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2020 FAQ

2020 Back-to-School FAQ for Parents of In-Person Band Class Learners

In-Person Learning: Safety Procedures

QUESTION: How will my student safely participate in band class every day?


  • Students will be separated and seated in chairs all at 6 ft. intervals wherever possible, placed in straight rows.
  • Students will play instruments with a mask in place and a slit cut in the mask for mouthpiece access.
  • For many of the instruments, a bag (one will be kept in the instrument cases for daily use) will be placed at the bell-end of the instrument to catch any spray particles that exit the instruments.
  • Percussion students will not share mallets or sticks. Percussionists will play only one a particular percussion instrument, exclusively, for any given piece of music.
  • Classroom chairs, music stands, and percussion instruments will be disinfected between every band class to the best of teachers’ ability and available time.
  • Large instruments such as tubas and euphoniums will not be shared. Students playing these larger instruments will be assigned a designated instrument storage space.
  • To avoid contact with incoming classes or students, one set of doors will be designated for entry and another set of doors designated for exit. This procedure applies to a vast majority of our classrooms. For rooms with only a single door, students will learn a specific procedure for entering/exiting a room for the purpose of avoiding extraneous contact.
  • Union Public Schools is consulting, and aligning with to the best of its ability, the recommendations of an international scientific study designed specifically to educate the music education community on returning to the music classroom safely.

QUESTION: What is the maximum number of students whom can be safely taught in each classroom?

ANSWER: Union Public Schools band students are afforded the opportunity to participate in music in facilities that are among finest, largest in physical size, and in largest quantities found anywhere in the country. All of our campuses have multiple classrooms within which students can participate in learning; Enrollment rosters will dictate how classrooms are scheduled for accommodating the safest-possible student-to-space ratios. As suggested by the research, much of the learning in which High School (Grades 9-12) band students will engage and participate will take place outdoors, with the teachers taking into consideration weather conditions such as precipitation, extreme temperatures, and wind, when designing and scheduling rehearsals and learning activities.

Playing Expectations for In-Person Learners

QUESTION: Will students be playing instruments in class this year?

ANSWER: Yes - we will be playing instruments safely in class for in-person learning. While on the Zoom call, all virtual learners will be muted but still able to play in their homes if at all possible.

QUESTION: How will playing and playing assessments take place in band classes? 

ANSWER: SmartMusic software will be used in band classes to complete playing assignments. The centerpiece of our curriculum, SmartMusic is a web-based application accessible on student laptop computers. These assignments will be discussed in class and demonstrated in class by the instructor at a safe distance from the students; these assignments will be posted on Canvas. Students will be expected to play these assignments throughout the week. Typically, two playing assignments will be posted in Canvas each week.  An $11 fee for a basic 1-year subscription to Smart Music will be assessed for each band student; an optional enhanced-access 1-year subscription at a fee of $22.00 is also available (this option is $22.00, not $11.00 + $22.00). Fundraising efforts and existing credit balances may be used to pay the software fee. A scholarship application is available for students requesting additional resources to cover the expense of the Smart Music software subscription. Click here to begin the process of placing your Smart Music order.

QUESTION: If Union Public Schools changes from in-person learning to a distance-learning format, will band classes still happen? 

ANSWER: Yes – band students will continue learning if the Union District does indeed move to distance-learning at some point after the beginning of the school year. Students will continue using :

  • Zoom (communication)
  • Smart Music (music-specific)
  • Canvas (Learning Management System)
  • All of these pieces of software are vehicles to learn band class assignments. Students will be asked to continue playing and practicing their instruments while at home, so finding a time and place that works for your family and your schedule is important. All Zoom meetings for classes will be recorded and posted to Canvas for the purpose of creating playing and practicing options for our students and their families.   

Materials and Procedures for Band Classes

QuestionWill my student need to bring his/her instrument on the first day of school?

Answer: No. Generally speaking, lockers will be provided for all students to store instruments during the day.

Question: Will students carry their instruments with them during the school day?

Answer: No. Generally speaking, lockers will be provided for all students to store instruments during the day.

Question: How do I get an instrument for my beginning (6th Grade) band student?

Answer: ALL beginning band students regardless of learning styles will need to have an instrument. Information regarding how and when to obtain an instrument (flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, or percussion) will be given to students in the first few days of school. This information will also be posted on Canvas and recorded on Zoom calls. An instrument meeting event is scheduled for Friday evening, August 28, held at the UMAC arena on the campus of Union High School; all beginners are encouraged to attend with a parent. More information will be available during the first days of school.

General Questions

Question: I initially enrolled for band but do not feel comfortable sending my child in person NOR having them participate virtually. Will students be given an opportunity to join band for the 2021-22 school year?

Answer: Yes. All students, regardless of their participation this 2020-21 school year, will have the opportunity to resume band classes for the 2021-22 school year. This includes any student 6-11 who completed their 2019-20 school year enrolled in band class and any student who will be in 6th grade during this 2020-21 school year.   

QuestionWhom do I contact for this information in Spanish?

Answer: Please email Adrian Gomez. or call:  (918) 357-8097

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