COVID and the Music Dept. (Back to school, Sept. 2020) (updated Sept. 2, 2020)

SEPT. 2 UPDATE: We have created a COVID Safety Protocol for the Music Dept. It can be found HERE

I want to reach out to all of our students and families in the GWG Music Dept. and hopefully answer some questions about the upcoming school. As you probably know by now all secondary schools in Chilliwack will be running an 8 semester system. Students will have one course, 5.5 hours a day, for 21 or 22 days straight. At that time the course will be complete and students will move onto their next course. As you also probably know, this is less than ideal for a performing arts program where we need time to learn, practice and process as we work towards performances.
My goal for the 2020/2021 school year is to try to create normalcy in a school year that will be anything but normal. This will require flexibility, patience and compromising from teachers, students and families. Ultimately nothing would bring me more joy than holding our year-end concerts in June in person, celebrating all our students and sharing our music with family and friends.

While I don’t have all the answers here’s what I can share with you:

Are music classes running at GWG?
YES! All music courses will be running. This includes all outside-the-timetable courses, instrumental survey, music comp etc.

How will we be kept safe in the music room?
The Music Dept will be using the guideline created by the BC Music Educators Association (BCMEA) in conjunction with the BC Center for Disease Control and BC Medical Health Officials. That information can be found HERE.
Smaller ensembles (Jazz Band, Vocal Jazz, Pep Band etc) will be able to comfortably distance within the music room.
All music students will be given a bell cover as well for their primary instrument for rehearsals outside their cohort. (These will arrive late Sept).
If students are comfortable we do ask that you wear a mask during work periods and while singing.

What is happening with outside-the-timetable (OOT) classes?
All OOT classes will run year long. These courses will be scheduled before and after school but students and families should anticipate a different schedule than in years past. We are working to get that out as soon as possible.

My performance class (band, jazz band, etc) is inside the timetable, is it not running year long?
This is where we will require some flexibility and adaptability from students and families. Band can’t be done in 22 days. As we know from experience it’s a year long process that culminates in outstanding performances in June.
Inside-the-timetable classes will continue to run year around with 1 rehearsal a week scheduled outside the regular school day (before or after school). This will allow us to continue our musical journey together throughout the school year and also give students a mental break when they are on day 18 of a course that’s not their favorite!
If things start to improve it will also allow our performing groups to perform in festivals in the Spring, give public concerts and possibly travel.
When you have that class inside the timetable there will not be an extra rehearsal (EX: SWE runs in the timetable in Sept., therefor SWE will not have OOT rehearsals until after Octet #1 is complete).

What about trips?
At this point we are not allowed to travel at all for school related functions. If things change and restrictions open up we will look into things in the Spring.

Will we be performing?
As stated above, my dream is 2 final concerts in June to showcase our amazing students but parents/families will still have opportunites to hear their son/daughter perform.
At the end of each Octet the ensemble will record the music they’ve been studying and the recording will be posted on our website for families and friends to enjoy.
OOT courses will work towards 4 recorded performances that would follow the timeline of a typical school year.

I’m supposed to be in Music course X but it’s not on my schedule!
Contact your counselor ASAP and get the switch made (this includes students who have been accepted into Instrumental Survey). Once courses start on Sept. 10th students will not be able to make any changes.

I will continue to update this post as more information comes to light. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any question or concerns or would just like clarification about something.

Stay safe! I can’t wait to start working with you all in September.
-Mr. Monkman

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