Letter to High School Band Families (July 23)
(posted July 23)
HEB ISD Band Families,
After meeting with HEB ISD high school band directors, and with the safety of our students as our greatest concern, we have made the difficult decision that our students will not participate in a competitive marching band season this fall, due to concerns of the substantial and growing community spread of COVID-19 in our area. We are also mindful of the uncertainty associated with how or if marching competitions will be held as we progress through the unknowns of the fall season.
As you are aware, undertaking a competitive marching season involves significant amounts of time, planning, energy, and funding. We take the investment of these resources very seriously, and believe it is in the best interest of our students, families, faculty and staff to provide a quality and valid music education experience that we can be sure will safely allow our students to participate.
While we are devastated that our incredible bands will not compete this year, kids will still perform and participate in appropriate activities. We have been working hard to develop a plan to give our students the best possible experience considering the current health crisis. We are unsure at this time if there will be any fall activities such as football games. If there are football games, HEB ISD high school band directors may have an appropriate activity that allows for student engagement, and it will include essential measures intended to ensure student safety. We have received guidelines from the University Interscholastic League for student participation in fall activities. The HEB band directors fully understand that the social engagement part of the fall season is a major part of why our students participate and enjoy the culture of the school and of the season. However, all practices and procedures will be followed as the safety and well-being of HEB ISD students, families, faculty and staff are priority one. One thing to guide our practices: just because we may not be in competition, we will still be creative and productive!
HEB high school band directors will establish the calendar of events and those will be available in the coming days. These band schedules will include procedures and processes for student safety. Students may rehearse in smaller groups and maintain appropriate distancing at all times and must be conducted outdoors. Current direction is that masks will be mandatory for all band members to be worn when not actively practicing or performing. The band directors will give specific guidance on how that will be accomplished. There will be set guidelines on rehearsal attendance and a virtual rehearsal option may be a component of the rehearsal process.
HEB ISD administration will continue to monitor the situation, listen to the guidance of health officials, and adjust our plan throughout the fall. Some of these plans may change by the day…so your patience, support and willingness to pivot quickly is greatly appreciated. The HEB ISD directors will devote efforts, time and energy to our student-musicians, providing them with outlets for expression and opportunities for camaraderie with friends and the band community, all while staying committed to our highest responsibility – assuring the health, safety, and well-being of HEB ISD students, families, faculty and staff.
Thank you for your support and understanding as we work to provide students with safe, predictable and stable music education opportunities. This massive effort will take all of us to make things move forward in a positive direction. Until we are able to come together…stay safe and be well.
Mark A. Chandler
Director of Visual & Performing Arts