District implements minor precautions for bands

Jonathan Kang, Editor-in-Chief

IUSD recently announced unconventional guidelines allowing the resumption of in-person bands for the coming weeks, with minor adjustments in place to ensure the complete and comprehensive safety of students.

Chloe Song

After researching the spread of COVID-19 between wind players, IUSD decided upon requirements for safe in-person playing. Although wearing face masks and social distancing remain in place, new regulations were implemented including playing entirely outdoors with five minute breaks every 10 seconds to circulate the air.

“Students should be at least 30 feet apart to minimize air particles traveling to neighboring players,” IUSD administrator Sey Fty said. “Additionally, 10 foot tall walls will be installed between players to ensure safety for our students.”

That’s not all. Students are required to wear class three eye protection such as welding helmets in case COVID-19 particles infect their eyes, and fit gas masks onto the bells of their instruments to decrease the velocity of  airborne particles. The conductor will also stand entirely behind the band in an effort to protect them from any potential danger.

Special astronaut suits large enough to accommodate both a person and their instrument will be provided by the district, equipped with oxygen tanks and anti-fog visors. Different suits will be created to fit instruments from clarinets to trumpets, though the design for tuba players is unexpectedly experiencing some delays. The school will provide and store 2-3 suits per student so they can alternate while the others are in the wash.

“The measures we have taken are somewhat drastic, but players should be easily able to hear each other nonetheless,” Board of Safety member Par Tickle said. “Of course, if it gets too tedious, IUSD is allowing people to take off their goggles for exactly five seconds at a time, a necessary compromise for student comfort.”

Based on how reasonable the directives are, it comes as a major surprise that students are protesting against them.

“We’re protesting for our human rights, since we have to follow their orders or risk getting a zero in the class” Wind Symphony trumpet player Cray Zee said. “Also, where are we even getting the funding for this, especially the specialized astronaut suits?”

The protests have led to the rise of the #BandTogether movement, where students across the district are coming together in opposition to the new rules. They plan to organize a strike at the district office, where they will attempt to play their instruments at full blast for as long as necessary until the district changes the policy. Any student, band or not, who possesses a car is also invited, for the sole purpose of blasting their horn until it breaks.

Parents have also raised concerns about the finances of these new policies. Students are reporting a mysterious 350% increase in TIMB fundraising emails, leading parents to believe that the funding for all of the new equipment might fall on them. In response, Northwood parents have created the new Parent Timberwolf Savior Association (PTSA) to campaign against the new changes.

Although IUSD is considering these opinions, safety is ultimately their foremost concern, so it is unlikely that these regulations will see significant change. The district continues to maintain that the rules will ensure a safe return to the rewarding experiences provided by playing in a school band.

“This transition should be seamless and help students develop their talents as musicians,” Fty said. “However, given studies that demonstrate potential Sars-Cov-2 infection through the ear canal, we may even require earplugs next.”