TSNY COVID-19 Statement
We at TSNY are concerned for the devastating impacts of this COVID-19 pandemic. Since opening on Pier 40 in late June, we have been following strict COVID protocols that comply with both Federal CDC and New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) protocols. Since then, we have had only one employee confirmed positive for COVID-19. We have no way of knowing if the employee contracted it at TSNY, at a different place of employment, or in a social or home setting. When one of our employees tests positive for, or has symptoms of COVID-19, many more employees may be asked to quarantine due to "close contact" with that employee - "close contact" defined by New York State as being within six feet for more than 10 minutes in a 24-hour period. In some instances, this close contact may occur at the rig, but more often than not, it occurs between roommates or at other places of employment. When our staff are at risk, they are encouraged to seek a COVID-19 test - either Rapid or PCR. Regardless of test results, however, they are required to quarantine for 10 days after the "close contact" in accordance with state regulations, which we completely support as this exhibits a necessary abundance of caution.
Our policy is to inform anyone who potentially had close contact with a person who tested positive for or has symptoms of COVID-19 about that contact. In so doing, we follow strict NYS DOH rules on how close contact is defined; that is, we inform anyone who was taught by or otherwise interacted with that individual (again, if they were within six feet of that person for 10 or more cumulative minutes in a 24-hour period). Moreover, that means anyone who had close contact with the person within two days before they had symptoms or tested positive – the "contact tracing date" - is informed ASAP. (No students have fallen into that category to date.)
As a place of employment, we do not have the clearance to reveal privileged information (such as medical records or test results) to any person who does not fall within the category of a close contact; therefore, in order to respect and protect our staff members’ privacy, students are not informed en masse about any COVID-19 quarantine or test results. Rest assured that if any person is noted as a close contact of someone who tests positive for COVID-19, that person will immediately be informed by the General Manager or our Office Coordinator personally, and instructed to await a call from NYC Test and Trace Corps for further information and instruction.
We would also like to point out that it is social and home gatherings, and not gyms (TSNY is considered to be a gym by NYS DOH), which are driving the spread of COVID-19: Contact tracing shows that 74% are contracted at household and social gatherings, while only 0.06% of cases are contracted at gyms (see https://www.syracuse.com/coronavirus/2020/12/ny-state-3-in-4-coronavirus-cases-spread-in-homes-and-social-gatherings-not-gyms-or-salons.html). When staff and students are at TSNY, they are required to wear a mask, sanitize, and social distance. In contrast, many people feel comfortable with no protection around their friends and family, not realizing that they could have been unknowingly infected.
We want everyone to know that we will continue to follow the strict guidelines prescribed by federal, state, and local authorities. While restricting certain staff and students from the space is not something we take lightly, we want to impress on everyone the abundance of caution with which we are acting. If any staff member or student so much as has a low-grade fever or sore throat, the staff member or student is required by NYS DOH and, subsequently, our school, to quarantine for 10 days no matter the outcome of their various COVID-19 tests. It is this extreme action and caution which has allowed us to stay open and offer circus for many displaced circus artists here in NYC for the past six months. We hope that it also allows us to remain open indefinitely; however, we can only do so if we follow strict CDC and DOH guidelines while maintaining the privacy and integrity of our staff.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to our office at email@example.com.
Stay safe. Fly high. Wear a mask. Sanitize. And stay socially distant until this pandemic is over.