Phase 3 Guidance Shifts

September 16, 2020. Email from Dr. Cade Brumley to the LMEA Executive Board.

Good Morning, Music Educators.

I am writing this morning to provide your organization information relative to the adjusted Strong Start guidance concerning singing and wind-blown instruments.

As you are aware, we have worked alongside our medical partners for months to develop resources, tools, minimum health standards, guidelines, and much more. We have also learned the fluid nature of the virus as we’ve had to make shifts along the way as dictated by science.

This summer, we released guidelines with our partners at the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH). All of these efforts, along with strong collaboration with system and school leaders, have allowed us to transition into the school year across the state in a meaningful way.

Last week, Governor Edwards announced our state’s move from Phase 2 to Phase 3. This was a great day because this announcement indicated he believed, based on his medical experts, our state was ready to make this shift. I had been advocating that our schools could accommodate the shift successfully because of our successful efforts during Phase 2.

Upon his announcements, we shared the three primary shifts from Phase 2 to Phase 3 (Group Size Increased from 25 to 50 Individuals, Transportation Occupancy increased from 50% to 75% on a Bus, and Loosened Restrictions for Band/Choir). On Friday afternoon, the Louisiana Fire Marshal, in conjunction with the Louisiana Department of Health and the Office of the Governor, updated the reopening Louisiana guidelines to no longer allow singing and wind-blown instruments indoors. This decision was made, as I am told, because there have been “super-spreader” events linked to singing/wind-blown instruments indoors. Over the weekend, we at the LDOE were notified by the LDH of the change and our need to adjust our guidelines. On Monday, we worked with LDH to ensure that we could maintain bands and singing outdoors and were able to get that confirmed. I am thankful that all singing and band activities are allowable outside, so long as participants are socially-distanced. On Tuesday, we made the adjustment to our Strong Start guidelines and our lengthy FAQ document.

I, like you, am disappointed that we are now unable to have singing and wind-blown instruments indoors. However, the medical experts have detailed these shifts based on evolving information on the virus and an effort to keep our students and music educators safe in classrooms. As time passes and if we are increasingly successful in battling this virus, I’m hopeful we can see loosened restrictions that allow for more freedom with band, singing, group sizes, and all other impacted facets of life. In the long-term, I remain prayerful for a vaccine for this virus.

This is a challenging year as we’re all in uncharted territory. Our Louisiana school leaders, educators, and staff are heroes as we have found ways to keep each other safe while also providing much-needed educational activities. Like so many other adjustments, I’m sure you and our music educators across the state will find a way to make necessary adjustments to keep the music playing.

My office is here to support and we remain thankful to you all, 

Dr. Cade Brumley
State Superintendent
Louisiana Department of Education