Suffolk Youth Music update

Posted by Suffolk County Music Service on 23 July 2020 | Comments

Plans for Suffolk Youth Music (SYM) in the Autumn Term 2020 

As you know schools and educational settings are all planning for how we return safely in September. Part of this work is to make our provision and settings as secure as possible to stop the spread of Covid-19. 

We are working with colleagues in the Local Authority to complete our risk assessments to support activity that we are now allowed to run under the Government’s current guidance.

This guidance states that at present: 

Schools should note that there may be an additional risk of infection in environments where you or others are singing, chanting, playing wind or brass instruments or shouting. This applies even if individuals are at a distance. Schools should consider how to reduce the risk, particularly when pupils are playing instruments or singing in small groups such as in music lessons by, for example, physical distancing and playing outside wherever possible, limiting group sizes to no more than 15, positioning pupils back-to-back or side-to-side, avoiding sharing of instruments, and ensuring good ventilation. Singing, wind and brass playing should not take place in larger groups such as school choirs and ensembles, or school assemblies.  

It finishes by assuring us that further detailed DfE guidance will be published shortly, and we expect this at some point in August. 

In addition to the above guidance, the return to face-to-face SYM activity will also be dependent on the availability and risk assessment of our rehearsal venues. This includes the ability within each venue to accommodate the distancing guidelines for musicians (which is 3 metres per player for some instruments), and requirements for logistical organisation of spaces, and enhanced cleaning etc.   

Most of our venues are not in the position to accept external bookings yet. Consequently, it remains unclear as to which groups might return in the autumn term and how this will happen.

Whilst we continue our planning for safe return to ‘live’ music making, working with our usual rehearsal venue providers, we have decided to postpone the start of the SYM autumn term in September. 

For members having instrumental and vocal lessons with us online, this will be continuing next academic year; we will be in touch about this. 

We will write to all of you again, hopefully ahead of September, with more detailed news of when, and how, we will return. Currently we envisage this will be in smaller (sectional) groups of up to 15 players for wind, brass, and singers. 

In that communication we hope to also be able to share the process of re-enrolment. We will certainly keep developing our online offers until we can all meet face-to-face. To be involved we will have to manage enrolment of musicians (as we would usually) into the new term so that we have all the necessary parental permissions in place. 

In the meantime, we wish you all a very pleasant and safe school holiday. We really just can’t wait to see you all again! 

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