Music, theater classes, performances return to Rhode Island schools

RIDE releases updated guidance after lobbying from teachers’ group

Posted 2/22/21

EAST PROVIDENCE — Spurred on by calls from the Rhode Island Music Education Association the Rhode Island Department of Education last week announced updated guidance for group performances amid …

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Music, theater classes, performances return to Rhode Island schools

RIDE releases updated guidance after lobbying from teachers’ group

Posted

EAST PROVIDENCE — Spurred on by calls from the Rhode Island Music Education Association the Rhode Island Department of Education last week announced updated guidance for group performances amid the COVID-19 pandemic, including school bands and choruses.

RIDE and the R.I. Department of Health developed the revised guidance in consultation with the RIMEA to provide safe and practical ways for students and teachers to conduct music classes and performances.

“RIMEA extends its thanks to the students, teachers and parents that spoke out about the need for curriculum-based music instruction that includes performance,” said David Neves, Advocacy Chair at RIMEA. “Music is an essential part of students’ education and well-being. We extend our gratitude to the team at RIDE and RIDOH for collaborating with us to update the guidance and look forward to our continued partnership in all music education related matters moving forward.”

According to the RIMEA, since the onset of COVID-19 last spring there has been ongoing research into the development of mitigation strategies to enable music performance in our schools. Recommendations from RIMEA and the International Coalition Performing Arts Aerosol Study were incorporated into Rhode Island’s latest guidance.

The organization cited a significant drop in students playing music during the current 2020-21 term compared to last. In March of 2020, 25,000 students in Rhode Island were singing and playing instruments in our schools every day. This term, after most schools had implemented RIDE recommendations from last summer, that number has been reduced to just 7,700 students participating or a reduction of 70%, according to a RIMEA survey of R.I. music educators. With the updated guidelines, the RIMEA is seeking a reversal of that reduction over the remainder of the ’20-21 term.

“Through music, students have a chance to express themselves, develop and demonstrate their skills, and connect with each other, their school and community” said Patricia Kammerer, RIMEA Advocacy Co-Chair. “Student musicians gain important experiences allowing them to reflect on their own well-being, their relationships with others, and their capability to make decisions - so important during the COVID era.”

Ms. Kammerer added “Whether a student’s passion is on the playing field or on the chorus riser they should be given the respect they deserve to pursue their dreams.”

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