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The Board of Education adopted proposed changes to the K-12 music program guidelines at its public meeting on Wednesday evening that will allow music classes and ensembles for band and chorus to perform together in-person. The Board of Education supported new guidance for shortening the social distancing requirement from 12 feet to 6 feet as long as bell covers are used for all wind instruments, masks are worn by all students when singing, and there is at least 6 feet of distancing between students at all times.

“An opportunity to sing and play wind instruments in music classes and in our ensemble setting is a key element in our curriculum,” said Music Department Chair Scott Halliday. “A socially distant move from 12 feet to 6 feet is an opportunity for the music department to begin to restore what has been lost within our program during this pandemic.”

Impact of Change from 12 Feet to 6 Feet

Kindergarten – 5th Grade General Music

  • Music instruction would continue in both the music classroom and in grade level classrooms.
  • Singing (with masks) can now take place (students currently not able to sing in class). Students are already separated by 6ft in the classroom/music classroom.
  • Sharing of equipment would be limited. Any shared equipment would be sanitized after use.

Elementary Chorus

  • Students can now meet in person and sing (students currently not able to meet in-person for chorus). Students would be separated by 6 feet and wear a mask.
  • Students will have an assigned seating location during the chorus rehearsal.

5th Grade Band Lessons

  • Playing on instruments during instrumental lessons will continue for all students.
  • Students will be separated by 6ft during instructional time.
  • Staff can give greater attention to individual detail and correction at this spacing.
  • Staff and students playing wind instruments will use instrument bell covers at all times.
  • Face masks will be removed during playing, but should be worn during extended periods of rest or class discussion.
  • Absorbent pads will be used to collect condensation from brass instruments.
  • Sharing of equipment will be limited. Any shared equipment will be properly sanitized after use.
  • Percussion students will be encouraged to use their own sticks and mallets. When sticks and mallets are borrowed or shared, they should be sanitized after use.

6th through 8th Grade Bands

  • Students will now be able to play during their rehearsal time. To this point in the year students have not been able to play due to the 12 feet restriction.
  • Students will be separated by 6ft during band rehearsal.
  • Students will have an assigned seating location during the rehearsal.
  • Staff and students playing wind instruments will use instrument bell covers at all times.
  • Face masks will be removed during playing, but should be worn during extended periods of rest or class discussion.
  • Absorbent pads will be used to collect condensation from brass instruments.
  • Sharing of equipment will be limited. Any shared equipment will be properly sanitized after use.
  • Percussion students will be encouraged to use their own sticks and mallets. When sticks and mallets are borrowed or shared, they should be sanitized after use.

Instrumental Lessons

  • We will continue with remote lessons for the duration of the 2020-2021 school year.

6th-8th Grade Choruses

  • Singing (with masks) can now take place (students currently not able to sing in class). Students are already separated by 6ft.
  • Students will have an assigned seating location during the chorus rehearsal.

6th-8th Grade Orchestras

  • The new spacing guidance has no impact on orchestra instruction, as they have already been performing at 6 feet distancing since September (the NYSED recommendations did not impose any spacing limitations for performing on string instruments).

9th-12th Grade Bands

  • Students and staff can now perform at a spacing of 6ft (formerly 12ft). Students should feel less isolated at this spacing. Staff can give greater attention to individual detail and correction at this spacing.
  • Staff and students playing wind instruments will use instrument bell covers at all times.
  • Face masks will be removed during playing, but should be worn during extended periods of rest or class discussion.
  • Absorbent pads will be used to collect condensation from brass instruments.
  • Sharing of equipment will be limited. Any shared equipment will be properly sanitized after use.
  • Percussion students will be encouraged to use their own sticks and mallets. When sticks and mallets are borrowed or shared, they should be sanitized after use.
  • Concert Band would be able to now return to the band room for rehearsals (currently using the cafeteria).

Instrumental Lessons

  • We will continue with remote lessons for the duration of the 2020-2021 school year.

High School Chorus

  • Singing (with masks) can now take place at a distance of 6ft. (Students had formerly been spaced at 12ft.) Students should feel less isolated at this new spacing.
  • Students will have an assigned seating location during the chorus rehearsal.
  • Staff can give greater attention to individual detail and correction at this spacing.
  • Chamber Singer students can now rehearse in the chorus room (rehearsals are currently taking place in the auditorium).
  • Chorus students will still not be able to rehearse in the chorus room at 6 feet apart.
  • There are too many students for the size of this location.

High School Vocal Lessons

  • We will continue with remote lessons for the duration of the 2020-2021 school year.

9th-12th Grade Orchestras

  • The new spacing guidance has no impact on orchestra instruction, as they have already been rehearsing at 6 feet distancing since September (the NYSED recommendations did not impose any spacing limitations for performing on string instruments).