bathroom. 

Appendix B

NTPA Staff Safety Protocol

The following general guidelines will be issued to and followed by all Staff Members.

NTPA Staff Members will be expected to:

  • HAVE YOUR TEMPERATURE TESTED DAILY and affirm you are aware of no symptoms that would indicate an infection. The worker taking temperatures should be stationed outside the front door, if possible, and will take temperatures via a touchless thermometer. Temperatures will be recorded for all NTPA staff. All staff must be fever free for 72 hours before entering an NTPA facility.
  • Wear a facemask at all times while in NTPA facilities. In workplace settings where employees are working alone in segregated spaces and maintain at least 6 feet of distance from other employees (e.g. cubicles with walls, private offices, etc.), employees may remove their masks. However, workers shall wear a mask or face covering from the time they enter the building until the time they arrive at their cubicle/work station and at any time they are leaving their work station and moving around common areas (i.e. in hallways and stairwells, going to the restroom or break room, etc. Continuous wearing of masks is not required in outdoor workspaces where employees do not regularly come within six feet of other employees. Nothing in these rules shall require the use of a mask or cloth face covering by anyone for whom doing so would be contrary to his or her health or safety because of a medical condition. If a person declines to wear a mask or cloth face covering because of a medical condition as described above, such person shall not be required to produce medical documentation verifying the stated condition.
  • NTPA will provide a safety pack for all employees who return on-site to include:
    • Facemask
    • Cleaning wipes for laptops
    • Hand sanitizer
    • Safety guidelines for NTPA staff
  • Avoid any and all physical contact, no hugs or handshakes. Create a “fun greeting” with your kids that they know “inside” you are hugging them!
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Positively and pleasantly ensure all patrons and students are abiding by NTPA’s safety measures.
  • Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people and avoid congregating in groups. Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings.
  • Regularly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Additional key times to clean hands include:
    • After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • After using the restroom.
    • Before eating or preparing food.
    • After contact with animals or pets.
    • Before and after providing care for another person or a child needing assistance.
  • Teach and reinforce washing hands and covering coughs and sneezes among children and staff.
  • Teach and reinforce use of cloth face coverings/face masks among all persons on site at all times. It is expected that face coverings will be worn at all reasonable times by anyone inside an NTPA theatre.
  • Staff will be instructed on the proper use, removal, and washing of face masks.
  • Ensure there are adequate supplies to support healthy hygiene behaviors, including soap, hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol (for staff and older children who can safely use hand sanitizer), and tissues.
  • Ensure signs are all posted and very visible for methods to stop the spread of COVID-19, properly wash hands, promote everyday protective measures, and properly wear a face covering and other communications during all hours of open operation.
  • Clean, sanitize, and disinfect frequently touched surfaces (for example, playground equipment, door handles, sink handles, drinking fountains) AFTER EVERY CLASS session.
  • Minimize the use of any shared objects, and if used, ensure those objects are sanitized between use.
  • Avoid use of items (for example, soft or plush toys) that are not easily cleaned, sanitized, or disinfected.
  • Ensure safe and correct application of disinfectants and keep products away from children.
  • Ensure that air conditioning systems are operating properly and fans are continually operational to increase circulation of outdoor air as much as possible.
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