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Covid-19 Guideline FACT Request

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  • Covid-19 Guideline FACT Request

    As our church opens, and I am asked to provide guidance for the music of the church, a school, a performing organization where I'm on the board, and a performing organization where I'm a member; I am at a loss for FACTS when it comes to Covid-19 and those who perform. The US CDC has guidelines for those attending performances, but absolutely no guidance for those performing. My State CDC and Health Organizations also have the same vacuum of factual information when it comes to offering guidelines to those providing programming. I found one article from the New York City area referring to choral members as super-spreaders, but there were no references to support their statements on the website.

    I did find one local Pubic Health official who understood my question, and as a church choir member understood my dilemma. She has directed a question regarding same to our governor and our State CDC spokesman, but didn't have answers either. We did wonder if studies/guidelines exist regarding the spread of Tuberculosis, as that is also an airborn pathogen that has made a comeback, but so far we've found none.

    Has anyone heard FACTUAL (rather than ancedotal) information regarding the appropriate distances and/or protections which need to take place for those offering programming? In the fall, I'm considering NOT having a band or choral program in school because of the possibility of spread–that's the last sort of publicity we need as a school. Having the FACTS now would be most helpful in making decisions regarding upcoming events.

    I do realize that FACTUAL information is a moving target as things change by each region, but I can't help but believe there is something out there. Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

    Michael
    Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
    • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
    • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
    • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos

  • #2
    I feel the same way. There are all kinds of scary stories out there, and conflicting theories of what activities may spread COVID, whether or not singing is allowable, or if singing is the worst thing you can do! I'd suggest that you Google around for some concrete guidelines issued by various states. And err on the side of caution.

    Here in Arkansas, the governor has issued specific guidelines for churches, including that there should be a distance of at least 12 feet from the front-most row of seating to anyone leading in a service (presumably he means preaching, singing a solo or directing singing, or even playing an instrument). Honestly, I have no idea where these recommendations came from, but in general our man has based his directives on guidance from the CDC and other agencies.

    So at least here, the rule is that people in the pews must be seated 6 feet apart (in all directions) except for families, who may sit together. And there must be at least 12 feet of clear space from the chancel to the first row of seats that will be in use. We are also asked to have everyone masked EXCEPT when performing actual leadership duties, such as singing or preaching, and to provide masks to those who may show up for church without one. Hand sanitizer to be available throughout the church, and signs are to be posted conspicuously reminding people of the 6 foot distancing. There will be no small groups or classes held, no child care or nursery, no youth activities or trips, nothing that involves food. Greeting and visiting must be done outdoors.

    The guidelines call for no passing of trays, so offering and communion have to be done differently. Also, no use of hymnals or Bibles unless brought from home, and all surfaces in the building are to be regularly sanitized.

    It all sounds so sterile and clinical, I just don't know how it's going to work out. I don't plan to try having choir. Only about four choir members could be in the loft and still be spaced 6 feet apart in all directions. But I suppose it will be better than nothing. Not everybody is going to come under these conditions, and there are people who probably shouldn't come -- the oldest, those with frail health -- but strangely enough, some of those are so devoted and faithful they are likelier to show up than the healthy young families!

    Good luck. I look forward to seeing what others may post here.
    John
    ----------
    *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

    Comment


    • #3
      WAY over here in Washington, churches have just been allowed to open and we are simply following 6 ft. apart and no contact. We are just following what participants of the Mass have to follow. I think you'll have quite a bit of trouble finding performers' guidelines, but good luck. Hope I helped (a tiny, little, minuscular bit).
      “I play the notes as they are written, but it is God who makes the music.” - Johann Sebastian Bach
      Organs I Play:
      - Allen 2100(T); 1951 M.P. Moller, 3 manual, 55 stop, 28 ranks, (Opus 8152); and 1965 Balcom and Vaughan 3 manual, 34 stops, 25 ranks (Opus 690)

      Comment


      • Philip Powell
        Philip Powell commented
        Editing a comment
        Also, I want to praise Donald Trump for calling churches essential. Whoop, whoop!!

    • #4
      Choirs are super spreaders. Think about the difference between singing and talking. This is old news:
      The deadly outbreak among members of a choir has stunned health officials, who have concluded that the virus was almost certainly transmitted through the air from one or more people without symptoms.
      -Admin

      Allen 965
      Zuma Group Midi Keyboard Encoder
      Zuma Group DM Midi Stop Controller
      Hauptwerk 4.2

      Comment


      • myorgan
        myorgan commented
        Editing a comment
        Admin,

        And that's one of the reasons I'm looking for SPECIFIC guidance from those who have studied the medical implications more than I have. Music is my area of expertise. Medical is their area of expertise.

        After my post, our Governor confessed in the daily briefing that (s)he has been in contact with a specific group I've worked with, and the head of the group is a friend of mine. At one time, he was a church music director, so I'm going to e-mail him and see if he can get the issue on the Governor's radar. Churches needs to know, schools need to know, symphonies need to know, bands need to know, and theatre groups need to know. And that is just the groups in my area! I can only imagine how many other groups across the US (& world) could benefit from such research.

        Michael

    • #5
      I'm sorry but I think your nuts.

      Comment


      • samibe
        samibe commented
        Editing a comment
        Who is this a response for?

    • #6
      Below is a link to the CDC report on choir super-spreaders. The CDC has also issued guidelines for faith-based communities. While there is nothing specific regarding choirs, the guidelines include face-masks and social distancing. Why wouldn't they apply to singers?
      The act of singing, itself, might have contributed to transmission through emission of aerosols, which is affected by loudness of vocalization (1). Certain persons, known as superemitters, who release more aerosol particles during speech than do their peers, might have contributed to this and previously reported COVID-19 superspreading events (2–5). These data demonstrate the high transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 and the possibility of superemitters contributing to broad transmission in certain unique activities and circumstances. It is recommended that persons avoid face-to-face contact with others, not gather in groups, avoid crowded places, maintain physical distancing of at least 6 feet to reduce transmission, and wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
      -Admin

      Allen 965
      Zuma Group Midi Keyboard Encoder
      Zuma Group DM Midi Stop Controller
      Hauptwerk 4.2

      Comment


      • myorgan
        myorgan commented
        Editing a comment
        Admin,

        Thank you so much for the FACTUAL information. Unfortunately, it doesn't recommend any extra measures in such situations (i.e. recommending 10ft. distancing vs. 6ft. distancing for choirs or speakers), but at least it provides some facts and general recommendations.

        Hopefully, the CDC or others will come up with more in the near future, as the congregation/students/audience, etc. will only be as safe as the performers/band/choir or other members have been trained to be, short of cancelling the scheduled event/service/practice/school, etc.

        Michael

    • #7
      If you go to the CDC link in Admin's post, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/faith-based.html you will find two ways to contact the CDC (800 number and email). I suggest that you send them the information in your original post and see what they can tell you.

      Best wishes as you try to sort this out.
      Bill

      My home organ: Content M5800 as a midi controller for Hauptwerk

      Comment


      • myorgan
        myorgan commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks for the recommendation, Bill. I actually did call the CDC as a school professional, and she started reading from the document I had already found. The "lady" didn't seem to get that I wasn't talking about the audience/attendees–rather, I'm talking about the performers and those who prepare for an event. Surely, they need to take extra precautions in preparing and executing an event, but it would be very helpful to know specifically what those precautions should be (i.e. double recommended distances?). Our Band has been requested to present a program to a nursing home, but we want to be absolutely sure we will not be/cannot be responsible for creating any danger for them. Imagine the negative PR that would result!

        Michael

    • #8
      Michael, my cousin arranged for a brass quintet to play for a local nursing home. They played outside while the residents of the facility listened from their balconies. Does the nursing home have an outdoor courtyard, or garden that could be the performance venue? Of course, that does not answer the question of how you conduct a practice session.

      There is a department of the CDC which may have better information for you. Here is a link to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). A section of their website is devoted to publications. It may take some digging, but you might find something there.

      https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/
      Bill

      My home organ: Content M5800 as a midi controller for Hauptwerk

      Comment


      • myorgan
        myorgan commented
        Editing a comment
        Excellent information, Bill. Thank YOU!

        As I understand it, we'll be playing for 2-3 nursing homes in their outdoor courtyards. Some have balconies and some don't. As several members of our Concert Band are also in the at-risk categoy, as a board member, I want to be sure we're being as protective of them as we should be.

        Thanks again for the link.

        Michael

    • #9
      Michael, after doing a bit more research, I found a few resources that may be helpful to you. They are:

      The High School Band Director's National Association has Covid 19 documents here: https://hsbdna.org/covid-19-%26-band-education

      The College Band Directors National Association https://www.cbdna.org/ is participating with a number of performing arts organizations that have joined forces to commission a study on the effects of COVID-19 on the return to the rehearsal hall. This is an international group. They have links to the study group.

      The American Bandmasters Association http://www.americanbandmasters.org/ is working with Purdue University "to create the ABA COVID-19 Discussion Forum. https://band-chat-2020.freeforums.net/ This online Forum, open to ABA members and non-members, will allow Response Team members to engage in conversations with band directors and administrators, share challenges and ideas, learn from each other and provide support."

      Here are some resources from the American Choral Directors Association: https://choralnet.org/?s=covid

      I hope you can find some useful information in one or more of these resources.


      Bill

      My home organ: Content M5800 as a midi controller for Hauptwerk

      Comment


      • myorgan
        myorgan commented
        Editing a comment
        Again, thank you for these excellent resources, Bill!

        Michael

    • #10
      There are no resources, factual or otherwise that can help someone in an administrative position, because even the esteemed Dr. Fauci has not much more than his experience with OTHER illnesses somewhat similar to Covid-19 to work with. Quite simply put there has never been anything like Covid-19 in human history so there isn't anyway that anyone can compile a list of best practices that makes any sense. Every month brings some new aspect of this disease to light. Some new way it can kill. Some new age group it can infect. Some new detail about its transmissability. Incubation period. How can any list of best practices be compiled as a 'resource'? Obviously some have done just that. Do I trust them? Not really. I am sure they mean well but I doubt they can do more than I can just from studying what information comes from Public Health authorities directly from CNN and other media sources.

      Our Bishop is suggesting opening churches to 10 or fewer people, and no one over age 60. I think that's like 8 people at our church. Oh, no singing. No wind instruments. That I kind of get but ... why not wait until church can be done right? I mean ... 8 people, none of them musicians ... we may as well continue the YouTube services for as long as it takes. Michael ... if you think about it ... there is no re-opening. No practical re-opening. Not while there is no vaccine. You cannot confine any number of people in a closed space for the length of even a short service and not have some spread.

      I personally think we are wrong to be putting all our eggs in the vaccine basket. Personally, I think this time, like never before, the answer looks like a cure. A treatment. Something that makes sick people better! Maybe that looks like a super anti-inflammatory, or steroidal immune system suppressant. On the pre-exposure prophylaxis side, if the big brains in Big Pharma were thinking outside the box, maybe they could come up with some kind of nasal spray anti-viral that people could use in public. Maybe the highly regarded N95 face masks could be manufactured in quantities and made re-usable.

      At the end of the day is the thing we all keep missing: 80% of us are totally immune and of the 20% that aren't only a small fraction of them (us?) are in any real danger. We should know who that is!!! I have to think it is more efficient to use a vaccine on only those people that need it! But no, I have heard principals at the companies vying to get a vaccine to market thinking in terms of Billions of doses. Let's get real. They can't pull that off. They would love that kind of monopoly but they can't handle it. By the time we realize they have failed us (again) ... ...

      There are Antigen tests that can tell you if you have natural immunity, but none are reliable. All have now been discredited Fix that? I haven't heard a word about Antigen testing in over a week. It was hot and then peoples expectations were managed downward until the only thing anyone can think about is vaccine, vaccine, vaccine. Guess what though ... this new illness that is affecting young people. They all test negative for Covid. It was Antigen testing that showed that they really did have Covid. More accurately, their immune systems cleared them of Covid virus but then went out of control making them very, very sick. Obviously, when it counts, hospitals can get their hands on Antigen tests that work. I'd love to know why the general public is being discouraged from knowing if they have been exposed, if they can generate immunity (or not), without a vaccine.

      Oh dear ... I've been ranting ...

      Comment


      • #11
        Here's a relevant article. https://www.washingtonpost.com/healt...=nl_tyh&wpmk=1

        The site is metered,

        Comment


        • #12
          Thanks to Bill's links above, I was able to find numerous first-hand research on the topic. In fact, I was able to read about the investigation after TB spread in a military band, and to learn how it spread in the band setting. Aerosols are the primary concern, and while nothing specific has been researched (that I found), the factual considerations were discussed.

          It was also interesting to learn UVC light in the 254-26? nm range can be used to deactivate the virus' RNA molecule. The concern, however, is whether UVC light in that range will be dangerous to humans (no studies done yet–they're still at the mouse phases). Because UVC light can be installed in a flourescent fixture, there are possibilities once that research has completed.

          I never understood why different advisors advised group gatherings outside, but now I do. Exposure to UVC via sunlight (the type that causes cancer and sunburns) also deactivates the virus. Turns out those old folks were onto something–drying their laundry by draping it over bushes outside!

          Again, thank you to all who submitted FACTUAL information rather than opinion or conjecture above. Many of the links Bill provided are not static and will be morphing over time as more information becomes available. I now feel much more comfortable advising groups, to which I belong, as well as providing music for our first return church service tomorrow AM.

          THANK YOU, BILL!!!

          Michael
          Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
          • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
          • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
          • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos

          Comment


          • #13
            Two links to share.

            First, an article from 9 May 2020
            https://www.pressherald.com/2020/05/...uhStK2BHbooTk#

            Second, an Event Safety Guide from The Event Safety Alliance.
            https://webmail.bell.net/appsuite/ap...&delivery=view
            If that link doesn't work you may have to download the guide from the Event Safety Alliance website, for which you do need to supply contact info.
            https://www.eventsafetyalliance.org/...t-safety-guide

            From that guide, here is a relevant passage.
            :
            Social Distancing Musicians. The authoritative guidance requiring not less than six feet (two meters) of social distance may have to be expanded for singers and musical instrument players. Musicians often breathe deeply and expel aerosols further than people engaged in non-physical activities. Their performance space, including on stage and in orchestra pits, should be arranged to maximize social distancing while allowing at least some of them to perform together.

            Comment


            • #14
              Originally posted by regeron View Post
              Regeron,

              You surprise me–quoting a month-old, opinion piece, from a Boston North paper known for its fiction. Normally, your responses are well-researched. Unfortunately, very little in the article was factual. Of course, they should know more about Covid and how to spread it, because they account for over half the current cases and deaths in Maine so far (https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/inf...html#situation), yet only 1/5 of the overall population! Instead of dealing with the issue at hand, they accept defeat and deflect it to–the poor Internet connections in Maine.

              Perhaps they're not aware that every public school and library in the State of Maine has had at least a 20 Gigabit fiber uplink to the Internet through the University of Maine system for the last 5+ years. The issue is not the speed of one's Internet connection–it's the transmission of Covid in public places and performances, and how to mitigate that spread. It will NOT mean young people in the music education profession will lose their jobs–it just means they'll need to become well-rounded and creative in what they teach, instead of becoming a giant silo in one content area. The 3 comments to the article (before they closed them) show the public's reaction to the article–fear and despair.

              Covid will also be a boon to programs who choose to implement strings, piano/keyboard, and guitar programs because those music programs do not spread Covid any greater distance than in the regular classroom.

              The best resources I've found so far are:Alternately, the University of Maine, the University of Colorado, and other colleges/universities across the Nation are conducting double-blind studies on the topic, and will present their findings when they are complete in a month or two. That will be in time for the start of the new school year, will provide factual information, and will also allow at least a month (or more) for educators to prepare music education programs to open in the Fall.

              Michael
              Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
              • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
              • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
              • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos

              Comment

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