Over the past few months, MCA has been working on finding ways to change public perception that choral singing is a dangerous activity. We have written several times to the Government of Manitoba to urge them to work with the choral community to develop safe guidelines to resume choral activities. We even met with the Minister of Health, Seniors & Active Living, the Minister of Education, and Chief Provincial Public Health Officer, Dr. Brent Roussin.
We are pleased to report that last week, the Province released COVID-19 K-12 School Settings Practice Guidance and Protocols, which details safety precautions that music classes should follow when resuming these activities in the fall. This followed the Manitoba Music Educators’ Association document Returning to Manitoba Music Classrooms: Recommendations for school reopening, which offers an in-depth look at how to structure choral classrooms to abide by safety recommendations emerging from the latest research. While it is still up to individual school divisions to decide how they will implement these measures, it is encouraging to see that Manitoba is keeping choir in mind when planning for a safe return to schools.
There is still work to be done though: MCA is advocating for the Phase 2 Guidelines for Vocalists & Instrumentalists to be updated with recommendations from recent reputable studies. We continue to share up-to-date research with government officials as it becomes available. Recently we shared a summary of the preliminary results from an aerosol study commissioned by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) and a coalition of more than 125 performing arts organizations. To read a summary of the study’s preliminary findings, click here.
We invite you to get involved: write to your MLA, the Minister of Health and the Minister of Education to share your support for the safe resumption of community choral activities!