August 25, 2021

Dear MDU Families, 

Thank you for a great kick-off to our 24th season of “More Than Just Great Dancing!”. We are now a full week into our season and it has been amazing to see kids and families back in the building.  

As the leader of our studio community, I have the great joy of seeing the excitement of the kids and teacher returning to class. I also have the great responsibility of navigating a continuously changing situation as it relates to Covid-19. 

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, MDU has provided clear communication and real-time decision-making. This has allowed us to offer continuous programming with only .0002% incidence of Covid-19 while providing consistent access to the benefits of dance such as physical fitness, social-emotional health, and mental wellness. That’s the joy part!

Now for the responsibility part. At MDU, we make all of our Covid-related decisions based on a variety of inputs, including local and national sources, as well as industry and studio data.  I wake up every morning, search the data, and track the trends. I also consult with our county, speak with other community leaders, and pray for wisdom.  I’m pleased to say that MDU is still doing extremely well in terms of cases as shared above. That’s why we began our fall season by continuing our summer policy of mask recommendation, not a requirement. Our community, however, is not doing as well.  The cases reported yesterday morning were double what they were the week prior and the 7-day average is one we have not seen since February. 

In my Welcome Letter from one week ago, I shared that we would escalate our policies if cases continue to rise. As such, beginning today (8/25/21), the following mitigation measures are being implemented: 

  • Masking required for students in preschool to age 11 while indoors.
  • Masking strongly recommended for everyone 12 and older while indoors.
  • Masking required of teachers while working with students unless in a private lesson. 

We will continue monitoring the situation week by week and will make you aware of any changes.  If community cases continue to rise, potential escalation of policies may include closing the lobby to reduce traffic, further limiting class sizes, greater physical distancing requirements in classes, and/or masking requirements for all ages.

In closing, I fully understand this message will cause relief for some and disappointment for others. Some will think it’s too much and others may think it’s not enough. This is the nature of the times we live in. But, it’s also in our nature to adapt and to support each other.  Our kids are mirrors of our reactions and emotions, so let’s focus on what’s positive!  In a time when our community is welcoming Afghan refugees who have lost all, we have much to be thankful for. Thank YOU for your support!


Misty Lown

Safer Studio Policy Archive
  • 923 12th Ave S, STE 103, Onalaska, WI 54650
  • 608.779.4642
  • 923 12th Ave S, STE 103, Onalaska, WI 54650
  • 608.779.4642


Dear MDU Family,

As you are probably aware, our local schools have changed course from last week’s school board approved plans to open both “face-to-to face + virtual instruction” to opening “virtually only” for at least the first 30 days of fall.

Before I share our plans going forward, let me share this: I have sat in (virtually) on weekly planning meetings with the schools and the County since June. In that time I have witnessed nothing short of an amazing group of professionals working cooperatively and diligently to manage a challenging and continuously changing situation. The local schools, along with our county officials, had an impossible task and made impossible decisions. We support the decisions that have been made and we cheer on our local schools. We will also continue to attend weekly meetings and foster good communication with our friends in public education.

That said, we are going to stay on our path of gradually and responsibly opening services and learning to live in this new world.

A gradual and responsible opening has been our path since day one and we haven’t changed. When the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the Governor’s Safer-at-Home order we could’ve opened back at full capacity, but we didn’t. We stayed on our plan for a gradual and responsible opening.

And, we are staying with our plan for a gradual and responsible opening now. Because for as much as we identify with, and support, our colleagues in public education, we are different:

It is because of those differences, our comprehensive planning, as well as the CDC acknowledgment of the benefits of in-person instruction that we stay on our path of gradual and responsible reopening. According to the CDC, social interaction among children in grades K-12 is important not only for emotional wellbeing, but also for children’s language, communication, social, and interpersonal skills. A weekly dance class supports all of those functions as well as addressing the need for physical activity and creative expression.

Additionally, when we surveyed our families 93% wanted a return to traditional instruction. All summer we have been testing our systems and slowly building capacity to meet that expectation.

On August 17th we will open our fall classes at 50% capacity. To learn more about our plans for fall, including an option for supported virtual academic learning during the day, please join me for an MDU Family Chat on Saturday night, August 1 at 7pm. Click here to attend.

We hope you will consider joining us as we ALL learn how to move forward in this new world.


Misty Lown