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Below is our new policy on how Aikido of Berkeley students should approach training given the array of viruses in our environment. The general idea is to care more for others than ourselves, and in particular to stay updated with recommended vaccine schedules. Note that this includes Covid-19, of course, but also other dangerous and highly communicable diseases such as measles.

The policy takes effect on January 1. For those of you who are not current on your vaccines, please complete them no later than February 1 so immunocompromised students can be sure that they are as protected as possible after that.

This is an honor-based system. We will not be asking for or tracking documentation. By continuing to train in regular classes, you are representing that you are committed to protecting our community members in keeping with this policy. New students will be asked to affirm that they are vaccinated before they can begin training.

Wearing a Mask

All public health agencies agree that wearing a high quality mask reduces the spread of airborne communicable diseases such as Covid-19. Aikido is a physically demanding and intimate activity, so wearing a mask is always a great idea! It communicates to your partner that you are conscientious. However, masking is NOT required and does not take the place of vaccination and exercising caution to avoid training while you are contagious.

Training While Sick

Dojo policy is that you do not train when there is reason to suspect you may transmit a communicable disease. Rather than try to define all the possible limits, here is a framework you should use to decide.

  1. Can I train if I still have symptoms but am no longer contagious? No. For dojo purposes, if you have symptoms you are still sick. Stay home until symptoms are gone.
  2. What counts as “symptoms”? The list includes but is not limited to: cough, runny nose, fever/chills/aches, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea. Basically, you know in your heart when you are sick, right? Pay attention to your body.
  3. What if I may have been exposed to a communicable disease? If you have had close contact with someone who is ill, or you’ve been to a place you think it’s likely you may have been exposed, stay away from the dojo for a few days (typically 3-5) to see if symptoms develop.
  4. Can I wear a mask to protect others? Wearing a mask is a great idea and has been shown to help protect yourself and others. If nothing else, it helps to reduce anxiety in your training partners. However, Question 1 still applies! If you are sick or have reason to believe that you may become sick, please stay home. Once you’ve established that you are healthy, you can return.
  5. What about long-Covid and other residual effects? Sure, this is an exception. If you have a long running issue such as bronchial irritation, please discuss it with your doctor before resuming training. Consider masking.
  6. Am I allowed to train through allergy symptoms? Yes, if your symptoms are consistent with past allergy incidents. If you have additional symptoms (such as from the list above) consider that you may be sick in addition to having an allergy attack. Please pay special attention to masking and hygiene if you choose to train with allergy symptoms. Sneezing or runny noses on the mat will not endear you to your training partners unless you are wearing a mask!
  7. Can I wear a mask to protect myself?  Yes. Anyone is welcome to mask for their own safety at any time.

Vaccinations

The policy of the dojo is that all members should be current on vaccinations for dangerous diseases as recommended by the CDC. See this link for an overview: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/index.html . Talk to your doctor about any concerns or questions you may have. If your licensed physician says you are not a candidate to receive a vaccine safely, then you are clear to train; you do not need to check with the dojo. Again, our intent is to protect the community, not to police your individual health decisions.

If you choose not to be vaccinated (including for Covid-19), we welcome you to join us in two of our weekly classes: Friday 12-1 PM, and Sunday 10:30-12 PM. These are the only classes that are vaccine optional.

Covid-19

The covid-19 vaccine in particular changes frequently and requires attention. If you have not been vaccinated in the previous 12 months, please get an updated vaccine as recommended by your doctor or described by the CDC here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/stay-up-to-date.html.

Covid-19 is still a dangerous and prevalent disease! Vaccination is not a guarantee that one will be fully protected, but vaccines are proven to lessen both rate of transmission and severity of illness. As of fall 2023, the disease remains the 3rd leading cause of death in the US, surpassed only by heart disease and all cancers combined. The 2023 updated vaccine is projected to prevent 40,000 deaths and 400,000 hospitalizations in the next 2 years.