EAST CENTRAL — School bands and choirs throughout the North East School Division (NESD) will be returning to schools this fall.
“We’ve got the guidelines, and right now schools are determining their schedules and the physical accommodation within the schools,” said Don Rempel, director of education for the NESD.
“We will start cautiously, we’ll pay attention to the health guidelines and the plan we put in place with the school division.”
The NESD guidelines warn that instruments retain moisture and aerosols associated with the spread of COVID-19. As a result, they stated it is important for students to properly maintain their own equipment and physically distance.
“Just as the province has kind of reopened activities moving forward, we’re going to start with the physical return of students, and then we’re going to start looking at the extras in programming, and extracurricular – those types of things will all have to be methodically planned out.”
Should prevalence rates of COVID-19 increase, or at such time as the Saskatchewan Health Authority no longer permits face to face bands, the NESD stated alternative music lessons may be considered.
These include recording or live-streaming individual performers in separate locations, including more lessons focused on music appreciation or music theory, or choosing to play instruments that are lower risk. Lower risk instruments include percussion or string instruments, as opposed to wind.
Rempel said there is concern about the risk, but there has been considerable thought put into addressing that concern.
“It’s kind of up to our instructors now to look at the physical space and the distancing they can provide, and opportunities for students to perform individually and record for assessment if they want to.”