COVID-19 Response Plan

Last updated: February 21st, 2021

Esh Circus Arts is committed to the safety and health of our staff, students, and community. We have therefore developed a comprehensive plan for reopening the studio based on the standards set forth in the State of Massachusetts’ Reopening Plan as well as the latest public health information and research on safety and COVID-19. We will be following all relevant guidelines for operating during this time in addition to other protocols we are voluntarily putting into place that are specific to Esh and to circus. We are continuing to monitor the latest developments and research regarding this virus, and will update our protocols as it becomes necessary based on new information.

We are looking forward to welcoming our students back to the studio and spending some time upside down! We know that we cannot fully eliminate the risk of COVID-19 from our studio, and that the danger from this pandemic is still present. We have worked hard to reduce the risk to our staff and students as much as possible, and to make Esh as safe as it can be. In circus we often talk about risk mitigation. Our goal in responding to COVID-19 is to take as many harm reduction and risk mitigation measures as we can, communicate clearly about these new policies and procedures, and support the members of our staff and community in making the best choices for themselves about when is the best time to return to circus.

Esh coaches will continue to teach flexibility, contortion, handstands, juggling, ballet barre, dance, and some conditioning classes online for quite a while, so you can continue with online circus if that is the right choice for you! Our community is greater than our physical space. 

For those returning to in-person classes: Many things about our day-to-day operations at Esh will be different than they were before, but our commitment to offering world-class circus instruction in a welcoming space remains. We are excited to welcome you back and learn together how we can teach and learn circus in our new circumstances.

Please read the following policies carefully and come to the studio prepared to comply. It is up to all of us to keep each other safe, and these procedures require cooperation from our entire community. If you have any questions, please reach out to the management team at info@eshcircusarts.com.

All students must sign the Esh Circus Arts COVID-19 Safety Agreement & Assumption of Risk before coming to the studio. 

Students are encouraged to take their temperature and self-assess for symptoms of COVID-19 before they arrive. Any student who has a temperature of greater than 100.5, who has exhibited any potential COVID-19 symptoms, or who has come into contact with someone exhibiting symptoms within the last 14 days will not be permitted to train that day and should stay home. Students should not return to the studio until it is safe to do so per CDC guidelines.

Staff members will similarly monitor for symptoms and do temperature checks each day. Staff members will also be tested for active COVID-19 every two weeks through community testing programs sponsored by Somerville, Cambridge, Boston, and surrounding cities. No staff member who tests positive for COVID-19 or who comes into contact with a person who has tested positive within the last 14 days will return to work until it is safe to do so per CDC guidelines. 

Everyone must wear a mask or face covering at all times in the studio. In accordance with the most recent guidance from the CDC on mask-wearing, students ages 16+ must wear a three-layer mask or double-mask while in the studio. Students ages 15 and under must wear at least a double-layer cloth mask.

  • All masks must have a good fit. A good fit means that there is no gapping of the mask from your face where your nose meets your cheek, and the mask is held snug against the sides of your face and under your chin. Both your mouth and nose should be covered at all times while in the studio (unless drinking water as needed, away from other students).
  • Students ages 16+ must wear one of the following:
    • Three-layer mask OR a mask that has a double layer of cloth and a nanofilter layer such as a HALOmask or Happy Mask.
    • An N95, KF94, or KN95 mask.
    • Two Mask Solution: Wear a surgical mask under a double-layered cloth mask. Esh has surgical masks available at the front desk for students who need a second mask to wear under the standard double-layered cloth masks we previously required. We are asking for a $1 donation if you use a surgical mask from our collection. You can then save the mask for use at your next class as long as you store it safely between classes!
    • Note: Why not only a 3-ply surgical mask? Because they usually don’t have a good enough fit.

We know that wearing masks will change the way that circus feels, but it is the best and most effective way that we have of reducing transmission of the virus via airborne droplets. Coaches will take the use of masks into account and plan lesson and class content and flow accordingly. If you are unable to wear a mask due to a medical concern, please contact us at info@eshcircusarts.com prior to registering for an activity so we can make a safety plan together.

Esh has purchased a large amount of disinfectant spray that is EPA approved to kill the virus that causes COVID-19. In addition, we have stocked up on alcohol-based liquid hand sanitizer (80%+ SDA-40b Alcohol) and purchased several new touchless sanitizer dispensers that are placed in strategic locations throughout the studio. All bathrooms are well-stocked with paper towels and unscented hand soap. Staff has been trained on the proper use of these cleaning products, and will be cleaning and disinfecting the space and all items in it on a regular schedule dictated by use. Esh staff will maintain a log of all cleanings. Everyone who comes to Esh will be asked to wash their hands with soap and water upon arrival and to use sanitizer frequently during their time in the studio. We have hung new signage in the studio to help remind everyone who visits of our cleaning and disinfection procedures, help folks find hand sanitizer stations, and give instructions on keeping the studio safe and clean. 

No staff or students will be sharing equipment in the studio, and apparatuses will be either disinfected immediately or isolated for an appropriate amount of time before being used again to allow any residual potential viral contamination to die. Instead of using shared bins for rosin and chalk, we will have individual containers of rosin for each student that will be then isolated before being used again. Chalk will be distributed in individual balls to each student when they arrive for class, and returned when class is over.

Below is a list of cleaning procedures for various items in the studio. All cleaning activities are logged per state requirements.

  • High touch surfaces in the lobby, studio, and bathrooms: Disinfected by staff at regular intervals throughout the day.
  • Lobby cubbies: Disinfected after every use by students.
  • Crash mats and panel mats: Disinfected by staff after each use.
  • Apparatuses: Esh is using a system of labeled bins for items that need to be isolated for a specific amount of time. Bins will be labeled by days of the week and once fabric or ropes have been placed in them they will not be opened until 24 hours have passed. (The state of MA requires a 24 hour isolation period between uses for this type of equipment.)
    • Cyr wheels: Disinfected immediately after each use with disinfectant wipes.
    • Trapezes: Pulled away and isolated for 24 hours.
    • Aerial hoops: Disinfected after each use with disinfectant wipes.
    • Span sets on aerial hoops: Derigged immediately, placed in a labeled bin, and isolated for 24 hours between uses.
    • Aerial ropes: Derigged immediately after use, placed in a labeled bin, and isolated for 24 hours between uses.
    • Aerial fabric: Derigged immediately after use, placed in a labeled bin, and isolated for 24 hours between uses OR derigged immediately and laundered before next use. 
    • Aerial straps:  Derigged immediately after use, placed in a labeled bin, and isolated for 24 hours between uses OR derigged immediately and laundered before next use. 
    • Tight wire and walking pipe: Disinfected after each use with disinfectant wipes.
  • Yoga blocks, foam rollers, juggling equipment, and other props: Disinfected after each use by staff with disinfecting spray or wipes.
  • Floors
    • Grover: Steam cleaned regularly.
    • Handstand area floor: Mopped and cleaned each day by staff.
    • Bathroom floors: Mopped and cleaned each day by staff. 
    • Other floors: Mopped and cleaned each day by staff.

We have reduced studio occupancy to allow for ample distancing between all students and staff. All lessons, point rentals, training sessions, and classes are scheduled in Amilia to allow us to track how many people are in the space at all times. Students must pre-register for classes or lessons before arriving. Private lessons will be assigned to specific aerial points or floor space when they are booked. Start and end times will be staggered to allow for physical distancing in the lobby and to prevent bottlenecks at exit or entry points and other high traffic areas.

Observers and guests are not permitted to come to Esh to watch classes from the lobby or inside the studio. Friends or family members who may be driving students to lessons or picking them up must wait outside the studio.

Students will be physically spaced in the studio to allow for ample space of six feet or more between student and coach and from others in the space, including spacing from high traffic areas such as the lobby door and around the bathrooms. We have marked off on the floor near all aerial points to make it easy to keep appropriate distance.

We will not be using adjacent aerials points simultaneously. When a point is in use, the point to either side of it may not be used.

Warm-ups will be designed to take place while maintaining physical distance, and with students remaining in one place rather than moving throughout the studio.

No physical cuing or spotting is permitted during lessons, except in emergency situations. Lesson content will be chosen to minimize the likelihood that emergency spotting will be required. 

It is the responsibility of everyone who enters the space to ensure that they maintain physical distancing. We are trusting and counting on students and staff alike to be aware and mindful of where they are in relation to others in the studio, and make adjustments if necessary to keep everyone safe.

In early 2019 Esh installed a new air conditioner and air handler system that services the main studio space. In response to concerns over COVID-19 transmission, we have installed an ionization air purification filter that has been proven effective against pathogens, including viruses. As air is being pumped through the air handler it will pass through the new filter. Even on days when the AC isn’t running, we will run the air handler so the air in the space is being filtered. We will use this system in addition to having the garage doors and back door open to increase ventilation whenever air conditioning is not running. Because of this, we have good capacity to keep air moving effectively through the studio. 

This system does not cover the lobby area, but does cover the entire studio area. Right now, the lobby is a place to store belongings and pass through when entering or exiting the studio, but is not a place where anyone will be spending any extended amount of time. To help with ventilation in the lobby, windows will be open whenever possible to allow air to circulate. 

All lessons, training times, and classes will be scheduled in Amilia to allow Esh to have a complete and accurate record of who is in the studio and when. If we learn from a student or staff member that they have tested positive for COVID-19, we will work with the local Department of Health to immediately inform everyone who was present in the studio at the same time. 

Esh has also developed a plan, per CDC guidelines, to isolate and transport anyone who becomes sick while at the studio, inform relevant local health officials, and handle disinfection of the studio space.

©2020 ESH CIRCUS ARTS