COVID Protocols

ChoralArt COVID Health and Safety Protocols

Fall 2022 (updated 9-1-22)

 

As you are aware, the COVID-19 Omicron variants continue to be circulating in our community. These variants are significantly more transmissible than earlier variants, but on average they are causing less severe illness in those who are fully vaccinated and boosted.

 

Beginning in September, we will resume our Masterworks rehearsals to prepare for performing Carmina Burana in September and the Verdi Requiem in October, as well as our Singers rehearsals for Christmas at the Cathedral in December.  Doing this as safely as possible will depend on everyone’s attention to detail:  self-screening for symptoms, being mindful of personal exposure risk, and following the recommended protocols.  Please review our updated COVID-19 safety recommendations below.

 

Mitigation Strategies

 

  • All participants will be required to be fully vaccinated and have at least one booster vaccination dose. At this time, a second and third booster are encouraged but not required.

 

  • All singers, conductor, pianist, organist, instrumentalists and staff must wear a properly fitting mask at rehearsals. Masks may be a KN95, N95, KF94 or surgical mask. Cloth masks of any kind are not allowed, unless they are worn in addition to one of the required masks. The correct way to layer is to use the surgical or other mask as the inner layer and the cloth mask as the outer layer, in order to provide a better seal overall. Singers masks may be used if they have a MERV filter or a filter insert comparable to one of the accepted masks.

 

  • For Carmina Burana, singers, conductor, pianist, organist, instrumentalists will be able to perform without masks at the Friday night rehearsal and Saturday dress rehearsal and at the performances but must perform a rapid antigen test within 1-2 hours prior to each occurrence.

 

  • For Verdi Requiem, singers, conductor, pianist, orchestra will be able to perform without masks at the Friday night rehearsal and Saturday dress rehearsal and at the Sunday and Tuesday performances but must perform a rapid antigen test within 1-2 hours prior to each occurrence.

 

  • For Christmas at the Cathedral, singers, conductor, pianist, organist, instrumentalists will be able to perform without masks at the Thursday night rehearsal and Saturday and Sunday performances but must perform a rapid antigen test within 1-2 hours prior to each occurrence.

 

  • All have the option of wearing masks at the above dress rehearsals and performances for personal reasons.

 

  • A self-assessment questionnaire regarding symptoms and contacts will be set out at the entrance to the rehearsals and performances. Each participant will be asked to sign in at rehearsals and performances verifying their self-assessment, their testing negative for specified rehearsals and performances, and will be useful for contact tracing.

 

  • There will be a Safety Officer at rehearsals to help ensure that protocols are being effectively followed.

 

The Safety Officers are Ann Elderkin (annelderkin@gmail.com, C: 207-712-3957)

and Sarah Bailey (snbailey78@gmail.com, C: 207-890-4591)

 

`               If you have questions or concerns about how things are going or being done, please direct those comments toward Ann or Sarah.  They will be raised to the committee level as needed.

 

  • Please limit socializing before, during and after rehearsal. This affects our ability to accurately contact trace if needed. We recommend that you arrive with enough time to use the restroom as needed, get comfortable and be ready to sing at your assigned seat at 7PM.

 

  • Singers will carefully adhere to the seating arrangement without deviation. Seats will be arranged to maintain at least 3 feet between each singer, to the greatest degree possible. This will be monitored by the Safety Officer.

 

 

COVID Case Response Plan

 

CDC guidelines are available for contact tracing and isolation after COVID illness (cdc.gov).  In general, these will be adopted with a few changes deemed necessary, given the higher transmission risk in the singing environment.

 

The following communication plan will be used whenever a member has concerns about contact, symptoms, or a positive COVID test:

 

  • The participant should contact the Reporting Officer directly to discuss any contact, symptoms, or testing concerns/results around COVID.

 

The Reporting Officer is Sarah Bailey (snbailey78@gmail.com, C: 207-890-4591)

 

  • The Reporting Officer will elevate discussion to the Health and Safety Committee members as required.

 

  • To maintain confidentiality and consistency, any future communication should occur only between the participant and Reporting Officer.

 

  • If contact tracing is necessary, that will occur between the Reporting Officer and the close contacts, maintaining as much confidentiality as possible. Close contacts will be identified by the affected participant, with guidance from the assigned seating chart.

 

As a reminder, the U.S. CDC definition of a close contact is as follows:

 

  • Someone who was less than 6 feet away from infected person, for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. An infected person can spread COVID starting from 2 days before they have any symptoms (or, for asymptomatic people, 2 days before the positive specimen collection date).

 

Close contacts will receive information about when the contact occurred and how to proceed with quarantine and testing.  Any positive test should be reviewed by the participant and their health care provider.  Confidentiality will be maintained as required by state and federal law.

 

 

 

The information provided to close contacts will include the following:

 

  • An individual tested positive on ______ (date).
  • Their infectious period was from ______ (date) to ______ (date).
  • The individual was present at rehearsal/performance on ________.
  • Further instructions will be provided for contact tracing.

 

A general statement will be sent out to those in attendance at a rehearsal or performance that an individual has been diagnosed with COVID and contact tracing is underway.

 

If testing is recommended, ChoralArt will reimburse you if needed. If you are unable to obtain a test, due to availability or cost concerns, please contact Ann Elderkin, (annelderkin@gmail.com, C: 207-712-3957).

 

  • Participants are encouraged to obtain Rapid Antigen Tests for COVID to have available if needed. Free COVID tests are available from the following site:

 

  • Rockefeller Foundation program provides 5 free COVID tests per month to households in selected rural states, including Maine:  https://accesscovidtests.org/

 

  • PARTICIPANTS IN CONTACT TRACING PROTOCOL: A partial return to rehearsal for close contacts can occur immediately but the participant should sit away from other singers and not sing, and continue to wear a mask. The participant may return to full participation/singing after a negative test on day 5. If the participant develops symptoms, they should get a test and stay home.

 

  • PARTICIPANTS WITH COVID and no Paxlovid treatment

partial return to rehearsal (defined as sitting away from other singers and not singing) can occur between days 5 and 10 after a COVID infection.  Returning to full participation can occur after day 10.  If the participant has a fever, they should continue to stay home until their fever resolves for at least 24 hours.

 

  • PARTICIPANTS WITH COVID receiving Paxlovid treatment

Because there is a possibility of rebound infection occurring 3-8 days following completion of Paxlovid treatment, the participant has 2 options:

 

  1. Refrain from all rehearsals until after the 8thday following a 5-day course of treatment, then have a negative rapid test 1-2 hours before return to full participation.  This option requires less testing but would require the participant to be absent for a longer period of time.

 

OR

 

  1. Have a partial returnbetween days 5 and 10 after initial symptoms but must have a negative rapid test 1-2 hours before rehearsal;  A full return may occur after day 10 but the participant must have a negative rapid test 1-2 hours before rehearsal.

 

 

 

 

 

Protocols for Guest Singers for Carmina Burana

 

High School Choruses – Singers from high school choruses will participate under the same protocols as Masterworks Singers from ChoralArt:

  • They must be vaccinated and boosted (as eligible).
  • They must be must test negative for the dress rehearsal and the performance.
  • Masks are optional for rehearsal and performance. If they choose to wear a mask for rehearsal, it is presumed that they will choose to wear it in performance.
  • High School Chorus Directors will be asked to verify that their singers have all tested negative each day, and will sign in affirming that. Some directors may choose to verify with parents each day that their student has tested negative.

 

Portland Community Chorus – Singers from Portland Community Chorus will participate under the same protocols as Masterworks singers from ChoralArt:

  • They must be vaccinated and boosted (as eligible).
  • They must test negative for the dress rehearsal and the performance.
  • Masks are optional for rehearsal and performance. If they choose to wear a mask for rehearsal, it is presumed that they will choose to wear it in performance.
  • A self-assessment questionnaire regarding symptoms and contacts will be set out at the entrance to the rehearsals and performances. Each participant will be asked to sign in at rehearsals and performances verifying their self-assessment, their testing negative for specified rehearsals and performances, and for contact tracing.

 

 

ChoralArt COVID Health and Safety Committee Members:

Ann Elderkin, Chair

Robert Stoddard

Sarah Bailey

Heidi Seitz

Red Sullivan