While dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations have been working hard to get the marching arts restarted.
In June, Cavalcade of Bands released a “Guide to Restarting the Marching Arts for Pennsylvania Schools Under COVID-19,” detailing considerations that bands might take this fall season. The guide recommends that bands first have a virtual session educating students and families about COVID-19. Once in-person rehearsals are approved, bands should have health screenings for members, hold practices outside, and deal with other logistics—such as payments—virtually.
The College Band Directors National Association and the National Federation of State High School Associations is leading an international coalition to study the risks of virus spread in performance arts classrooms and performance venues by wind instrumentalists, vocalists, and actors. During the process, they are also putting together a database of resources available online. Several other organizations such as the American Bandmasters Association and the National Association for Music Education have also issued guidance for music education.
USBands will launch virtual competition opportunities with categories for individuals and bands of all sizes and skill sets. USBands states that it also plans for a regular in-person event schedule if federal, state, and local regulations allow.
Many marching arts organizations, such as the Northwest Association for Performing Arts and Western Band Association, have canceled live competitive events and will offer other types of opportunities instead.
Bands of America will not be presenting its 2020 championships and will be planning a modified season with virtual performance and remote evaluation options.
The American Athletic Conference states that it will prohibit on-field band performances. The University of Connecticut Marching Band says that all performances for fall sporting events will be canceled.
The Sacramento County (California) Office of Education released a guide to planning the coming school year. Referring to band, orchestra, and choir classes, the document says, “no wind/horn, strings/percussion/piano unless adequate physical distancing is possible.”
School and health officials throughout the nation will continue to monitor and adjust throughout the coming months. The guidelines “may change, possibly several times, by the time school starts in the fall,” says Janna Haynes, a public information officer for Sacramento County.