Fall Rehearsals and COVID Precautions

As we return to indoor rehearsals and performances for the fall of 2021, the coronavirus pandemic continues to pose a significant safety risk and a threat to our ability to continue making music together. For the safety of all members and our audiences, and to give us the best chance to continue rehearsing and performing together, we must take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within our group and in the community.

Beginning this month, we are asking that all members be vaccinated to participate in rehearsals and performances. The nature of playing wind instruments increases the potential for spread of viral particles in the air, while also making it difficult to use other protections like facial coverings. The best tool we have to protect everyone is vaccination.

The consensus among medical professionals, scientists, and public health officials is that they are safe and highly effective. They are free and widely available now to everyone in the range of ages that make up our membership, and in many locations an appointment is not required. If you are not yet fully vaccinated or have a medical condition that prevents you from being vaccinated, a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of a band event will be an acceptable alternative.

The safety of those who are most vulnerable depends on the behavior of those around them. Many of our regular performance venues — nursing homes and retirement communities — provide us with some of our most enthusiastic audiences, but they remain among the more vulnerable. Many of our members are also older or have compromised immune systems. And we are guests in the Canfield school system, where our actions can impact the students and the teachers and their ability to have a normal school year.

Additional changes may be necessary and we may have to adapt as the local transmission rates change. Members should continue taking other sensible precautions and be responsible for their own health and how it impacts the group. Continue good hand hygiene and avoid sharing high-touch items that might spread germs. Monitor for symptoms such as fever and respiratory problems and don't attend a band event if you exhibit any symptoms or have reason to believe you were exposed.

The decision to ask members to follow these protocols was not taken lightly and we hope that we can all act together for the good of the entire band. We all have many responsibilities in a musical ensemble. We are only successful when we all work together.

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