For the past 10 weeks, Arkansas has been on strict guidelines to limit the spread of COVID-19. Restaurants, movie theaters, salons, and non-essential businesses have been closed per the direction of the President and the Governor. Schools have been moved to online learning and sports have been cancelled for the rest of the school year. Seniors have missed out on Prom and have to wait till after July 4th for graduation. During this time, students have been asking whether or not they will return to school in the fall or if there will be a marching season.
On May 21st, Governor Asa Hutchinson released the state’s directive for community and school sponsored sports teams. In this directive, he addressed when school sports teams could return to practice and how those practices should look. This directive also included the practice guidelines for Marching Band. These guidelines will be effective starting June 1st, 2020.
Regarding Marching Band, the directive stated,
“This directive allows bands to practice marching and the use of non-wind instruments. However, due to the potential for increased production of respiratory droplets in wind instruments, they should not be used at this time.”
The directive also came with General Requirements. Here are those that might affect Marching Band:
- Maintain physical distancing except when actively participating in the sports activity.
- Athletes, Coaches, and All Staff must be screened for temperature and symptoms prior to any activity.
- Face coverings required for everyone 10 years of age or older.
- Use of showers or other similar equipment are prohibited.
- Locker rooms may only be used for storage of personal items.
- Sports equipment, restrooms, lockers, water fountains, and other high touch surfaces must be sanitized frequently.
- For games, competitions, and other athletic events held in a facility, the facility hosting the event must follow the current Directive for Large Indoor or Large Outdoor Venues.
- Concession Stands may operate but must follow all applicable sections of the Directive for Resuming Restaurant Dine-In Operations.
- Individuals must practice with their own equipment or disinfect any equipment that is shared
- Practice is okay with limited group size and distancing
- Dancers may practice under gym directive
ADH will continue to closely monitor the evolving novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. These measures will remain in place until data on the severity of the local COVID-19 epidemic indicate it is safe to further relax measures. This Directive will be reevaluated on June 30, 2020.
These are the current measures that the state is taking to prevent the spread and effort to keep students safe from COVID-19. This is not the end all and the new norm for Marching Band. Let’s be optimistic about what Marching Band and school will look like in the fall. Arkansas River Valley Bands will keep you updated on how the state plans to continue to re open and phase us back into school and marching band.