WARREN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — When schools eventually reopen to in-person learning, things will look and feel different, and one aspect of student life that will drastically change is the arts.
The University of Colorado conducted research to look into instruments’ aerosol dispersion. Just like we’ve been putting on a mask, when an instrument has a cover, it drastically changes what’s coming out.
The research looked into more than just instruments; it looked at speech, dancing and other aspects of performing arts.
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Bob Morrison is the executive director of Arts Ed NJ, a policy and advocacy group that backed the study.
“This is more critical that we have the performing arts now than ever before,” Morrison told CBS2’s Kevin Rincon.
He says the reality is, the arts won’t be the same.
“It’s going to look very different, just like our schools look very different,” he said.
Take for example choir and music classes. He says the best way to make sure they’re done in a safe way is time.
“If you’re inside, 30 minutes and then you take a break to allow the air to change out. If you’re outside, 30 minutes, take a five-minute break and then you can keep going,” Morrison said.
The research is also supported by the National Federation of State High School Associations. It’s the group that’s helped set the rules for high school sports in the tri-state.
James Weaver is the director of performing arts and sports. He says the study has helped them map out a return to arts.
“Masking the player, masking the student, masking the instrument, as well as increased air flow,” Weaver said.
The arts are often among the first programs to get cut when budgets are tight, so Weaver says they’ve kept that in mind.
“All of our mitigation techniques should be readily available and should be relatively inexpensive,” he said.
For Morrison, there’s no question whatever the curriculum looks like, there’s always room for creativity.
“If our students are in schools, the arts should be in schools,” he said.
For now, the advice, as we’ve seen in almost every other aspect of life in the age of COVID, is do things outside, so expect to see many of those performance arts in outdoor spaces.
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