SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The coronavirus pandemic is strong enough to stop a decades-long tradition for Sioux Falls Schools.
“Students should not play recorders in school until further notice,” the Sioux Falls School District’s Ready To Learn (RTL) plan said.
Recorders have been given to elementary students for multiple generations as an introduction to instruments and more organized performance.
But coronavirus hasn’t killed all music inside the schools.
The RTL draft plan for 2020-2021 allows for music but wants it to be performed through face coverings.
Students in band and choir should be playing their instrument and singing with a face covering on, according to the RTL. The face covering for band should have a mouthpiece slit, the plan said.
School district decisions on band, orchestra and choir impact a potential 5,043 students, which is the total number of middle and high school students who participated in the marching band, orchestra and choir programs in 2019-2020, according to the school district.
During the 2019-2020 school year, 1,395 middle school students participated in choir while 680 high school students did.
The marching band program in the middle school had 1,330 participants while the high school had 597 participants, according to the school district.
The middle school orchestra program had 743 students while 298 high school students participated in orchestra.
The RTL plan is at least 100 pages. It explains how instruction will be provided during the coronavirus pandemic in the 2020-2021 school year. Plans include in person instruction in the buildings, blended models with only a percentage of students in a building at one time on a rotating basis and remote learning. The district’s Virtual Academy is also an option for students.
The learning plan used by the district depends on several factors including community COVID-19 rates and student and staff absentee rates. The plan can be changed and must be approved by the school board.
Elementary music teachers should try to provide each student with a music kit of items used in music class. Also, those items must be disinfected before shared.
All levels of music must have a seating plan that meets distance guidelines for face-to-face instruction. In some cases, the arc of seating will be changed in favor of rows of forward seats.
From elementary through high school, music students must be placed in rows facing the same direction and not arcs.
At all levels, students should not be sharing music stands or sheet music.
Instructors will make weekly video lessons while students are in blended or remote learning modes for beginning band and orchestra students.
Physical education will still happen and the RTL plan outlines structure that appears to apply when students are in the building and to elementary and middle school students.
P.E. teachers must consider the use of outdoor space when possible.
The P.E. instruction system is also broken into four color groups of green, yellow, orange and red with green being the least restrictive.
Green is the “Traditional Physical Education Environment. This could include students sharing equipment and space with all students in the classroom,” the RTL plan said.
But, even with green, rope, tape or signs, will identify social distancing spaces.
Yellow would allow small groups of students to share different equipment but
not with the whole class.
Orange allows one student to work out with equipment and no sharing.
Red is an individual workout with no use of equipment.