At its March 10 meeting, the BH-BL Board of Education unanimously supported the Suburban Council Music Reopening Plan. The plan includes revisions to the previously thought “best practices” based on the finding of a 10-month long study conducted by an international coalition of performing arts organizations The study took a deep dive into the significant impacts of masks when singing or playing wind instruments. The current scientific research shows that 92 percent of the particles that exit the mouth when singing are actually absorbed by a well-fitted mask. Additionally, every school wind instrument was studied by measuring the aerosol release with and without a bell cover (a mask for the end of the instrument). For instance, an oboe, which has the highest aerosol release, demonstrated a 96 percent reduction when using a bell cover.
These findings resulted in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) releasing updated guidance for school music programs in mid February. The guidance now states that singers should wear masks, bell covers should be placed on wind instruments, and there should be six feet of distance (instead of the previously recommended 12 feet of distance) for both groups.
Using the scientific data as a guide, BH-BL will now align it’s COVID-based music program to the new recommendations. [SEE DIAGRAMS IN MUSIC REOPENING PLAN]
“This past year we’ve been following the health and safety guidance and finding new ways to expose students to musical experiences and relying on streaming and other technology to include families in their children’s musical performances,” says Fine Arts Director Pete Giroux. “But the support of the board to align our music program with the Suburban Council Reopening Plan means we are taking a giant step toward normalcy–and we now have a huge group of students and teachers who are extremely excited.”