General Music Town Hall: Suggestions and Answers
for Teaching during the 2021–2022 School Year
Members of NAfME’s Council for General Music Education, Dr. Rob Lyda, Jennifer Kauffman, Dr. Becky Halliday, invited Dr. James Weaver of the NFHS and co-chair of the International Coalition Performing Arts Aerosol Study, to a general music townhall on August 31 to offer suggestions and answer questions about teaching general music during the 2021–2022 school year.
The International Coalition Performing Arts Aerosol Study, of which the National Association for Music Education is a member, released updated guidelines in July for music education classrooms, as the nation heads back to school. The guidance, found on this page, updates previous mitigation tactics with the understanding that states need to consult local and state COVID-19 guidance and transmission rates for appropriate mitigation adoption and adjust accordingly.
Below is a summary of the updated guidelines and key topics which were discussed during the town hall:
- The mitigation strategies of masking, distancing, timing, hygiene, and air quality remain highly effective in reducing the spread of the Delta variant.
- No mitigation is needed for outdoor performances depending on the level of local and state transmission rates. Outdoors remain the safest space for performances.
- Masking with appropriate material remains the best way of reducing potential infected aerosol from circulating in an indoor space. Masks are recommended be worn while singing and speaking.
- Bell covers made from appropriate material remain the best way of reducing potential infected aerosol from circulating in an indoor space.
- Depending on your comfort level, instrumentalists can wear masks only when speaking and slitted performance masks are optional.
- In spaces with good ventilation rates and HEPA filtration, increased indoor rehearsal times of 50 minutes may be considered. A minimum of 3 air exchanges per hour should be used, if there are spaces with higher air change rates, you may consider longer rehearsal times.
- Distancing may be decreased to 3 feet, adjusting farther or closer depending on local conditions.
- Continue good hygiene practice moving forward, including appropriate elimination of brass fluid.
- Plastic face shields only stop large droplets, not aerosol; room dividers inhibit the function of the HVAC system and are not recommended.
- For non-aerosolization activities, such as dancing, use of non-aerosol producing instruments such as boomwhackers and Orff instruments, follow the procedures and protocols your school has created for general education classes.
- Recorders should have the bottom covered with a cloth material to catch aerosol droplets.
- Masks are recommended be worn while singing and speaking.
NAfME continues to work closely with The International Coalition Performing Arts Aerosol Study to ensure guidelines are up to date as we continue to monitor the effects of the Delta variant and its impact on transmission rates across the country.
As the 2021–2022 school year begins, NAfME and NFHS have collaborated on new resources to help music educators, stakeholders, and decision-makers ensure that music education is available to all students and provided safely. The Return to Music project is intended to assist music educators rebuild, rejuvenate, and reimagine more inclusive music programs during the 2021–2022 school year.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact Tooshar Swain at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NAfME Public Policy Staff, September 10, 2021. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)