The well-being 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 continues to review our Health & Safety Procedures to ensure all protocols are in accordance with the latest public health recommendations, and our decisions are made in the interest of our community’s health and safety. COCA’s protocols are subject to change based on current conditions.

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 CDC guidelines, and utilize our virtual class resources.

If COCA receives notification that someone in your camp or class has tested positive for COVID-19: You will receive an email with further information. 

Before You Visit the Campus:


  • All patrons should answer COCA’s screening questions before visiting the campus:

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, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea.

If you answer affirmatively to any of these screening questions or do not feel well, patrons are requested to stay home.


  • Students and families are encouraged to review COCA’s Health & Safety Procedures prior to the start of camp or class.
  • Students and families will agree to adhere to these health and safety protocols during the camp and class registration process.

When You Arrive:


  • Masks are to be worn at all times on the COCA campus in both indoor and outdoor spaces.


  • Students Ages 6+ should be dropped off and picked up in the circle drive in front of COCA on 6880 Washington Avenue (between Trinity Ave and Kingsland Ave). Do not sit idle in the drive. You also may park in the parking garage and wait for your student to come across the crosswalk to meet you.
  • Students Ages 3­–5 should be escorted to their studio by one parent/guardian. Classes may be observed from outside of the studio.
  • Everyone must wear a mask inside the COCA building.

For Camps & Classes:

  • Outside Visitors:
    • COCA’s building is an active space for camps, classes, and performances. We are limiting the number of outside visitors on our campus. Visitors must wear a mask while on COCA’s campus, unless actively eating or drinking. Eating is limited to the designated area in the Centene Commons.
    • Currently, there are no 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.
    • Family groups are allowed in the elevator together; however, only one family group at a time is allowed.
    • 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/Guardians 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 stations will remain open.
    • Eating is limited to the designated area in the Centene Commons.
    • There will be no microwave, ice, dishes, coffee, or utensils for student 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.
    • 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 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:

  • 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.
  • Studio surfaces and equipment are wiped down 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.
  • Studio surfaces and equipment wiped down between each camp or class.

For Theatre Productions & Public Events:

Vaccination Policy for Theatre Productions

Vaccinations Required: All vaccinated patrons must show proof of full* COVID-19 vaccination upon arrival at COCA. Patrons will need to bring a photo ID and their vaccination card in the form of the card itself, photo(s) of both sides of the card, a photocopy of both sides of the card, or a copy or photo of a vaccination record from the Department of Health. OR Negative COVID-19 Test: Children ages 3–12 years old and unvaccinated patrons must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test. A negative RT-PCR test, antigen test, or self-administered home test within 72 hours of the performance will be accepted.
Face Masks Required: All patrons, ages 3+, are required to wear a mask at all times on the COCA campus—both indoors and outdoors. Disposable masks will be provided to those arriving without a mask.
Performers: Performances may feature unmasked performers. Performers must be fully vaccinated and test negative for COVID-19 to have the option to perform unmasked. All performers will be tested regardless of vaccination status and must provide a negative test result in order to perform.
Enhanced Cleaning Procedures: The Catherine B. Berges Theatre, Staenberg Performance Lab, and all high touch areas, will be sanitized in between performances. Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the COCA campus.

*Fully vaccinated is defined as two weeks after the date of the final (one dose of Johnson & Johnson or second dose of Pfizer or Moderna) dose of vaccine.

COVID-19 Vaccine and Testing Resources

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 Audience Services & Rentals Manager and Director of Facilities & Operations 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.

Performance Ticketing & Seating

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Digital programs and playbills will be available on COCA’s website.

Payment Procedures

  • Guests are encouraged to pre-pay for tickets online or over the phone.
  • For in-person payments, cash and 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 beverages for meetings should be individually packaged or served by one person wearing gloves and a mask.
  • 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 

  • Performances may feature unmasked performers. Performers must be fully vaccinated and test negative for COVID-19 to have the option to perform unmasked. All performers will be tested regardless of vaccination status and must provide a negative test result in order to perform.
  • 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 using Electrostatic spray equipment twice daily.  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 when programming is happening on weekends during the school year. During the summer, COCA will have a full-time porter. Porters will sanitize all high-touch areas including, but not limited to: Barres, Door knobs, Light switches, Bathroom faucets, Tabletops, Stair rails, Elevator buttons, Cubbies, Piano keys, etc.