KENNEWICK, WA - Cosmetology students protested the restart of client services Monday morning.
About a dozen Victoria Academy of Cosmetology students protested the school's return of client services citing unhealthy working conditions.
Some students, worried about their health, said the school is not ready to provide client services. They say there are not enough safety measures to keep students and clients safe.
They say that if they refuse to take on a client, they will automatically receive a three-day suspension. However, when the NBC Right Now team reached out to Victoria's Academy of Cosmetology, a spokesperson said the suspension is something that is a part of their student catalog that students signed at enrollment.
They also provided a full statement addressing the student protest.
Victoria’s Academy of Cosmetology official response to student’s protest:
We understand that the students of our academy have some concerns about offering client services while our county is in modified phase 1.5. Because of the nature of our vocation we know that it is important for students to receive as much “hands on” education as possible – in both technical and soft skills areas of their education. The Benton Franklin Health District gave all cosmetology and esthetics schools the green light to return when Benton County was accepted into modified phase 1.5. Our onsite Covid19 supervisor wrote and submitted a prevention, mitigation and recovery plan upon approval. Our classrooms and clinic floor have been modified to insure social distancing. We have provided face masks, smocks, face shields and gloves (as needed) for student protection, along with access to washing stations and hand sanitizer.
Upon reopening, we had students exclusively work on mannequins the first week, then allowed students to perform services on each other to practice our new protocol. Once that was seamless, we invited friends and family in for a few days as a “dress rehearsal” to taking public guests. Before reopening we had the fire marshal review our occupancies and educational spaces and are well below 25% occupancy as required by our current phase for client services.
Each person entering the building is required to wear a mask, have their temperature checked, are subject to general health questions and are given hand sanitizer and asked to wash their hands. We have CDC and BFHD signs posted on the front doors and throughout the building to remind students, staff and guests to be mindful at all times.
Students who are uncomfortable may choose to take a leave of absence or withdraw and re-enroll at a later date. It is important to us, as an accredited educational facility, that our students get a top-notch, hands on education. We empowered our students by certifying them in 3 separate industry Covid19 trainings (Barbicide, Milady and in-house) and meet daily to discuss changes. Between that and a heightened state of cleaning and disinfecting we know that it is necessary to move forward with their education. We’ve worked tirelessly to reopen safely, and the health of students, staff and public is of the utmost importance.
We don’t know when the world will be free of Covid19. It is more important than ever to train our students, under the direct supervision of licensed instructors, how to operate safely.