COVID-19 Production Safety Protocols

COVID-19 Production Safety Protocols

Updated: September 7, 2021

INTRODUCTION

The Department of Theatre and Dance is committed to the health and safety of all its students. During the current COVID-19 outbreak, the department is expanding its safety guidelines. Please note that all guidelines are subject to change. All decisions made about in-person activity are approached from a viewpoint of risk management. All participants must understand that any re-engagement that brings them into proximity with other students, staff or faculty increases the possibility of coronavirus transmission. Everyone should evaluate this risk against the potential benefit of their planned production activities. Any individual who feels that they are being asked to carry out unsafe activities or to work under conditions that are unsafe for themselves and others should discuss their concerns with a member of faculty or staff. In-person production activities, including rehearsals or performances may be suspended at any time due to changes in UT or Austin Public Health guidelines. 

GENERAL SAFETY GUIDELINES

Testing

UT Austin will provide free testing to all members of a production prior to any in-person aspects of production. All persons should make an appointment at https://healthyhorns.utexas.edu/coronavirus_proactive_testing.html All students, faculty and staff coming to campus will perform a symptom check every day prior to coming to campus. Students are to self-isolate if any of the following symptoms appear:

  • Fever of at least 100.4F 
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

If students test positive in a test not through University Health Services, they should notify UHS to assist in the contact tracing process and to help in the study of how the virus is spreading. https://www.healthyhorns.utexas.edu/coronavirus_self_report.html.  Any student in quarantine who is well enough to participate in rehearsal remotely will be allowed to do so regardless of testing status (remote only). All students participating in-person will test weekly.

Using the Protect Texas Together App and Activity Pass to Manage Testing 

A cleared designation (green check) in your Activity Pass allows you to attend university-related classes, rehearsals or performances where a negative COVID-19 test is required for the person to be clearned for the activity or class. Download the Protect Texas Together application on your computer or mobile device and follow instructions for Proactive Community Testing (PCT). 

All participants will activate the Activity Pass feature on the Protect Texas Together app. Upon arriving at rehearsal, fitting, crew call, etc, each participant will show a green Activity Pass on their phone to a member of stage management or staff. 

Students have the option to take the saliva test weekly (offered by UHS from 9:00 a.m. - noon) or take the nasal swab every 4 days (available all hours of operation by UHS) to maintain their clearance. If a student chooses the nasal swab option, we recommend testing Mondays and Thursdays or Tuesdays and Fridays to avoid the clearance timing out over the weekend. Testing must be done weekly to maintain activity pass status. 

Vaccination 

Vaccination against COVID-19 is strongly recommended for everyone in the UT community who is eligible. All guidelines stated as part of the Department of Theatre and Dance COVID-19 policy apply to everyone regardless of vaccination status. Learn more about vaccines on campus HERE

No one is required to share vaccination status to participate in classes or rehearsals. 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) 

Updated CDC Guidelines for masking can be found HERE

Social Distancing

As much as possible, a minimum of six feet should be kept from others when not actively performing tasks or rehearsing scenes which require closer contact. 

Hygiene and Disinfecting

Hand sanitizing stations will be available at all building entrances, classrooms, studios and theatres. 

Reference: https://besafe.utexas.edu/coronavirus

PRODUCTION GUIDELINES

In-Person Production Activity

Production activities include but is not limited to auditions, call backs, rehearsals, fittings, crew calls and meetings. All proposed rehearsal calendars must be submitted by email to the department Building Manager or production staff at least two weeks prior to the start of rehearsals. All in-person rehearsals should work to limit attendance to necessary personnel as much as possible. Other than cast, crew, creative team, advisors, administrators and staff of the college, any visitors should be cleared at least one business day in advance with the stage manager and reported to the Building Manager. 

IN-PERSON REHEARSAL PROTOCOLS

General

All UT COVID-19 safety protocols are to be followed at all times. In-person rehearsals should end with enough time for cleaning and disinfecting. Everything will take longer than usual so teams should plan accordingly. All rehearsals must end by 10:00 p.m. and everyone must be released by 10:30 p.m. Sunday in-person rehearsals are only permitted between 12:00-6:00 p.m. If later scheduling is needed, please submit a request to the Building Manager at least two weeks in advance. 

While In The Space

All attendees need to sign in and out per the stage managers’ directive. All attendees must show a green activity pass on the Protect Texas Together app. 

A break of minimum 10 minutes should be taken every hour for fresh air and hand washing; enough time must be made during the break to ensure everyone has time to thoroughly wash their hands prior to rehearsal resuming.

Emergency situations

In the event of an emergency situation (such as an evacuation of the building), students will follow existing emergency procedures until arriving at the evacuation gathering location in front of the SAC. At that time, students, staff and faculty should maintain a distance of six feet between them. 

Props, Etc.

Performers and crew should refrain from touching any prop unless required as part of their duties during rehearsals and performances. 

IN-PERSON TECH AND PERFORMANCE

All previous protocols are to be followed. Tech tables should be placed at least 10 feet apart; occupancy will be determined by the technical director. Equipment should be cleaned and disinfected by production shop staff at the end of each tech and performance. No com is to be shared; headsets and belt packs will be labeled with each person's name. Technical crew will disinfect their own each day.

REFERENCES

Hand Hygiene Recommendations, CDC
Australian Screen Production Industry COVID- Safe Guidelines
COVID-19: Georgia Best Practices for Film and Television
Reopening New York: Media Production Guidelines for Employers and Employees
Guidelines on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19
The Safe Way Forward: The Joint Report of the DGA, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE and Teamsters' Committees
Local 600 Principles, Key Recommendations, and Recommended Department Protocols
Film Florida: Recommendations for Clean & Healthy Production Sets
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers: Industry-Wide Labor- Management Safety Committee Task Force
Texas Minimum Standard Health Protocols
UT Research Restart Guidelines
Protect Texas Website

Back to top