As COCA reopens to the public, the safety and health of our patrons, staff, faculty and family members is of the utmost importance.

The wellbeing of our community continues to guide our decision-making, and our staff and faculty have been hard at work ensuring that when we come back together next month, 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 our Fall 2020 policies:

If you’re a current student and received a positive COVID-19 diagnosis: Please call our Director of Administration, Catherine Wermert at 314.561.4867.  

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 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?
    1. Chills, stiffness/rigidity, muscle aches or pains, fatigue/weakness, headache, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, sudden loss of taste or smell

Before You Visit the Campus:


  • Each day of class, 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.
  • Temperatures will also be taken upon entry to the building by COCA staff using a non-contact digital thermometer.


  • 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 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 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 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:


  • Each day of class, staff, teaching artists, teaching assistants and students will provide responses to the screening questionnaire indicating that they are symptom free less than one hour before their expected time.

  • Upon arrival all staff, teaching artists, teaching assistants and students will have their temperatures taken and recorded by a non-contact digital thermometer by front desk staff.

  • 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.


  • 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 class.
  • Parents must remain in their cars or off the premises.

During Classes:

  • Teachers will make sure classes end on time to allow for disinfecting processes.
  • Outside Visitors:
    • There will be no vender drop off during class hours to minimize the number of people who come in contact with students.
    • 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 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. Bottled water will be available for students who arrive without water.
    • 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.
  • PPE:
    • 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.

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 be 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 pratical work will be limited to one or two students plus a teaching artist in spaces such as booths and wings.
  • All shop equipment will be regularly sanitized.

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.

  • 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
    • Piano keys, etc.
    • Cubbies

For more resources, please visit:

The CDC COVID-19 Information Page

The St. Louis County COVID-19 Information Center