Safety Guidelines
August 2020


PSA Safety Guidelines

Format: PDF


We believe that arts programs are more vital than ever, given their ability to support the social and emotional wellbeing of students in this time of great change and trauma. It is so important that we be able to offer quality arts education both virtually and in person as soon as possible. We have reviewed multiple guides, studies, and expert resources and synthesized them into a series of safety parameters for the reopening of Paramount School of the Arts. This document offers our own safety guidelines we are following at this time so that we can continue to provide meaningful arts education experiences for our students in the COVID-19 era. It represents the best guidance available at the time of writing. However, we know that this is an everchanging situation and will revise guidelines as necessary.

These guidelines are in addition to Aurora Civic Center Authority’s General Phase 4 Restore Illinois Guidelines. Please contact school director Jessica M. Duplessis with any questions or concerns via email at

There is a global pandemic as a result of which numerous cases of the novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”) have been confirmed throughout the United States, including in the State of Illinois and the City of Aurora. Infection with COVID-19 can result in serious illness and death. There is currently no known treatment to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and no known cure for infections and illness arising therefrom. Various federal, state, local and other agencies and authorities have issued rules, orders, guidance and protocols to prevent and minimize the spread of COVID-19 and infections arising therefrom. The Aurora Civic Center Authority or “ACCA” (parent organization to the Paramount School of the Arts) has engaged in and continues to engage in good faith efforts to comply with all applicable directives to ensure the safety of its staff, students, the public and others present on and utilizing ACCA’s facilities and services.

ACCA, its staff, students, the public and others present on and utilizing ACCA’s facilities and services should recognize the importance of complying with the applicable directives to minimize the risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus and that each has a role to play in minimizing this risk. All should recognize and acknowledge that notwithstanding compliance with all applicable directives, there remains a risk of the spread of COVID-19 and of infection, illness and death arising therefrom.

We will rely on parents and guardians of students to make informed and cautious decisions about the safety to return to Paramount School of the Arts. We ask all students and families to consider not only their student and extended family, but also other PSA students and staff when considering whether they should attend a class. We have put in place several new policies to do everything in our power to make PSA as safe as possible.

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Recognize Signs and Symptoms


  • Follow ACCA Phase 4 Reopening procedures for daily self-assessment for staff members.
  • We will conduct daily health checks (e.g., temperature screening and symptom checking) of staff and students safely and respectfully, and in accordance with any applicable privacy laws and regulations.
    • If not feasible, we will have students and staff self-report any symptoms.
    • We require staff who are screening for fever to wear appropriate PPE to keep themselves and those being screened safe.

When considering a return to in-person classes, please consider the checklist below.

  • The student or household member has underlying medical conditions and vulnerabilities
  • The student or household member has had a recent illness or symptoms suggestive of COVID-19
  • The student or household member has had contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19
  • The student or a household member has recently socialized with a large group of people without maintaining social distancing and/or wearing masks
  • The student or a household member has been diagnosed with COVID-19
  • The student or a household member have recently traveled to a state or country with high infection rates within the last 14 days

If you checked any of the boxes above, we ask that you follow strict quarantine and testing guidelines before returning to PSA. If you checked the first box, please be aware of the risk and contact school director Shannon Cameron with any needed accommodations/modifications beyond stated procedures below.

Students may return to school after COVID-19 illness or exposure to COVID-19 illness if:

  • You are 3 days with no fever, and
  • Your symptoms improved, and
  • It has been 10 days since symptoms first appeared, and
  • You have received 2 negative test results in a row, at least 24 hours apart
  • If you have tested positive but have no symptoms and continue to have no symptoms, you can be with others after:
    • 10 days have passed since test
    • 2 negative test results in a row, at least 24 hours apart
  • For any student who has been around a person with COVID-19, it is important to remember that anyone who has close contact with someone with COVID-19 should stay home for 14 days after exposure based on the time it takes to develop illness.

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Procedure for Students or Staff with Symptoms


Students or staff who have symptoms of COVID-19 or are feeling unwell in any way will be sent home and/or isolated from others. If a student or staff member cannot leave the school right away, that student or staff member will be isolated in a designated classroom for isolation until the staff or student can be taken home. Guardians will be notified that their child is complaining of concerning symptoms and asked to pick up their student as soon as possible. PSA will not transport students. If the parent/guardian would like the student to
be transported by ambulance or if the situation is severe enough to need it, the school will call 911 and alert the paramedics that the ill person has COVID-19-like symptoms.

We will close off areas used by a sick person and will not use these areas until after proper cleaning and disinfecting (for outdoor areas, this includes surfaces or shared objects in the area, if applicable).

In accordance with state and local laws and regulations, ACCA staff will notify the Kane County Health Department, staff, and families immediately of any case of COVID-19 while maintaining confidentiality in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

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Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette


Education management and staff will educate everyone in the school about COVID-19 prevention. This includes appropriate and frequent hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, how to wear a mask, symptoms of COVID-19, and what to do if you feel sick.

  • Teachers will instruct and reinforce handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and increase monitoring to ensure adherence among students and staff.
  • Hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol can be used (for staff and older children who can safely use hand sanitizer) in addition to handwashing areas.
  • Hand sanitizing stations will be located throughout the school. Hand sanitizer will also be available in every classroom.
  • Students and staff will be required to wash hands thoroughly when entering the school and when leaving.
  • Students and staff will be asked to wash their hands every hour.
  • Education management will encourage staff and students to cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue. If a tissue is unavailable, staff and students will be encouraged to sneeze into their elbow. Used tissues should be thrown in the trash, and hands washed immediately with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol can be used (for staff and older students who can safely use hand sanitizer).
  • Hand sanitizer, tissues, and a trashcan will be available in every classroom.

Cloth Face Coverings

Education staff will teach and reinforce the use of cloth face coverings when inside the building. Face coverings should be worn by staff and students (particularly older students) as feasible and are most essential in times when physical distancing is difficult. Click here for information on proper use, removal, and washing of cloth face coverings.

  • Note: Cloth face coverings should not be placed on:
    • Babies or children younger than 2 years old
    • Anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious
    • Anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cover without help

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Maintaining Healthy Environments


Cleaning and Disinfection

  • PSA will clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces (e.g., dance barres, door handles, sink handles, drinking fountains) within the school.
  • Student belongings will be separated from others’ and in individually labeled containers, cubbies, or areas.
  • Use of shared objects (e.g., art supplies, games) will be limited or cleaned between use.
  • Kindermusik classes will separate all instruments, scarves, etc. so that there is a labeled basket for each family to use. Items will be disinfected after each class.
  • All lunch items should be single-use and disposed of after consumption.
  • Students should bring their own pencil, folder, and water bottle and limit large backpacks and items note necessary for camp or class.
  • Adequate supplies will be provided to minimize sharing of high-touch materials to the extent possible (e.g., we will assign art supplies or other equipment to a single student), or limit use of supplies and equipment to one group of students at a time and clean and
    disinfect between use.
  • Sharing of electronic devices, toys, books, and other games or learning aids will be avoided.

Water Systems

  • Drinking fountains will be cleaned and sanitized, but staff and students must bring their own water to minimize use and touching of water fountains.
  • Bottle filler functionality will remain on water fountains, but spout will be turned off if possible or marked as unusable.

Modified Layouts

  • No classes that require “physical or vocal exertion” are allowed in Phase 4. We interpret that as no dance or singing at this time.
  • Non-contact greetings will be required.
  • Space seating at least 6 feet apart will be enforced.
  • We will use largest classrooms available for both group and private lessons.
  • We have limited class size based on local guidelines (15 students or less).
  • We have prioritized outdoor activities where social distancing can be maintained as much as possible.
  • No performances will have audiences until it can be safely achieved following state guidelines. Performances may be streamed online for families if possible.

Physical Barriers and Guides

  • ACCA staff will install physical barriers, such as sneeze guards and partitions, particularly in areas where it is difficult for individuals to remain at least 6 feet apart (e.g., reception desks).
  • School management will provide physical guides, such as tape on floors or sidewalks and signs on walls, to ensure that staff and students remain at least 6 feet apart in lines and at other times (e.g., guides for creating “one-way routes” in hallways).

Communal Spaces

  • Parent lounges and lockers will be closed, and no family or visitor will be allowed to linger in the building at this time.
  • Bathrooms should have no more than 2 people using the stalls or at the sink at a time.

Food Service

  • Students/staff bring their own meals/snacks and eat in separate areas or with their smaller group, instead of parent lounge. Students may have to eat in classroom or at Millennium Plaza.
  • Students and staff must bring their own disposable food service items (utensils, dishes) and in a disposable container that can be thrown away at the end of lunch.
  • If food is offered at any event, pre-packaged boxes or bags will be provided for each attendee instead of a buffet or family-style meal. Avoid sharing of foods and utensils and ensure the safety of children with food allergies.

Outdoor Activities and Classes

  • Class schedule will be configured to minimize interaction between classes.
  • Outdoor fitness classes will have a maximum of 50 students.
  • Outdoor Kindermusik classes will have a maximum of 8 enrollments (16 people).
  • Signage and markings will be placed on the ground to maintain appropriate 6 feet of social distancing.
  • Students will need to provide their own mats, water bottles, towels, etc.
  • Masks must be worn at all times by students and staff except during class time when social distancing is in place. Masks should not be worn by children ages 2 or under or people with disabilities that make it unsafe to wear a mask.

Identifying Small Groups and Keeping Them Together (Cohorting)

  • We will keep students together in small groups with dedicated staff and make sure they remain with the same group throughout the day, every day.
  • Mixing between groups will be limited as much as possible.

Staggered Scheduling

  • We will stagger arrival and drop-off times or locations by cohort (group) or put in place other protocols to limit contact between cohorts and with other students’ guardians as much as possible.

Gatherings, Visitors and Field Trips

  • We will avoid group events, gatherings, or meetings where social distancing of at least 6 feet between people cannot be maintained. We will also limit group size to the extent possible.
  • We will restrict any nonessential visitors, volunteers, and activities involving external groups or organizations as much as possible.
  • We will avoid activities and events such as field trips and special performances.

Communication Systems

  • Consistent with applicable law and privacy policies, staff and families will need to self-report to the school administrators if they have symptoms of COVID-19, a positive test for COVID-19, or were exposed to someone with COVID-19 within the last 14 days in accordance with health information sharing regulations for COVID-19 and other applicable privacy and confidentiality laws and
  • We will notify staff and families of camp/school closures and restrictions in place to limit COVID-19 exposure (e.g., limited hours of operation) as directed by Kane County Health Department.

Sharing Facilities

  • Any organizations that share or use the school facilities will be required to also follow these considerations.

Support Coping and Resilience

  • Encourage employees and students to take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories about COVID-19, including social media if they are feeling overwhelmed or distressed.
  • Promote employees and students to eat healthy, exercise, get plenty of sleep, and find time to unwind.
  • Encourage employees and students to talk with people they trust about their concerns and how they are feeling.

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