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BACDS COVID Safety Info (Updated May 26, 2023)

BACDS as an organization believes that country dancing helps bring joy, beauty, friendship and community to the world, and we’re happy to return to our mission of doing that in person.

But we certainly don't want to find we've hosted a superspreader event!

So we've worked with dancers with medical and biological expertise to produce a system that we believe will allow us to return to dancing in tolerable safety even as COVID-19 continues to mutate.

We have been adjusting BACDS’ COVID policies since re-opening in March 2022. The current policies were adopted by the BACDS Board at the May 22 meeting and will be reviewed in October 2023 (or reviewed earlier if circumstances warrant).

Now that we have fully returned to in-person dancing, the "Oddly Even Sundays" online English dance series will also continue for those who are uncomfortable dancing in person, geographically disfavored, or just enjoy it. The Odd Sundays Garage Band produced many recordings tailored for online dancing (and listening pleasure).

Thank you for sticking with us during these difficult times, and we hope to see you at a dance soon!

BACDS COVID policy June 1 - October 31, 2023:

These are the baseline precautions for all dances. (Organizers may add extra precautions if and when they determine that’s needed.)


BACDS still requires dancers to be masked on the dance floor. A well-fitting cloth mask (over nose and mouth) is the bare minimum; however KF94, N95, KN95 or effective tech masks like Airgami are recommended.

Masks are now optional for callers and musicians only. The BACDS Board encourages wearing a well-fitting mask, but they recognize the impact face masks have on clarity, sound quality, and communication between callers and musicians.


You should not attend if -

  • You have a fever plus 2 or more symptoms of COVID, or
  • You test positive for COVID, or
  • There is someone else in the home with a fever plus 2 or more symptoms of COVID, or
  • There is someone else in the home who tests positive for COVID.

After getting COVID, wait at least 7 days AFTER you get a negative test result, so long as there is no positive test afterwards, before coming to a BACDS event again. Likewise, if someone else in the home has had COVID, wait at least 7 days after they no longer test positive before coming back to our dances. (CDC now recommends at least 2 negative results from at-home tests, 48 hours apart, to be sure of that result.)

Anyone who comes down with COVID within a week after attending a BACDS event should notify BACDS.

NO LONGER REQUIRED as part of baseline precautions:

  • Proof of up-to-date vaccination;
  • Individual signed attestation forms for each dance event;
  • Different levels of precaution based on risk levels.

Rationales for the May 2023 BACDS Board policy changes:

COVID case rate data is not really reliable anymore - so having different policies for green, yellow, or red levels doesn’t make sense going forwards. (Those color-coded levels are likely to be dropped in the near future.)

CDC County-level case rate data is increasingly incomplete. Cases are underreported; no one knows whether they’re “very” underreported or “vastly” underreported. (CA is no longer accepting reports on positive tests from individuals, for example.)

At-home tests - currently a single negative test result can’t be counted upon to be accurate. CDC & other experts recommend 2 negative test results in a row, 48 hours apart. Using one negative test as “proof” for admission is not sufficiently reliable.

Also, after May 11 health insurers no longer cover the full cost of at-home antigen tests. At $12 - 24.00 for 2 tests, that would more than double the cost to attend just 1 dance event.

Vaccination status - the original decision to require vaccination to attend BACDS dances based on research early in the pandemic that suggested unvaccinated people were more likely to infect others than those who had received vaccines.

But that’s no longer the case. It is likely that unvaccinated people’s immunity levels are now roughly comparable to someone whose vaccination is more than 6 months out-of-date. If we accept that estimate, then there is no reason to continue to bar unvaccinated people from BACDS events. (Especially when many of us who got boosted in 2022-3 will not be able to get their next dose until September 2023 or later.)

Masking - when worn right, N95-equivalent masks are still very effective to prevent infection. That is still an important consideration when dancing (especially contra) has a higher risk of spreading infections than nearly all other daily activities.

Laboratory studies on the properties of N95-equivalent masks show that two layers of filtration (your mask and my mask) still significantly block transmission. We expect masking to remain an effective intervention even against now-unknown new strains of the virus.

While we’ve improved indoor air circulation in the halls used for BACDS events, there are structural limits to how much we can do. Wearing a mask makes up for those limitations.

We know that many find it very uncomfortable to dance while wearing a mask. We also know that wearing a mask interferes with being able to hear callers clearly, and with musicians’ ability to communicate with each other. The decision to allow only callers and musicians the option to unmask is a compromise between safety of all versus successful dance experiences for all.

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