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Swing Patrol and Covid Safety

Swing Patrol is operating firstly in accordance with the Victorian Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) guidelines, and secondly in accordance with specific venue Covid plans, which will vary from location to location. We are also taking guidance from AUSDance, who have an understanding of partner dancing and specifically swing dance and the type of dancing we do, described as “Recreational Structured Partner Dancing”.

After being shut down for over a year, as Swing Patrol re-opens into “Covid Normal”, things will inevitably be different from the way we have known them for 20+ years. Below are the key changes you will notice:

Keeping everyone safe – DO NOT come to class if you are unwell, if experiencing any Covid symptoms, if you have been in contact with a positive Covid case or have recently been at an identified exposure site. If a pre-booking has been made, Swing Patrol will provide a full refund. If a Teacher is unable to come to class, and a substitute teacher cannot be found, the class may be run with a solo teacher or cancelled at short notice. Students will be contacted via booking information and via social media to advise of class cancellation. Pre-bookings will be refunded if Swing Patrol cancels a class. To repeat, DO NOT come to class if you are unwell. The days of going dancing with a sore throat or “just a bit of a cold” are over.  If you experience any symptoms, get tested and isolate. If you feel unwell or experience symptoms soon after attending class, contact the DHHS 24 hour Coronavirus Hotline: 1800 675 398

Online Bookings – Initially, in order to adhere to individual venue capacities, and allow for smoother flowing entry, attendance for all classes and workshops will be by pre-paid online registration. No drop-in and pay at the door option. If a pre-booking has been made but you are unable to attend due to illness, Swing Patrol will provide a full refund. For those who have existing Swing Patrol Class Cards, you will need to register online for no cost, and produce your Class Card at the door on the night of the class (no card, no entry.)

Class Cards – Existing Swing Patrol Class Card will be honoured (expiry dates between 14 March 2020 and 25 April 2021 will have an automatic extension of 24 months applied.)  Initially, attendance for all classes will be by pre-paid online registration. For those who have existing Swing Patrol Class Cards, you will need to register online for no cost, and produce your Class Card at the door on the night of the class (no card, no entry.)

Cashless Payment – As density restrictions ease, we hope to move back to casual, drop-in classes, and we will implement a cashless payment system, using Square card readers to take contactless card payments at the door. We will advise when this is implemented. Swing Patrol Class Cards will also be honoured.

Contact Tracing – QR codes will be used to check-in at all venues. Swing Patrol hires venues in which to hold our classes and workshops, so we must adhere to the CovidSafe Plans of each individual venue. Where a venue operator has a QR code in place, we will use the venue’s system. If not, then Swing Patrol will have a QR code specific to that Swing Patrol location, using the Victorian Government QR Code Service.

Face Masks – Face Masks should be worn in accordance with current DHHS guidelines. Where masks are not mandated, attendees may choose to wear a mask at any time before, during or after class. Note that masks are not recommended when out of breath or puffing from strenuous exercise (eg. dancing) and that masks are less effective when damp. Masks should be handled with care – do not touch the front of the mask when putting on or removing, or sanitise hands immediately after handling mask. Masks should not be disposed of at the venue – take your used mask home with you eg. in a plastic bag.

Hygiene & distancing – Everyone will sanitise hands upon entry to and exit from the venue, and sanitiser will be available for use as you wish throughout the class. You may wish to bring your own mini hand sanitiser to use during class, to speed up the process.

You must bring your own water bottle. There will be NO shared water or food, no water glasses provided, no mints or lollies on the table.

We won’t have name tag sheets on the check-in table, no flyers. We will ask that you don’t congregate around the check-in table, and that you minimise gathering indoors – students are encouraged to change shoes outside and do not congregate in foyer/hall to chat. Furniture in the venue will be arranged accordingly, to remind you not to gather indoors. Please observe signage displayed at the venue with regard to distancing, traffic flow etc. and keep appropriate distance when not dancing.

Where there are two lessons or sessions on the same night, there will be 10-15 minutes between lessons to minimise crossover between attendees and allow for high-touch surface cleaning. Please vacate the premises as soon as possible after your lesson to help facilitate this process.

As Swing Patrol hires venues in which to hold our classes and workshops, we must adhere to the CovidSafe Plans of each individual venue. Thus, density requirements, check-in and record keeping procedures, traffic flow and distancing recommendations etc will differ from one location to another. Please observe signage displayed at the venue.

Partner Dancing – While Swing Patrol has received advice from Business Victoria’s Covid Hotline that partner dancing is permitted, we are naturally cautious and understand that many in our community will be too. We are guided by AUSDance’s description of “Recreational Structured Partner Dancing” which is permitted, with partner changing, though distancing should be maintained everywhere else but the “field of play”. ‘Unstructured’ dancing (what we call “social dancing”) is currently not permitted.

As of early March 2021, we are still determining whether to resume classes and workshops with a mandate of “BYO Dance Partner” and no changing partners during class, which is the opposite of the inclusive, friendly, social style of class we have always held. A decision will be made and advised closer to the date of re-opening.

    • ** When operating as “BYO Dance Partner”, online registrations will be for Pair Passes only (1 Lead + 1 Follow). Your dance partner does not have to be your spouse, your relative, your housemate or best friend – only someone that you are comfortable partner dancing with in this class.
    • ** When operating as “no partner required, changing partners throughout class”, online registration will be for Leads, Follows, and Pairs. We will strictly monitor registrations in order to keep a careful balance of Leads and Follows, for optimum learning. Experience shows Follow places sell quickly, so if you are able to register with a dance partner (maybe a previous classmate or someone you danced with pre-Covid) please do, so that individual tickets are left available for those who are unable to connect with another.

Of course if people BYO partner and don’t wish to join the rotation, that’s fine, they will be issued a sticker to identify them as not participating in the partner-changing, so as to avoid confusion during class.

Depending on the venue layout and number of attendees, Teachers may organise the class into “mini bubbles”, eg. 3 or 4 pairs who rotate only among themselves, to minimise contact with the wider group. Teachers may also adjust the orientation of the class, for example into lines instead of a large circle.

What about social dancing? – AUSDance’s description of “Recreational Structured Partner Dancing” refers to the sort of dancing we do in classes and workshops, where dancing is guided by instructors and there is more structure and control. ‘Unstructured’ dancing (what we call “social dancing”) is currently not permitted. Therefore, Swing Patrol will not be running social dancing activities (eg. Fun Pit, Club Maxie’s, Swing Balls and events) for the time being.

Everyone – Swing Patrol management, teachers and students – should adhere to DHHS guidelines with regard to testing, isolating, reporting and quarantining. All members of the community should continue to monitor DHHS announcements on current restriction levels, exposure sites etc. coronavirus.vic.gov.au

To view Swing Patrol’s COVIDSafe Plan, download via the link below:

Swing Patrol Dance Group COVIDSafe Plan (Melbourne)_13042021_for display