20 per studio classroom, rather than 20 per premises - if deemed safe.

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With "Stage 2" approaching in most states, the dance education industry is soon to reopen. There are thousands of dancing schools across Australia, with hundreds of thousands of young dancers who are keen to get back to their dance training. 

When we reopen, in line with Stage 2 of the Covid-Safe plan, we want to be able to have 20 students per studio classroom (if the space is large enough to support the 4 square metre per person rule) - as opposed to 20 students per premises, which in my opinion would not make sense for dance academies that have (for example) 4 large separate enclosed dance studios.  

A maximum of 20 per premises would make reopening almost impossible for most dance studios. Choosing which students could have their lessons and which couldn’t, would be unfair. If cinemas are allowed to have 20 per cinema, rather than 20 per cineplex, then I wonder if the same could apply to us. 

Especially considering the following:
- Our participants are children
- Dance is non-contact
- Social distancing can be maintained
- There is minimal equipment 
- We provide performing arts education
- We can arrange start and finish times to avoid any crowding in foyers and hallways
- We only provide services to "enrolled" students, which means we have record and contact details of all participants, so tracing and tracking is easier than many other business types

The fact that as dance schools, our students are typically ages 2 to 17, and that this is a demographic that the health authorities have publically informed us are least prone to spreading Covid-19, should be highlighted. 

My concern and fear is that a decision be made without fully understanding the nature of dance studios, so that accurate risk assessment can be undertaken, rather than lumping us in with other industries that don’t have the same physical conditions at their business premises (like gyms, indoor sports centres, gymnastics centres, swimming pools etc.)

As an industry, we as dance educators want to do everything we can to reopen our studios safely and with our students' health and wellbeing as our number one priority. For over 2 months now, we have been closed, but that has given dance school principals time to plan for extra measures for a safe post-Covid return, including :

- Taping out the floor of the rooms, to help kids social distance
- Putting sanitizer stations outside each classroom
- Altering timetables to avoid busy class crossover times
- Extra training for our teachers and staff
- Removing handheld props from our curriculum
- Limiting adults allowed onsite to teachers and staff only

Ultimately, all that we are asking is to have our unique industry looked at on its individual merits, based on a true understanding of the nature of our operations and situation, so that when the relevant authorities decide that it is time for us to reopen, we could have the maximum rule of 20 apply to each fully enclosed studio classroom, rather than to the premises as a whole. 

Please sign this petition if you would also like to see the dance education industry assessed individually from gyms and indoor recreation centres.