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ADH releases COVID-19 guidelines for school marching bands to resume full practices

ADH has released a full list of guidelines marching bands should follow in order to resume practices in full.
Credit: VAN BUREN BAND

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) has released the guidelines for high school marching bands to resume practices in full.

The directive is not applicable to intercollegiate or professional music rehearsals, performances or competitions.

General Requirements:

  • Maintain minimum physical distancing of six feet between participants at all times.
  • Musicians, Directors and All Staff must be screened prior to any activity by asking the following questions and excluded if the answer is yes.
    • Have had a fever of 100.4°F in the last 2 days.
    • Have a cough, difficulty breathing, chills, muscle aches (myalgias), sore throat, headache, recent loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
    • Had contact with a person known to be infected with COVID-19 within the previous 14 days.
  • In addition, Directors and All Staff must have temperature checked by digital thermometer prior to entry, and those whose temperature is 100.4°F or greater must be excluded.
  • Face coverings that completely cover the nose and mouth are required for everyone 10 years of age or older.
    • Musicians and all participating students must wear a face covering. Musicians should maintain appropriate distancing.
    • Directors and Staff shall wear a face-covering inside. Appropriate distancing shall be maintained.
  • Storage rooms may only be used for the storage of personal items. Social distancing of 6 feet must be maintained in the storage rooms.
  • Individual practice participants should use their own equipment if possible. School instruments may be assigned to a single student.
  • Participants will arrive dressed for rehearsal with their equipment and water for their personal hydration. Participants should leave as soon as the rehearsals are complete. Directors and staff may meet before and after rehearsals to appropriately plan. Appropriate distance should be maintained.
  • An alcohol-based hand sanitizer or adequate handwashing facilities are provided for use by all attendees.
  • Equipment, restrooms, storage rooms, water fountains and other high touch surfaces should be sanitized frequently during each event and between each use. For a list of cleaning products that will eliminate the Covid-19 virus, visit https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2.
  • Avoid personal contact at all times. This includes, but is not limited to, high-fives, handshaking, and fist-bumping.
  • For performances, competitions, and other music events held in a facility, the facility hosting the event must follow the current Directive for Large Outdoor Venues or Large Indoor Venues (when playing woodwind and brass is allowed to be moved indoors). Spectators are covered under these Directives.
  • Concession Stands may operate but must follow all applicable sections of the Directive for Resuming Restaurant Dine-In Operations.
  • Group size should be sufficiently limited to maintain 6 feet between each person, including staff.
  • Practice is allowed for participants of any age. However, participants should refrain if:
    • They are 65 years of age or older.
    • They have underlying health conditions including high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, severe obesity, asthma or weakened immunity

In addition to the General Requirements:

  • Musician group size should be sufficiently limited to maintain at least 6 feet between each person, including staff. For choral musicians, a minimum of 12 feet is required.
  • Masks are required for all singers.
  • Wind instrument musicians must wear a mask with a slit or a flap for the mouthpiece. Flutists and piccoloists can slide the instrument in the side of the mask.
  • Bell covers are highly recommended as "masks" for wind instruments. Bell covers can be made of multi-layered high denier nylon material and provide a barrier for aerosols.
  • Distance completely around that of flutists, piccoloists and choral musicians should be 12 feet because of the intensity of the airstream.
  • Trombones should have an additional three feet of distancing making their space 9 feet by 6 feet.
  • Practice and performance, including woodwind and brass instruments and choirs, must be held outdoors at this time.
    • String players, percussionists, and auxiliary units are allowed to practice indoors with appropriate distancing of at least 6 feet and wearing face masks.
    • Swabbing and removal of water from wind instruments must take place outdoors, using a disposable product (such as paper towels or puppy pad) which is placed in a plastic bag and thrown away.

These Guidelines will continue to be updated as it becomes necessary.