Health & Safety Procedures
Connect, learn, and create in a safe and welcoming environment
The health and safety of our COCA community is of the utmost importance. COCA’s Health & Safety Procedures are outlined below. We continually monitor current COVID-19 conditions in our region, and protocols are subject to change, as necessary, to address the conditions.
Current Health & Safety Procedures
Updated August 13, 2022
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidelines concerning COVID-19 for both St. Louis City and St. Louis County. COCA has continually followed the guidance of the CDC the past two years, and our health and safety guidelines have been revised to match their current recommendations.
Effective August 15, 2022, face masks will be strongly recommended at COCA, not required. We highly recommend that all patrons wear face masks, especially those who are unvaccinated and those who remain vulnerable to COVID-19.
If you’re a current student and received a positive COVID-19 diagnosis: Please call Patron Services at 314.725.6555.
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 Visiting COCA’s Campus
- All patrons should answer COCA’s screening questions before visiting the campus. If you answer affirmatively to any of these screening questions or any sign of illness is present, patrons are requested to stay home.
COCA Screening Questions:
In the last 5 days, have you or a member of your household been diagnosed with COVID-19? Or, are you or a member of your household suspected of having COVID-19?
Are you experiencing any of the following symptoms: fever (temperature of 100°F or higher), chills, stiffness/rigidity, muscle aches or pains, fatigue/weakness, headache, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, sudden loss of taste or smell, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea.
- 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
- Effective August 15, 2022, face masks are strongly recommended at COCA, not required. We highly recommend that all patrons wear face masks, especially those who are unvaccinated and those who remain vulnerable to COVID-19.
- Guests may accompany students into COCA. Classes may be observed from outside of the studio or guests may wait in the Centene Commons. Effective August 15, 2022, masks are highly recommended indoors at COCA.
- Students also may be dropped off and picked up in the circle drive in front of COCA on 6880 Washington Avenue (between Trinity Ave and Kingsland Ave).
Protocols for Camps & Classes
- Outside Visitors:
- COCA’s building is an active space for camps, classes, and performances. It is highly recommended that visitors wear a mask while on COCA’s campus, unless actively eating or drinking in designated areas. Eating and drinking (except for water) are not allowed in the Catherine B. Berges Theatre, Staenberg Performance Lab, and all studio spaces.
- Currently, there are no makeup classes or Art Space Initiative (ASI) bookings.
- Camp pick-up and drop-off times will be staggered to minimize large gatherings.
- 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 and before any snacking/eating to wash hands or use hand sanitizer.
- 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.
- Drinking fountains are closed and students are expected to bring their own water bottle.
- The touchless water bottle filling stations will remain open.
- Patrons are welcome to eat and drink in designated areas. Eating and drinking (except for water) are not allowed in the Catherine B. Berges Theatre, Staenberg Performance Lab, and all studio spaces.
- 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 and lunch times will be staggered and locations spread to minimize large gatherings.
- Snack and lunch will be held outdoors, weather permitting.
- Effective August 15, 2022, face masks are strongly recommended at COCA, not required.
- We highly recommend that all patrons wear face masks, especially those who are unvaccinated and those who remain vulnerable to COVID-19.
- COCA will have masks available for visitors.
- Social Distancing:
- Social distancing measures will be implemented to the extent possible.
Protocols by Discipline
- 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.
- COCA highly recommends teaching artists and students in vocal classes continue to wear masks.
- 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
- Studio surfaces and equipment are wiped down between each camp or class.
- Studio surfaces and equipment wiped down between each camp or class.
- COCA highly recommends teaching artists and students in early childhood and vocal classes continue to wear masks.
Protocols for Theatre Productions & Public Events
Effective August 15, 2022, face masks are strongly recommended at COCA, not required. We highly recommend that all patrons wear face masks, especially those who are unvaccinated and those who remain vulnerable to COVID-19.
All performers regardless of vaccination status are required to test prior to performances to go unmasked. Performers may choose to not submit to testing and remain masked for performances. COCA’s guidelines for performers are subject to change.
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.
- Guests who have had or been exposed to COVID-19 in the past 5 days or are experiencing any symptoms, such as cough, loss of taste/smell, temperature above 100 degrees Fahrenheit should not attend events at COCA.
- Effective August 15, 2022, face masks are strongly recommended at COCA, not required. We highly recommend that all guests wear face masks, especially those who are unvaccinated and those who remain vulnerable to COVID-19.
- 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.
- Ticket holders can print their tickets at home, display digital tickets on their mobile device, or check in with House Management upon arrival to confirm their seat numbers.
- Ushers will scan tickets when entering the theatre with a touchless scanner.
- Digital programs and playbills will be available on COCA’s website.
- 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.
- Guests will have the option to print at home if they are not able to access virtual tickets with a smartphone.
- 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.
Performers and Crew
Performers, Creative Team and Stage Management: Rehearsals and Performance
- Vaccinated performers are not required to test prior to performances. Unvaccinated performers have the option to perform masked or follow COCA’s testing protocols and test negative for COVID-19 to perform unmasked. Unvaccinated performers who choose testing will test three (3) times weekly beginning with Tech rehearsals. COCA’s guidelines for performers are subject to change.
- 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
- 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
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.