At Black Box Acting, it is our priority to ensure the health and safety of our students and employees as we return to our facility amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. As a company, we will endeavor to abide by all governmental regulations and recommendations as we work to balance public health concerns with the desire to continue to serve our student body. The following action plan is based on guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), and Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), and will highlight requirements for all employees and students that come to our facility for the duration of the current situation. 

The goal of this document is to provide guidance for all individuals that intend to come into our space with regards to required health and safety protocols. It is the sole responsibility of the individuals coming to Black Box to follow the guidelines laid out herein.

Any employee or student that has additional specific concerns may reach out to Andrew Cutler, the Executive Director at Black Box (andrew@blackboxacting.com or 312-919-8569) to discuss them.

All employees and students will be required to acknowledge receipt of this document, and agree to abide by the protocols and requirements set forth herein prior to the first day they intend to enter our facility until further notice from Black Box. Failure to do so will result in that individual being denied access to our facility until they are in full compliance. 

This action plan will remain in effect until further notice, and may be updated at any time.

Protocols to Follow when Coming into our Facility:

Daily Screening, Vaccination, Exposure, and Confirmed Illness Protocols

In order to ensure the safety of all persons that enter our facility, the following procedures must be followed. They include screening anyone coming to the space (students or employees), dealing with COVID-19 exposure, and responding to a confirmed case of COVID-19 within our facility.

Screening Protocol
All employees and students will be required to fill out the following screening survey (https://blackboxacting.typeform.com/to/dwNJja) before every instance that they are expected to come into the facility (i.e. on every class day): this document is in full compliance with the guidance provided by the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission. Any information obtained from the screening survey will be kept confidential, and only provided to relevant personnel of Black Box, or the Chicago Department of Public Health on a need to know basis. The information will be deployed in a strictly non-discriminatory fashion, and only to ensure the health and safety of other persons using our facility. Black Box reserves the right to send an individual home or deny them entry to our facility based on the data obtained from these surveys (i.e. if any COVID-19 symptoms/exposure are reported). Anyone unwilling to complete a screening survey every day that they are scheduled to come in (or who fails to do so for any reason) will not be permitted into the facility.

Vaccination Requirement

All individuals who enter of Black Box Acting Studio’s facility are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and boosted when eligible. 

Individuals are considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 two (2) weeks after receiving the second dose in a 2-dose mRNA vaccine series (Pfizer or Moderna) or two (2) weeks after receiving a single dose of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine (Johnson & Johnson). Please note that the definition of “fully vaccinated” may change to match the definitions of either the Center for Disease Control and/or the Cook County Department of Public Health, whichever is more stringent.
 

Individuals who received Pfizer or Moderna vaccines are eligible for a booster dose at least 6 months after receiving their second dose.

Individuals who received a single dose of the Janssen vaccine are eligible for a booster dose at least 2 months after receiving the vaccine. At this time, an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) is recommended over the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine for booster vaccination.

COVID-19 Exposure and Confirmed Illness Protocol

Full CDC guidelines for detecting the symptoms of, or what to do in the event of exposure to or contraction of COVID 19 must be followed to the letter. In addition, Black Box has several policies governing what to do in the event of exposure, positive tests, and symptoms:

Exposure

All individuals who enter Black Box Acting Studio’s premises must either be:

  • Boosted
  • Fully vaccinated within the last 6 months (Pfizer or Moderna) or within the last 2 months (J&J) i.e. not yet eligible for their booster. 

In compliance with the most recent CDC and City of Chicago guidance, individuals who meet either of the above criteria may continue to attend work/class following a known exposure as long as they remain fully masked at all times, but Black Box may keep students out of class following known exposure. Known exposure must be reported to admissions@blackboxacting.com immediately and the Admissions Department will provide students with next steps following exposure. Provided the exposed individual remains asymptomatic, they should take a PCR test on the 5th day following the exposure and report results to Admissions. 

Exposed individuals must test and isolate immediately if they develop any symptoms of COVID-19 (see further policy below). 

Confirmed Illness Protocols: Positive Tests and Symptoms

Any employee or student who tests positive for COVID-19, develops symptoms of COVID-19, or believes that they have been infected will be instructed to follow the advice of a medical professional, and self-quarantine for a minimum of 5 days (Black Box may require a period of self-quarantine up to 10 days) from the last contact with an infectious individual. While under self-quarantine, individuals must:

  • Stay away from other persons in their home as much as possible, staying in a separate room and using another bathroom where able
  • Not allow visitors
  • Wear a face mask if they have to be around people
  • Avoid sharing household items
  • Clean high-touch surfaces daily
  • Continue to monitor symptoms, calling their healthcare provider if their condition worsens
  • Seek a Covid-19 test from a local or state government testing center, or other testing center as soon as possible

Returning to the Facility after a Positive Test or Symptoms

Individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 may return to the facility when all of the following conditions are met:

  • They no longer have a fever
  • Coughing and other symptoms have improved
  • At least ten days have passed since they received their first positive test OR
  • They have successfully completed negative testing requirements from Black Box Acting’s Admissions Department and are cleared to return to the facility

Symptomatic individuals may return to the facility when all of the following conditions are met:

  • They have not had a fever for at least 72 hours and have not used any fever reducing medications during that period
  • Coughing and other symptoms have improved
  • At least ten days have passed since they first experienced symptoms OR
  • They have successfully completed negative testing requirements from Black Box Acting’s Admissions Department and are cleared to return to the facility

Additionally, when any individual who has been to the facility tests positive for COVID-19, they must notify Black Box as detailed below, and cleaning procedures in line with CDC guidelines outlined here will be triggered. Additionally, any individuals who have come into close contact with individuals who have tested positive (prolonged contact inside of a 6 foot distance) may be asked to self-quarantine before returning to our facility. Finally, if there are two or more more cases within a 14-day period, Black Box may notify the Chicago Department of Public Health. If there are five or more cases within a 14-day period, Black Box will notify the Chicago Department of Public Health. 

Reporting Transparency Protocol

Any individual who tests positive for COVID-19, or has COVID-19 symptoms must notify the Executive Director and Student Affairs Coordinator as soon as possible. The individual will be asked to assist with contact tracing. This information will be kept confidential, and never used in a discriminatory manner. Black Box reserves the right to report information about COVID cases to the Chicago Department of Public Health if it is necessary to do so. Black Box may elect to close our facility for 72 hours or more in the event that there is a confirmed case on the premises.

Social Distancing Protocol 

All employees and students should follow the proper social distancing protocols whenever possible, including but not limited to:

  • Stay at least six feet away from all other individuals whenever possible, including on breaks
  • Avoid unnecessary prolonged physical contact with others
  • Avoid touching surfaces that have been touched by others when possible, and cleaning them in between contact when not
  • Distance themselves from anyone who appears to be sick
  • Avoid gathering when entering or exiting the facility – do not congregate on the sidewalks outside, and space out entry to the building when possible
  • Disinfect high touch surfaces regularly
  • Employees will be asked to follow a disinfection protocol in their classrooms before and after classes
  • Avoid touching ones face, especially the eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Avoid gathering in common areas when possible
  • Per State guidelines, certain activities may be permitted without masks, but at least 6 feet of distance must be maintained between individuals in these circumstances: please note that this is subject to change

General Health and Safety Protocols 

The success of this plan depends on all individuals entering our space following health and safety protocols. The following protocols will be implemented for the safety of our employees and students:

  • Any individual who enters the facility of Black Box Acting must be fully vaccinated, and boosted when eligible. Individuals are considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 two (2) weeks after receiving the second dose in a 2-dose mRNA vaccine series (Pfizer or Moderna) or two (2) weeks after receiving a single dose of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine (Johnson & Johnson). Individuals who received Pfizer or Moderna vaccines are eligible for a booster dose at least 6 months after receiving their second dose. Individuals who received a single dose of the Janssen vaccine are eligible for a booster dose at least 2 months after receiving the vaccine. At this time, an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) is recommended over the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine for booster vaccination. Please note that the definitions of “fully vaccinated” and “boosted when eligible” may change as information about the pandemic develops.
  • Regularly wash your hands with hot water and soap for at least 20 seconds throughout the day, including on entering the facility. Full CDC guidelines for hand washing can be found here
  • Cover coughs and sneezes (never remove a mask to cough or sneeze)
  • Wear a mask/face covering (in compliance with Illinois regulations and CDC recommendations) whenever traveling outside, but especially when coming to or going from Black Box’s facility, and within the facility at all times, unless specifically directed not to
  • In order to assist with safety within the facility, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes will be provided, and employees will be asked to disinfect high touch areas at the beginning and ending of every class period. Black Box will also provide a small amount of backup PPE
  • Anyone who is feeling sick (even if they do not believe that they have COVID-19 symptoms) MUST stay away from the facility, and seek medical attention as they are able

Cleaning Protocols

Whenever anyone uses a common piece of equipment (tables, mats, printer, etc), they will be responsible for cleaning it after use. Additionally, they must wash their hands for 20 seconds with hot water and soap whenever possible after cleaning. 

Outside Visitors Protocol

For the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, no non-student or non-employee individuals will be allowed into the facility, unless expressly given permission by Black Box Acting. This includes delivery drivers, caterers, and visitors. Students and employees are discouraged from leaving and reentering the premises during classes. 

Food & Drink
Students may not eat in the facility. The water fountain, which is normally accessible during class periods, will only be available to refill water bottles: there will be a limited supply of bottled water on site for emergency hydration needs. Students may consume beverages in the classrooms provided they are at least 6 feet from another student and they do not fully remove their mask to do so; masks should be pulled down/aside for a sip and immediately replaced. No food or drink will be allowed to be left in the facility between class periods: anything left behind will be disposed of.