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Kids’ dance schools CAN open...with restrictions

Kids’ dance schools CAN open...with restrictions

Thursday 21 January 2021

Kids’ dance schools CAN open...with restrictions


Jersey children's dance schools and other children’s activity clubs can reopen, provided there are no more than 10 people in a class, and they take place in a suitable environment, the Government has confirmed.

A spokesperson told Express yesterday: “Ministers have clarified provisions related to children’s clubs and activities groups. These may continue, provided that:

  • there are no more than 10 participants;
  • a responsible person has organised the activity group and ensured it is compliant with public health guidance; AND
  • the activity does not take place in a person's home or a workplace that is closed under the COVID-19 Workplace Restrictions (Jersey) Order 2021. Workplaces that are closed include indoor facilities which are predominately used for recreation which includes sports and exercise, for example, gyms and sports halls.

“Children’s clubs and activities groups are allowed to continue, subject to public health controls, because children are less susceptible to catching covid-19."

They added that “Jersey’s current public health measures will be reviewed regularly in line with the changing covid-19 situation on the island.”

The news comes after 18 dance teachers and dancing school principals came together to campaign for dancing lessons to restart.

In an open letter to the Government, they wrote: “We are aware of many children who have been referred to CAMHS over the last couple of months because of low mood and depression. The waiting list at CAMHS means that initial assessments are not available until June at the earliest.

"Dance is many people's creative outlet, a way to keep fit, that one hour a week to focus on themselves and take away the stresses or pressures of exams, schoolwork or home life.

"We believe that opening our dance schools and other clubs will provide a much-needed boost to their mental health and well-being.”

Rebecca Giulietta, teacher at Étoile Studios and one of the list’s signatories, stated many of the schools had not been told the latest information about guidelines directly from the Government, but rather through the grapevine of other schools.

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Pictured: In an open letter, a collective of dance schools in Jersey described the students as "“the forgotten victims of the unprecedented situation we are currently facing."

Praising her colleagues on their communication, she added that “it’s lucky that we have all the dance teachers in our group chat that we can keep in touch with”, pointing out that mixed messages from the Government’s side had only left “crossed wires” for many of them.

She added that for some teachers like herself, the wait to start up again is still ongoing, as teaching venues they use such as the Arts Centre are still classified as closed under the covid order, and schools are not accepting outside activities not part of their own curriculum.

Studio 16 Principal Alicia Parker, another of the letter signatories, was one of the group who shared the latest clarifications among the dance community after making enquiries to officials.

She agreed that dance schools could be given “better communication” from Government about the rules.

However, in terms of the engagement from the local community, she was full of praise. In particular, she singled out parents for understanding the situation, saying “they’ve been so supportive and understanding, which makes it easier for us.”

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Pictured: Lessons will have to take place under strict social distancing measures and covid precautions, something the dance schools said they were already practicing even before they stopped.

She further added of her fellow dance schools: “I think we’ve all come together over these last two weeks and just helped each other out, which has been lovely.”

She explained that she will be able to resume sessions, and that her teaching going forward will be a mix of splitting classes to keep to the maximum rule of ten, as well as mixing zoom lessons in with the in-person curriculum.

But most of all, she focused on the positive impact she hopes the lessons will have on the children, many of whom have been disheartened waiting for a year and a half to do exams that have now been cancelled twice.

Speaking of the importance of the hobby to those children, she expressed that “dance is an outlet; it’s an extension of a family.”

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