COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus disease, caused by SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2.) Viruses, and the diseases they cause, often have different names. For example, HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. People often know the name of a disease, such as measles, but not the name of the virus that causes it (rubeola).
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of this disease a global health emergency in January 2020, as cases surged in China, where SARS-CoV-2 was first detected. On 11 March 2020, WHO assessed the severity of this outbreak and declared it a pandemic. A full map tracking every reported coronavirus case can be found at The New York Times.
Suspension of square dance activities
As recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), "social distancing" became a strategy for reducing the spread of COVID-19. This meant suspending classes, workshops, and other dance events until more information could be gathered about the pandemic. Many states enacted further strategies to reduce the transmission of the coronavirus, such as mandatory face masks when in public, and sheltering in place.
- March 6: Puddletown Squares canceled its Rain Festival fly-in "Swingin In The Rain."
- March 8: Puddletown Squares canceled all Level Club nights and classes through the end of March.
- March 9: Rosetown Ramblers suspended its dance lessons.
- March 10: Tech Squares "is closed at least until the end of the spring semester. We voted to cancel shortly before MIT forced our hand by effectively shutting down." Ginda Fisher reports "We were waiting for an announcement from MIT (expected at 1PM) and when it didn't come, we went ahead and canceled the dance that evening. They published later that afternoon that MIT was shutting down at the end of the week (until the end of the semester), and all student activities should stop. That evening, we had a teleconference to decide the peripheral stuff, like how to do elections without meeting in person." Tech Squares Website
- March 12: Boots in Squares canceled its season of beginning square dance classes, scheduled to start April 13, 2020. Next class scheduled for September, 2020. Its 27th Anniversary dance, set for Mar 21, 2020 was also canceled.
- March 12: Chi-Town Squares suspended all dancing until April 9, 2020.
- March 12: DC Lambda Squares suspended its activities through March 26, 2020.
- March 12: Diablo Dancers also suspended activities.
- March 12: El Camino Reelers suspended club dancing through April 21, 2020.
- March 12: Foggy City Dancers suspended club dancing through April 6, 2020.
- March 12: Oaktown 8's suspended club dancing for an indefinite period, due to their hall being shut down by the City of Oakland.
- March 12: Elks 'N' Does, a non-IAGSDC club in Alameda CA, suspended club dancing for a "two week" period. (Reported by Kurt Gollhardt, who calls for them.) Elks N Does Website
- March 12: Outlaws, a non-IAGSDC club in San Jose CA, suspended club dancing for a "two week" period. (GCA callers Harlan Kerr, Kurt Gollhardt, Rob French, and Andy Shore all call for them.) Outlaws Website
- March 12: Prime 8s cancelled its workshops for the remainder of March, 2020.
- March 12: Redwood Rainbows canceled all its regularly scheduled classes and workshops for the month of March.
- March 12: Times Squares suspended its activities for the remainder of March, 2020.
- March 12: Wilde Bunch canceled events and classes through April 5, including its Anniversary Dance to be held March 21, 2020.
- March 13: Chesapeake Squares suspended all dance activities until the Maryland state of emergency has been lifted.
- March 13: Ettseteras reported as "suspending all class and club nights effective March 16 through April 6, hopefully reconvening on April 13, 2020. Will re-evaluate at that time."
- March 13: Hotlanta Squares suspended club dancing through April 15, 2020.
- March 13: Lone Star Lambdas Tom Barrett reports "Technically, the Lone Star Lambdas voted to stop until at least April 20th, but will re-evaluate in early April. We had to unfortunately cancel our graduation which was a mere 3 days away. It also followed the Lambdas adopting the Hotlanta's hygiene protocols just days before. I'm probably not alone in hoping that the sacrifice that we make now will allow all of us to return to our love before July."
- March 13: Ottawa Date Squares canceled all classes until further notice.
- March 13: South Florida Mustangs suspended activities for an indefinite period.
- March 13: Suncoast Squares suspended activities through the end of March.
- March 14: Triangle Squares suspended activities until at least April 6, 2020.
- March 14: Cuesta Squares suspended activities March 14th, 2020 through April 8th, 2020.
- March 14: CALLERLAB canceled its April 6-8, 2020 annual convention.
- March 14: Rocky Mountain Rainbeaus dancing suspended until April 17. The board is meeting prior to the 17th to re-evaluate.
- March 15: Capital City Squares canceled its March, 2020 blast classes.
- March 15: Temple Squares canceled dances for March 19 and March 26. The board will meet March 29 to discuss.
- March 15: Spin Cycle Squares of Eugene Oregon has cancelled activities until further notice.
- March 15: Heads to the Center dancing suspended until April.
- March 15: Midnight Squares "In response to the COVID-19 and try to help protect our members Midnight Squares is going dark on Wednesday nights at least until the end of April. As we go in further we will re-evaluate for after the end of April." - from Ed Zeigler
- March 15: Independence Squares canceled all dancing effective March 15, 2020 until further notice, including its Philadelphia Freedom fly-in planned for Mar 27-29, 2020.
- March 16: Desert Valley Squares notified members that they will go on hiatus for 2 weeks, during which time they will follow CDC and other official guidelines, reassess the local situation, and poll members to determine next steps.
- March 19: Chesapeake Squares announced the cancellation of Pass the Ocean, Hon! fly-in scheduled for May 8-10.
- March 25: AACE 2020 announced the cancellation of the event this year.
- March 30: Grand River Squares announced the cancellation of its Ropin' the River fly-in scheduled for April 24-26.
- March 31: Capital City Squares announced the cancellation of its Stumptown Stomp fly-in scheduled for May 15-17.
- April 7: Triangle Squares announced the cancellation of its Scoot Across the Border fly-in scheduled for May 22-24.
- May 8: Chi-Town Squares announced the cancellation of its Crossfire fly-in scheduled for Oct 9-11.
- May 11: Take A Peak announced the cancellation of the annual IAGSDC convention.
- May 20: Wilde Bunch announced the cancellation its Chase the Chile fly-in scheduled for Sep 4-6.
- June 1: Ottawa Date Squares announced the postponement of its Veer North to the Capital 2020 fly-in to 2021.
- June 10: Windmill Twirlers announced the cancellation of the West Coast A&C fly-in scheduled for Aug 28-30.
Statement from IAGSDC Officers posted March 16, 2020
Dear Fellow Square Dancers,
As we are sure you are aware, we are all facing a serious public health crisis with the ever increasing proliferation of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. We all cherish dancing, but we cherish all our dancing friends — all our °square dance family° — even more, and we want everyone out there to remain safe and healthy. Representatives of member and affiliate Clubs, please take whatever steps you can to ensure your dancers’ health and safety above all else until this pandemic has run its course.
Our square dancing activity involves touching, hugging to show our thanks at the end of tips, and generally assembling closely together in squares and as a team to have fun and enjoyment. We are aware that many clubs and groups may choose to temporarily suspend dancing due to the COVID-19 threat. For our member clubs that are continuing to dance, we encourage you at a minimum to take steps to temporarily avoid all direct touches that could accidentally lead to the spread of COVID-19.
The news surrounding the virus seems to change daily, even hourly. The IAGSDC officers ask that Club representatives continue to pay attention to and follow your federal (including the CDC), state and local governments’ guidance regarding group activities and group assemblies. The WHO is also another vital reference point for us all.
We will continue to monitor the situation and work with the Denver convention planners in terms of the status of the upcoming Take A Peek convention in July.
One piece of encouraging news coming from China now is that after just over 2 months, their numbers of new COVID-19 cases are plummeting. We are still approximately 3.5 months away from the Denver Convention, so let’s hope that much progress will be made in the fight against COVID-19 between now and then.
Please, everyone do what is necessary to stay safe. We really mean it when we say, please take care of yourselves.
Your IAGSDC Officers
Consequences of COVID-19 within the square dance community
- How COVID-19 has affected the square dance community in Washington state
- Jim McMahon of South Florida Mustangs passed away on April 28, 2020 from COVID-19
- Gary Monday announced his retirement from calling on June 7, 2020
Alternatives to Promote Community Connection during Social Distancing
In trying to remain connected, clubs used video conferencing apps, such as Zoom, to hold virtual gatherings.
Starting April 27, 2020 Darren Gallina called weekly two couple virtual square dance experience, via Zoom, on Mondays and Saturdays.
- Information can be found at Gallina's Groupies on Facebook