Concerns about Covid 19


Concerns about Covid 19

CONCERNS

  • What exactly do the regulations say about an activity like SCD? The groups who are back dancing don’t all seem to be following the same rules regarding separation and touching.
  • If COVID is “droplet spread” how can we be allowed to dance with a partner, or in a set where people are panting and facing each other? People are not even allowed to sing in some churches and choirs, and only the bride and groom can dance at a wedding.
  • Police have reportedly been making unannounced inspections at some community activities – would our classes be seen as OK? Who would be liable if they are not – the venue, the teacher, the Branch or individual dancers?
  • The majority of dancers who attend Adelaide classes are in the moderate to high-risk age group for death or long term side effects from COVID. Shouldn’t we be extra cautious?
  • I mix with other groups, go shopping, see my grandchildren etc. Given that I could catch the virus and be symptom free, what is my responsibility to other dancers? 
  • If someone who has the virus but is symptom-free could be at a class or an event, are the precautions being taken enough to keep me safe?

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

Whilst some classes have recommenced, there continues to be doubt amongst a number of teachers and dancers about the validity of SCD activity.  Prior to classes recommencing, relevant teachers sought advice from the Covid 19 Hotline, consulted with their usual dancers, and made decisions accordingly.  Sharon has rung the COVID hotline on behalf of the committee and we can confirm that SCD classes are defined as (Indoor) Sports and Fitness activity, and are allowable under the current determination for South Australia, including touching of hands during the course of a dance.  Masks are not mandatory in South Australia, and it is up to each individual to make their own decisions about whether they are ready to participate in Scottish Country Dancing again.  For those who do, classes are complying with the requirements and taking necessary steps to minimise the risk of Covid 19 spreading.

In answer to the specific questions reported in the recent Reel Spiel, we provide the following:

  • What exactly do the regulations say about an activity like SCD? The groups who are back dancing don’t all seem to be following the same rules regarding separation and touching.

According to the current determinations in force in South Australia, Scottish Country Dancing is defined as Sports and Fitness (which includes indoor contact sports such as martial arts). This has been confirmed during the discussion with the hotline and a police officer. You can read further information on activities and Covid safety requirements.

Essentially, this requires SCD classes and events to:

  • have a Covid Safe Plan
  • density of 1 person per 2 m 2
  • take reasonable steps to maintain 1.5 m physical distancing when practical
  • maintain contact tracing records
  • have a Covid Marshal.

Each class has its own Covid Safe Plan in place to reflect the individual requirements of the venue space being used.  

The Branch is yet to finalise a Covid Safe Plan as no Branch Classes nor events have been held since March 2020.


  • If COVID is “droplet spread” how can we be allowed to dance with a partner, or in a set where people are panting and facing each other? People are not even allowed to sing in some churches and choirs, and only the bride and groom can dance at a wedding.

As of 9 September 2020, the COVID 19 SA Hotline and SAPOL both confirmed that Scottish Country Dancing is allowable as a Sports and Fitness activity for up to 200 people maximum, provided each class has a Covid Safe Plan in place, a Covid Marshal to ensure that the plan is followed, and that reasonable steps to ensure social distancing are taken when not dancing.  Touching of hands during the course of dancing was specifically discussed, and again the advice was that in the course of the fitness action (ie the dancing) that is not considered a breach of the determination.  

The Government's main concerns in terms of reducing the risk of spreading the virus appear to focus on events and venues where food and alcohol is available and consumed.  This is not relevant to SCD classes.

In relation to singing, the Health advice is:

  • Singing increases the distance that droplets from the mouth can travel and spread, so spacing people more than 1.5 metres apart is advised when singing. 
  • Avoid singing together as a congregation. Consider designating one person, or a very small group of people who can maintain physical distancing, to sing at gatherings.   

Singing is not prohibited and panting, unless we’re really unfit, is not the same as a singer projecting a strong airstream.  In addition, since 29 June 2020,  South Australia allowed inter-school choirs, bands and performing arts activities to recommence.


  • Police have reportedly been making unannounced inspections at some community activities – would our classes be seen as OK? Who would be liable if they are not – the venue, the teacher, the Branch or individual dancers?

Again, as of 9 September 2020, advice from both the COVID 19 SA Hotline and the SAPOL officer is that Scottish Country Dancing is allowable as an Indoor Sports and Fitness activity for up to 200 people maximum.  This has been the case since Monday 29 June 2020.  The Social Distancing Sergeant confirmed that if SAPOL did visit an SCD class, normal SCD activity would be seen as OK, including taking of hands during a dance.


  • The majority of dancers who attend Adelaide classes are in the moderate to high-risk age group for death or long term side effects from COVID. Shouldn’t we be extra cautious?

Whilst the demographic of our dancers is predominantly senior in age, current determinations do not restrict people from attending an SCD activity which follows the Determination's requirements.  Again, any decision about your participation in SCD, as with other defined activities, is a personal one for each individual to make.


  • I mix with other groups, go shopping, see my grandchildren etc. Given that I could catch the virus and be symptom free, what is my responsibility to other dancers? 

Your responsibility to other dancers is essentially the same as your responsibility to the whole community.  To protect the community in South Australia, density requirements are in place. The total number of people at a place must not exceed 1 person per 2 square metres.  Physical distancing, or social distancing principles apply. Every person should attempt to stay at least 1.5 metres from other members of the public. However, this does not apply to people who live together, who are friends or family members, or people who regularly associate with each other.

 Dance classes have Covid Safe Plans in place which must be followed, which contain provisions such as:

  • not sharing drinks and using only your own drink bottle;
  • not hugging or shaking hands to greet each other;
  • washing or sanitising hands on arrival at class, between each dance, and before leaving class.


  • If someone who has the virus but is symptom-free could be at a class or an event, are the precautions being taken enough to keep me safe? 

Classes are taking precautions in accordance with their Covid-Safe Plans, eg:

  • not attending class when you have a temperature or are feeling unwell (for any reason), and to immediately leave a class if they start feeling unwell during it;
  • not attending class whilst awaiting the results of any Covid test, and not re-attending until a negative result is received;
  • providing your name and contact details on a Contact Tracing Record, should health authorities identify a Covid positive case and need to trace their contacts.

Since March 2020, there have been 9 known cases of community transmission of Covid 19 in South Australia, and no such recent cases. Whilst there is still a risk of contracting the virus, that risk is currently minimal in South Australia.  Again, it is a personal decision as to what activities you attend and whether you consider the precautions taken at those activities and venues are adequate to keep you safe.

 

Read the current full determination re Covid 19 for South Australia.

If you are an older dancer and are unsure about what to do, maybe refer to the SA Government's Fact Sheet.

In closing, I would like to reiterate that, while teachers are taking great care with their classes, no activity with other people is guaranteed to be free of the risk of infection and it is up to each individual to make their own choice about attending any SCD class or other activity.

 If you require further information about this issue, please contact me on  npope@bigpond.net.au, or Sharon Vincin (Liaison Officer) on svincin@gmail.com

 

Best wishes,

Neville Pope

President

RSCDS Adelaide and Districts Branch


10 September 2020