Dear Concord High Instrumental Music Family,
In light of our world facing this unprecedented circumstance of COVID-19, I wanted to take a moment to address the members of our organization and let you know a couple of things that are being worked on:
1. The Orlando Trip: I haven’t said anything formally about the trip, due to the fact that there are no formal answers at the moment. But in order to not keep you all in the dark about this trip, I’m going to do my best to let you know what is currently going through my head… It seems that everything students have to look forward to has been cancelled, yet, miraculously enough, the one thing which is not officially cancelled is the Orlando trip (only ‘postponed’ according to WorldStrides). After weighing out all options and in order to protect your students during this pandemic, my ultimate goal is that the trip be cancelled. Unless circumstances of this virus can dramatically change and at a rapid rate, the best action we can take to flatten the curve is social-distancing and self-quarantine. As much as it hurts to accept (and I’m having to swallow this pill too), we would not be doing our responsibility of fixing this pandemic if we go on this trip… Now with this said, I myself can not cancel it, because in doing so, WorldStrides would not be giving any money back. My hope is that their company will make the decision for me. With an unprecedented situation of a global pandemic, they need to make an unprecedented decision to cancel scheduled trips and issue refunds to all programs who are traveling with them. For now, they are following the ‘wait and see’ approach. I understand why, but it isn’t great for all of us who like to plan out our lives (this virus is really testing our ability to be patient…). I am in constant contact with WorldStrides in order to navigate this process. I know they are a company and they are forced to make tough decisions, but I am pressing them that for the betterment of families during a period of crisis, as well as for the reputation of their organization, they must make the RIGHT decision and give refunds back to our hardworking families. This matter is of the highest importance to me, as I know this is a trying time for many families around the world, and ours are no exception. I assure families that if we don’t go on this trip, the money you all worked so hard to fundraise will be returning to you, one way or another. I will keep in contact with parents of students who were traveling and let you know if there is anything you can do to help in this regard. Ultimately, I thank you all for your patience as Katie and I are trying to navigate this unprecedented situation.
2. As of right now, school is cancelled for the next 3 weeks, which is followed by the week MDUSD was slated to have spring break. This means 4 weeks without seeing your students. All teachers are currently working on ways to administer instruction, which is not going to be easy by any means. We encourage your patience as educators throughout the nation are trying to figure out equitable ways to administer instruction in our public k-12 system during a pandemic. Please be on constant lookout for emails/phone-calls from teachers/administrators in this regard. Our goal is that while we are keeping your students safe during a time of social-distancing, we can still keep them working towards at least some academic goals… For my classes specifically, make sure your students are picking up their instrument for at least 30-40 minutes everyday! (post short videos of your kid practicing on the page if they feel comfortable!) If your student didn’t manage to grab their instrument, I will hopefully have a day on site this week, and let you know exactly when the room will be open to grab instruments. I’ll also be creating instructions for some recording assignments as well as listening playlists for each class. More to come!
3. Lastly, a favor? I do miss you and your students immensely. It’s quite heartbreaking that we won’t get to make beautiful music together for 4 whole weeks. I know that by waiting to come back to school until April 13th (and quite possibly, even longer), MDUSD is doing our part to flatten the curve of this virus… With this said, it’s still sad to know I won’t be seeing anymore smiling teenage faces in class for a while. Luckily, this virtual world we live in can help us to feel connected, even if we aren’t in the same room. Please keep posting pictures of what you and your families are doing to stay safe, healthy, and hopefully busy during this time. It will mean the world to me, and many others in this group I’m sure. This program is a family, we’re all dealing with this, and we’ll all get through it.
May I say that through this past week of absolute mayhem, your students have been my rock? Not only did all of the run-throughs of our festival sets totally
lift my spirits, but I could rely on standing in front of the class while our nation faces a pandemic, and them providing a sense of much needed comical relief. Just one example is when I discussed why I don’t think the trip to Orlando would be a safe decision
and what if we got quarantined in the hotel. William Brinkert replied “But isn’t there a bowling alley?..” All of the students proceeded to be excited at the prospect of being quarantined in Orlando with all their friends
Through these seemingly dark times, they always manage to keep their heads up and find a brighter, lighter perspective (this is why your students are so freaking awesome to work with). I love you all so much and will be counting the days until I get to be
back in the classroom with you.
More updates to come (hopefully much more succinct than this one!). Practice your preventative measures of hand washing, disinfecting, and all other things.
Stay safe. Stay healthy. Keep practicing your instruments, because you better believe that when all this is over, our music program will be holding a huge concert/showcase/SOMETHING to make up for all the canceled events. Let’s sound good for whatever that
opportunity will be. I’ll be sure to post announcements, as well as warm-ups/ensemble arrangements I’m working on over the next 4 weeks. Stay tuned!