Dear MDU Family,
I am writing today with a proactive communication regarding the potential state-wide mask mandate repeal going before the Legislature on Thursday.
Regardless of the outcome, our business will continue to support a mask requirement (unless you have an exception) until further notice.
While it is true that we have had a negligible occurrence of COVID-19 in our programs since re-opening in June (.00025%, or 5 reportable cases out of over 20,000 heads in classes, and none for two months) Coulee Region public schools are in the process of welcoming their students back which introduces a new risk variable to our student population. Even if the mask mandated is repealed on Thursday, it would be unwise to introduce a second risk variable to our student population at the same time.
As a teacher and a dancer, I look forward to the day when this is no longer a talking point, but in the meantime, we will continue all of the Safer Studio™ measures that have brought us such success so far including keeping people home when they don't feel well, well checks for employees, ongoing facility cleaning with our Sparkle Squad, hand sanitation, and face coverings. Our community is turning the corner and we need to stay the course until we get there <3.
As always, we will continue to monitor the situation as we keep our focus on supporting the whole health of our students—including physical, social-emotional and, mental well-being—through dance classes each week.
Thank you for your support!
Understandably, I've had quite a few questions and people interested today about whether or not we are opening as we are in Wisconsin and our Safer-at-Home order was struck down by our Supreme Court yesterday.
First of all, let me say I LOVE that families and students are looking forward to coming back to classes. LOVE! Our studio is truly that "third place" of belonging for so many youth in our area (and even adults!) If you are following pics of our kids doing Virtual Recital this week, you can see how it really is MORE Than Just Great Dancing!®
Let me also say, that if you are a local business owner who is fully equipped to open in the safest way possible, I am so HAPPY for you! Sincerely, we celebrate your return! Sixty days of low (or no) business for a small business is CRUSHING. Small businesses are the heart of our community and I long for the day when we are all whole again.
I am also honored that our 300 MTJGD affiliated studios, Youth Protection Advocates in Dance Certified Studios and so many others in the industry are watching what we are doing and how we navigate these changes and challenges.
But as for me right now, my answer is "NO". I will open again one day, but today is not that day for me.
We have 900 students and 38 employees. We are in the middle of celebrating our students with an AWESOME Virtual Recital week. Our kids are finishing strong right now and don't need one more change of plans.
But more importantly, I cannot responsibly open today. Or this week. Or next.
We have a plan in place and we are sticking with it. A plan that involves finishing our current season strong, followed by new safety training, classroom changes, curriculum adjustments, client education, as well as a staggered start.
We are sticking with our plan to start back by serving one kiddo at a time on May 27 with our Red Carpet Recitals. Then we will transition to a few classes at a time in June and July. By the time we get to August, we will be ready for fall classes with two locations and five ways to take class (more on that later!)
So, YES, I would LOVE to open today, especially because it's Recital week. But, we are going to keep dancing online - leaping in living rooms, dancing in dining rooms, and doing our finales by sunset in backyards and driveways. Because that's what I know we can do well TODAY.
Thank you, teachers and families, for your support.
I will close by sharing my constant prayer, "God, give us strength for the day and JOY for the journey."
Until then, grace and peace,
Misty W. Lown