Sunday is the official start of “phase 2” at Aerial Dance. The big change with phase 2 is spotting resumes. A lot of research and thought has gone into our spotting plan. Below you’ll find all the details (see the Covid info page for full phase 2 details). As always, we are being completely transparent with our community about our plans and the science we are using to create them so our members can make their own educated decisions about what is best for them.

Pick your color of comfort

When coming to an Advanced or above pole class, an aerial class, or a practice you will see up to three cups with single use slips of paper in the cup. There will be Red and Yellow slips out for EVERY class. Green slips will be out if the Instructor teaching that class is comfortable with that options that day. Each student will take one slip of paper to indicate her level of comfort with spotting.

Red -“please do not spot me”. Instead the instructor will maintain social distance (as is happening during the rest of class) and will be given combinations of moves she is already cleared on or upright tricks or move variations that do NOT require a spot. With this choice the student will only have an instructor touch her in the event of an emergency spot.

Yellow – “spot me! And we’ll both wear masks”. For this color the instructor will spot the student and both instructor and student will be wearing masks. This is the level of spotting I personally would choose at this time. It is also the level we hope our members who are essential workers or women who are out in places that do not always have social distancing choose.

Green – “Spot me! I am healthy and have not been in any situations that may have exposed me to Covid. I will not wear a mask.” This level will ONLY be available IF the Instructor feels comfortable with this level for any given day/class. For green the instructor can choose to wear a mask or not, it is up to her but the student will not be wearing one.

A student picks her spotting color comfort level while entering the studio. This eliminates any possibly of peer pressure or FOMO. You decided what you felt comfortable with based on factors that matter to you and not what you see other students doing in class. This also gives a discrete communication between student and instructor about what the student wishes. Once you pick your color, have it sitting on top of your card during warm-up so the instructor can see it and prepare her class order.

If you wanted green but it isn’t an option at your class, respect your instructor and pick one of the other colors. She may be protecting you by not having it out, who knows! We are giving you options to respect your comfort, please respect hers as well. It is instructor choice to put out green and respect whatever decision she has made and choose from the options available.

We are introducing all three of the spotting levels now expecting that most of our students will choose red or yellow. But as the situation changes in the upcoming weeks and months we wanted a policy in place that was fluid. We plan to keep this in place until everyone is green all the time, whenever that may be. Consistency with this policy will give our students comfort and familiarity when coming to the studio.

When it is YOUR TIME to be spotted….

When it is time to be spotted, the instructor will notify the student that they will be coming over. If the student is breathing heavily (or feels like they may need to cough or sneeze) they will notify the instructor to put them somewhere else in class order. If good to go, both instructor and student will put on mask as indicated by the selected color level. The instructor will stand and place both her palms face-up for the student to spray with alcohol from her bottle. Then the spotting will happen. If there are multiple spots, the instructor will step back farther than usual between spots. After spotting is complete the student will give the instructor her card and pen to fill out and sign. Then the instructor will again stand with both palms-up and the student will spray her hands with alcohol.

The alcohol spray before spotting makes sure there is nothing on instructor hands before she touches a student (this protects the student). The alcohol spray after spotting makes sure there is nothing left from touching the student on the instructor (this protects the instructor). Remembering this process and enacting it quickly will help keep our community safe.

As you leave class, please throw our (or better yet, RECYCLE) your slip of paper in the bin by the sanitizing station.

Not EVERY class will necessarily need spotting. Instructors will still be doing a LOT of review moves and combos as we work our way back into pole and aerial safely. But this will be the procedure for spotting and you’ll want to select a color every class, even if it is not used to help get used to the new system.

Other phase 2 changes include: socks are no longer required by are encouraged; students will use their “class cards” to track progress; and we’ve updated “when to come to class” to include only two requirements
1. your temperature is below 100.4
2. you have not symptoms. 

All other phase 1 requirements are still in place. Students are still required to wear masks in all common areas, like entry and exit (masks are available at the desk for purchase for $3 if you need one). Students are also still required to come in specific doors that correspond to the studio you’ll be in and to leave the building between classes.

Science & Reasoning

There is no clear science about spotting pole & aerial. There haven’t been double blind tests or research. As a studio owner I’ve struggled reading things in the community as most are fear based and not science based. And this is a scary time, but I have to choose love and science. So this is what we are going by: the CDC has said that the spread of covid is unlikely from surfaces (though we are still cleaning like mad) and is most likely from respiratory particles. There are two ways particles spread enough to infect:
1. Big particles from a cough, sneeze, heavy breathing directly into the face/airway of the other person.
2. Long exposure in an area where small particles from normal breathing and you’re there long enough to reach a critical viral load.

Let’s address the “longer exposure” issue first. This is why we have updated our HVAC systems and are opening doors to increase internal air. This is why one of big reasons we are asking students to leave the building for 10 minutes of every hour so they have “fresh air” as much as possible. We have also made class sizes much lower in the aerial studios (to match the already low class sizes in our pole studios) and have dramatically lowered the number of students in our fitness classes where heavier breathing is more likely. Our studious are indoors, we can’t change that, so we are doing everything we can to limit this type of transmission by increasing airflow and decreasing class size. This type of transmission doesn’t seem relevant to spotting because it is about duration and spotting takes very little time within the social distancing space.

Therefore, it is the “big particle” issue that our spotting policy needed to address. We started that by spraying hands so any big particles on hands are not transferred from one to another. When being spotted, the student is facing forward and the instructor is to their side or back so direct face to face contact is not usual. Once the student is in the trick, their butt is usually a lot closer to the instructor than their face! So by cleaning hands, not being face to face and not having any direct big particles by having calm breathing, we’ve reduced this risk of transmission.

Final thoughts moving to Phase 2

All my instructors have been consulted in this move to phase 2. They are ALL comfortable to return to spotting and feel this policy and the decisions we’ve made keeps them safe. This is a brave new world where we don’t have clear data that is relevant for our industry. We no longer have clear state guidelines to follow. Every morning I check data and numbers in Brown & Outagamie county and read every new bit of research I can. And the truth is that we just simply don’t know. The data is changing constantly and there is a lot of contradictory information out there so I hope that the transparency of this blog knowing what we are focusing on to keep everyone safe helps you decide what is best for you.

You do not need to be spotted if you do not want to. That is why we are making it so you can choose your level of comfort based on what you know about your activities. We are trusting our sisterhood to keep us all safe by being honest with yourself about your level of risk and choosing the color that best respects our community. Your color can change every class based on your activities and comfort. I live in terror that a student brings covid to my facility and I have to enact our plan to contact anyone they may have had contact with. Please don’t be that student. I beg you to stay smart and safe and treat our sisterhood with your love and respect.

And lastly, if you are wearing a mask, anywhere, do NOT put it around your neck!!!! It this is seriously the most unsafe place to put a mask. If there were any covid particles on the outside of your mask putting it around your neck puts them very close to your mouth. When not on, on top of your head or in a pocket, or heck in a mud puddle, is much safer for you than ever putting a mask down around your neck.

As always if any students have questions they are welcome to call or email us. <3