The wellbeing of our community continues to guide our decision-making, and our staff and faculty have been hard at work ensuring that our COCA family will be able to connect, learn, and create in a safe and welcoming environment.

Please read the information below to learn more about the Health & Safety Procedures for the COCA campus:

COCA will continue to review our Health & Safety Procedures to ensure all protocols are in accordance with the latest public health recommendations.

If you’re a current student and received a positive COVID-19 diagnosis: Please call our Human Resources Manager Allie Rapini at 314.561.4880.

If you have concerns you might have been exposed to COVID-19: Please use your best judgment based on our screening questions below and the CDC guidelines linked above, and utilize our virtual class resources.

If COCA receives notification that someone in your camp or class has notified COCA that they have tested positive: You will receive an email and text message for further information. 

COCA Screening Questions: 

    1. In the last 14 days, have you been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with, or is suspected to have COVID-19? Close Contact is being 6 feet or closer for more than 15 minutes, or having direct contact with fluids from a person with COVID-19 (for example, being coughed or sneezed on)
    2. Is your temperature 100°F (38°C) or higher?
    3. Are you experiencing two or more of the following symptoms: Chills, Stiffness/rigidity, Muscle aches or pains, Fatigue/weakness, Headache, Sore throat, Cough, Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, and/or Sudden loss of taste or smell

Before You Visit the Campus:


  • For the safety and comfort of all, students and families will be asked to attend a virtual presentation given by COCA staff prior to the start of camp or class about our procedures. Information will be shared on policies including, but not limited to:
    • Sending students with a clean cloth mask each day.
    • Completing the screening questionnaire before each camp or class begins.
    • Utilizing pick up/drop off procedures at the main entrance.
    • Committing to temperature checks.
  • Students and families will agree to adhere to these health and safety protocols during the camp and class registration process prior to being on site.
  • Families will sign a modified behavior form with their student that commits to social distancing.

When You Arrive:


  • Staff, teaching artists, teaching assistants, and students will provide responses to a short screening questionnaire indicating that they are symptom-free and have not been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with, or is suspected to have COVID-19, within the last 14 days.
  • Upon entry to the building, temperatures will be taken and recorded by COCA staff using a non-contact digital thermometer.
  • Those with a temperature over 100°F will be moved to a designated office (health room) and sent home. Students exhibiting symptoms will wait in the health room until their family member can pick them up from COCA.
  • Masks are to be worn at all times on the COCA campus in both indoor and outdoor spaces.


  • Students must be dropped off and picked up in the circle drive in front of COCA on 6880 Washington Avenue (between Trinity Ave and Kingsland Ave), and no parents will be allowed in the hallways during classes.
    • Parents who need to buckle and unbuckle young children are allowed to step out of their cars and walk their children to the sidewalk where a COCA staff member will take over.
  • Students will wear a mask inside the COCA building and must not mingle in the hallways before or after camp or class.
  • Parents must remain in their cars or off the premises.
  • One parent is allowed in the building with Early Childhood students under six years old.

For Camps & Classes:

  • Teachers will make sure camps and classes end on time to allow for disinfecting processes.
  • Outside Visitors:
    • COCA’s building is an active space for camps, classes, and performances. We will limit the exposure to students when outside visitors are on our campus.
    • There will be no vender drop off during camp or class hours.
    • Currently, there will be no private lessons, makeup classes, or Art Space Initiative (ASI) bookings.
  • Elevator(s):
    • The elevators are only to be used by those staff, teaching artists, assistants and students who are unable to use the stairs.
    • Only one person may be in the elevator at a time.
    • Hand sanitizer will be available for use before and after elevator access.
    • When operating the elevator, using elbows to push the buttons is encouraged.

  • Hand Washing:
    • Students will be given a break from activities every 60-90 minutes to wash hands.
    • Proper hand washing techniques will be emphasized.
    • Parents are encouraged to have hand sanitizer in the car for use after camp or class.
    • Hand sanitizer will be available in the classrooms, with its use supervised in young children.

  • Food:
    • Drinking fountains are closed and students are expected to bring their own water bottle.
    • The touchless water bottle filling station will remain open.
    • There will be no microwave, ice, dishes, coffee, or utensils for staff/faculty/students use.
    • There will be no food sharing in classrooms or at lunchtime.
    • For Snack and Lunch during COCA Camps:
      • Snack/break times will be further staggered and locations spread to minimize large gatherings.
      • Snack/break locations will remain outdoors.
      • Lunch times and locations will be further staggered to minimize large gatherings.
      • There will be an outdoor lunch location for those families who select that option.
  • PPE:
    • Masks are to be worn at all times on the COCA campus in both indoor and outdoor spaces.
    • All staff, teaching artists and assistants must wear masks.
    • All students must wear masks.
    • COCA will have masks available for anyone who shows up without a mask.
  • Outdoor Spaces
    • Students enrolled in outdoor camps will only go inside to use the restroom, wash their hands, or refill their water bottles.

Safety Protocol by Discipline

Dance-Specific Notes:

  • Shoe changes will not in happen in a huddle—bags will be spread out and students will be directed to their things in varying times.
  • There will be limited hands-on corrections.
  • Ongoing cleaning of the barre in the studio will be integrated.
  • Shared equipment in the studio, such as the piano and stereo will be sanitized between each use.
  • Students will not be able to borrow shoes from COCA’s backup inventory.
  • Locker rooms are not available at this time—please come dressed and ready for class.

Theatre-Specific Notes:

  • All efforts will be made to maximize distancing in class based on square footage.
  • No hands-on corrections.
  • Personal devices, as well as paper and pen, are preferred and encouraged in Playwriting classes.
  • Design-Tech practical work will be limited to one or two students plus a teaching artist in spaces such as technical booths and theatre wings.
  • All shop equipment will be regularly sanitized.

Art & Design/Multidisciplinary Specific Notes:

  • No shared supplies for in-person camps and classes; All supplies will be provided for online/virtual camps and classes.
  • Limited camp and class sizes based on square footage of classroom.
  • Studio and Equipment sanitized between each camp or class.

Early Childhood Specific Notes:

  • No shared supplies for in-person camps and classes; All supplies will be provided for online/virtual camps and classes.
  • Limited camp and class sizes based on square footage of classroom.
  • Activities modified to maintain social distancing at all times.
  • Studio and Equipment sanitized between each camp or class.
  • One parent is allowed in the building with Early Childhood students under six years old.

For Theatre Productions & Public Events:

  • COCA has increased its seating capacity for the Catherine B. Berges Theatre and Staenberg Performance Lab. At later dates, capacity percentages may increase or decrease in compliance with future orders from the St. Louis County guidelines and approval. Capacities are inclusive of guests, performers, staff, and volunteers.

Guest Experience

  • Guests who have had or been exposed to COVID-19 in the past 14 days or are experiencing any symptoms, such as cough, loss of taste/smell, temperature above 100 degrees Fahrenheit should not attend events at COCA.
  • All guests must wear masks at all times on the COCA campus in both indoor and outdoor spaces.
  • Event planners (internal and external) will work in collaboration with COCA’s Rental Manager and Operations Manager to develop an event experience plan. Event planners must ensure their guests are aware of all guidelines before arrival and signs should be prominently displayed as a reminder.
  • Event planners will maintain a log of guests that includes email addresses to assist public health officials with contact tracing as necessary. For external event planners, this log will be provided to COCA’s Safety Officer.
  • All areas where guests are queued will be marked for appropriate physical distancing. This includes, but is not limited to entrances, box office, registration, exhibits, lobbies, and performance venue entrances.

Performance Ticketing & Seating

  • Performances are choreographed to maintain appropriate distance between performers and the audience.
  • Tickets, after purchasing, will be located on the guest’s mobile device to be scanned when entering the theatre by an usher.
  • Ushers will scan tickets with a touchless scanner.
  • There will be no printed tickets or will call pick up.
  • There will be no printed programs; an on-screen playbill will be displayed.


  • Guests will reserve an entrance time on the COCA website to visit exhibits in Millstone Gallery and/or Centene Commons to ensure capacities and physical distancing are maintained.


  • Meeting rooms will be set up in such a way to maintain 6’ of physical distance between attendees. To-scale schematics will be created and submitted for approval.

Payment Procedures

  • Cash transactions are suspended at this time.
  • Guests are encouraged to pre-pay for tickets online or over the phone.
  • For in-person payments, credit cards are accepted. Guests will be able to swipe their own cards through the card reader, or the card will be wiped down before and after being handled by staff member.
  • Receipts will be emailed only.
  • No tickets will be printed onsite; guests will have the option to print at home if they are not able to access virtual tickets with a smartphone.

Food Service

  • Food and beverage is discouraged for meetings. If permitted, attendees will bring their own food and beverage.
  • All concessions for pre-show, post-show, and intermission are suspended.
  • Catered functions will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis in conjunction with catering companies. Catering companies must be approved by COCA’s Operation or Rental Manager. Masks will be worn any time a guest is away from their table.

Performers and Crew

Performers, Creative Team and Stage Management: Rehearsals and Performance 

  • Performers who show proof of vaccination and follow COCA’s testing policy may be unmasked only while on-stage. All other performers will remain masked.
  • Performers will maintain at least 10 feet of physical distance from the audience.
  • Directors, Choreographers, Designers, Music Directors and Stage Managers will be masked at all times when engaging with performers in rehearsal studios and on-stage.
  • Dancers will follow costume and fitting procedure guidelines as outlined.
  • All mics will be sanitized by the wearer following use.

Crew-Loading Dock/Fly Floor/Grid/On Stage/Control Booths/Orchestra Pit 

  • Delivery drivers will remain in the cab of trucks or be provided health screening and face masks or other PPE that might be needed.
  • Personal work gloves will be washed with soap and water daily after use.
  • Vehicle unloading will be staggered to decrease crowding and enforce physical distancing.
  • Equipment will be disinfected as it is unloaded from trucks.
  • Work locations will be separated into zones to facilitate physical distancing.
  • Overhead work will be staggered and points rigged in advance.
  • High-risk equipment will be sanitized after each use (radios, headsets, microphones, props, safety equipment) and weight stacks daily.
  • Personnel will be reduced that is allowed simultaneously onstage and during load-in, run and strike.

Fittings and Costume Production Procedures

  • If dressing rooms are utilized, performers will follow capacity guidelines and no items will be shared.

Scenic Builds and Shop Use

  • Work stations in Scene and Costume shops will be separated by at least 3′.
  • Work start and end times will be staggered.
  • Capacity restrictions will be followed.
  • Equipment will be sanitized before and after use.

Partnerships and External Producers

  • All partners and external producers must agree to follow guidelines and set forth in this plan.
  • If rehearsals are planned outside of regular building hours, partners will designate one person to check in all external artists, including performers, stage management, and technicians and keep a log for contact tracing.

Front of House Staff

  • COCA House Managers are trained in the following:
    • Executing modifications/risk
    • In identifying the symptoms of COVID-19
    • Actions to take if COVID-19 symptoms are identified
    • Trauma awareness training
    • De-escalation
  • COCA Ushers are trained in the following:
    • Executing modifications/risk
    • Identifying the symptoms of COVID-19
    • Actions to take if COVID-19 symptoms are identified
  • All front of house staff, ushers, and volunteers must wear masks at all times.

Ongoing Cleaning and Sanitation:

HVAC and Ventilation Systems
COCA’s renovation and expansion project included upgrading and replacing HVAC systems with high efficiency equipment that improve ventilation in the building and increase the percentage of outdoor air.

  • COCA utilizes a professional cleaning company that deep cleans and disinfects the facility every night.  During the day, in addition to daytime porters, COCA’s Operation team sanitizes all high-touch areas and floors in each studio in-between classes using Electrostatic spray equipment.  The sanitizing spray from this equipment is electrically charged, allowing the appropriate sanitizers, mold preventatives and disinfectants to wrap around and evenly coat all types of surfaces for a more complete clean.
  • A porter will be at COCA anytime programming is happening and will sanitize all high-touch areas on a continual basis including, but not limited to: Barres, Door knobs, Light switches, Bathroom faucets, Tabletops, Stair rails, Elevator buttons, Cubbies, Piano keys, etc.

For more resources, please visit:

The CDC COVID-19 Information Page

The St. Louis County COVID-19 Information Center