Is it safe? This is a question I hear over and over again from parents. Not just at CCC, but my own friends. Is the zoo safe? Is daycare safe? What about a haircut or the gym? I wish I could tell you yes or no, but the answer just isn’t that simple. Let me walk you through what I do know, how I make my decisions for my own family, and how CCC is moving forward.
The first thing to know is that safety and ways to mitigate risk are a moving target. If you did your research and made your decisions in June, that’s like using a flip phone when we’ve all moved on to an iPhone 11. Don’t get me wrong. That information wasn’t necessarily bad or wrong, we’re just learning more everyday. That’s why CCC is keeping up-to-date with all of the most credible research. The good news is that research indicates that there are precautions we can take to make situations safer.
What should you be looking for? Only you know your risk tolerance, and a lot of that will have to do with the health of the folks you interact with daily. But generally you want to look for well thought out and clearly communicated procedures. Is your salon asking you to wait in your car until they are ready for you? Did they communicate that clearly and with a plan? That’s a great sign. Some of things I look for are clear masking expectations, clear social distancing expectations, limits on occupancy, and limits on time spent in any one space. If an organization, business, or activity has communicated these basics, they are making your safety a priority. Measures that go above and beyond would be additional ventilation and air purifiers, temperature checks, and a set time for spaces to remain empty between use to let aerosols clear.
Personally, I’m a little on the cautious side. That probably comes from the early safety concerns surrounding singing. All of us at CCC had a vested interest in learning as much as we could, so we could keep our singers and families safe.
That brings me to CCC. What are we doing and how are we moving forward? It’s really one day at a time and being ready to respond to new research, new state and local guidelines, and of course the level of infection in our community.
Our plan is a phased return to in-person rehearsals. The New World Singers will be the first choir to begin in-person rehearsals and after monitoring and adjusting protocols as necessary, we will begin to bring each choir back. As choirs return in-person, they will be broken into small sectionals that allow for social distancing. Our rehearsals are limited to one-hour with a room change at 30 minutes. Those rooms will remain empty, with medical grade air purifiers for 30 minutes in-between rehearsals to allow for aerosols to disperse. Our singers and staff are wearing masks and have their temperatures taken when they arrive.
Is it overkill? We don’t think so and neither do the American Choral Directors Association and countless university research teams. Is it inconvenient? You bet. But getting back to making music is worth it. Being able to give back to our community is worth it. And most of all, the safety of our singers and families is worth it.
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