Band students ordered to ‘fake play’ music amid Omicron — Analysis
Massachusetts schools ban children from blowing in their instruments. This is due to the spread of Covid-19 variants.
Administrators are now requesting that students in band classes within a Boston suburb school system be quieter. This is to avoid the spread Covid-19.
Grade school students in Wilmington, Massachusetts, have been barred from blowing into woodwind or brass instruments – such as trumpets, clarinets, flutes and trombones – during classroom lessons, according to an alleged district email published by Bring Kids Back MA, a parent group that has advocated for in-person classes during the pandemic.
Students are expected to assemble their instruments, except mouthpieces, and move their fingers across the keys to simulate playing during exercises and songs, according to the email, which hasn’t been confirmed by the district so far. Students must wear masks all the time. Percussion students will be free to play their instruments as usual, since banging drums and cymbals doesn’t involve “blowing aerosols into the classroom.”
We are not going to let our previous insanity get us down. @WilmingtonPS. In Wilmington, MA students are now “NOT permitted to play/blow into their instruments”. Yep. They’re making students “fake play” their woodwind instruments because it will “lead to keeping our students safer” 🤯 pic.twitter.com/jouFTblUnj
— Bring Kids Back MA (@BringKidsBackMA) January 2, 2022
“We have determined that while not optimal for music education, these steps will lead to keeping our students safer right now,”According to the email. The district cited the rapid spread of Omicron and relatively low vaccination rates among grade school students, who haven’t been eligible to get Covid-19 jabs as long as older children.
As noted by the Post Millennial, which reported on the Wilmington email earlier on Monday, the district made no mention of guidelines for band performances, where audiences presumably wouldn’t appreciate fake playing. The expectation is that students will practice at home and then play them at school.
Covid-19 mitigation measures are particularly challenging for bands classes due to the possibility for virus droplets from wind instruments spreading through the air. Sometimes, students were required to use masks with openings for their instruments.
Last year, Wenatchee school, Washington was ridiculed online for requiring its students to use their instruments in small, distant tents.