5th January 2022

New Year music in and out of schools update

Officially we are still in Plan B – as we were in December – with the added “temporary” requirement for secondary school pupils to wear face coverings during class as well as when moving around school / in communal areas, and children aged 11 plus wear masks for out of school activities. All adults to wear face coverings when working in / visiting schools / providing activities (January update) except when “leading activity from front of room”.

At time of writing we have been unable to find any updated specific, detailed advice about playing instruments and singing – therefore advice is as before, ie in Plan B (before Christmas) although the requirement for 11 plus / secondary school pupils to wear face coverings has superseded other, standing government advice, and it’s fair to say this is causing confusion specifically for music for 11 plus age groups in terms of playing wind instruments and singing.

Music in schools

Please read this update from Music Mark – with recommendations that we all continue to carry out our own risk assessments. Regarding secondary schools the government guidance does not mention singing or playing wind and brass instruments – therefore there is no specific restriction on them.  Masks may be removed for “strenuous activity such as physical exercise” It does not, however, specifically say that masks may be removed to play instruments.

Visiting tutors must wear a mask when moving about any school communal areas – but teachers not required to wear a mask when “leading an activity from front of room”

Performances may still take place, subject to risk assessment and requirements to manage audiences as before.  Educational visits are possible but the guidance is cautious.

Associates should check with their schools to find out specific requirements for each setting they work in – and note that Music Mark also recommends to schools that “arrangements for moving to online teaching and stepping up mitigations are robust”.

Music out of schools

The updated guidance is for face coverings to be worn by adults, and children aged 11 and above – but again no specific information about taking masks off to play instruments or sing – just reference to removal for strenuous activity.

Performances may still take place, subject to risk assessment and requirements to manage audiences as before.

Out of school activity providers should also check with the venue managers for further specific requirements for the spaces they use.

Hygiene and room ventilation remain vitally important mitigating actions (as well as vaccinations).

Note: schools should have access to CO2 monitors, and Associates can apply for funding towards portable CO2 monitors via the Associate support fund (ends Monday 14 February 2022)

We will update as soon as we can – and as ever always keen to hear from you – please get in touch:

info@wiltshiremusicconnect.org.uk