Last week I posted my take on back to school in the Fall. Since then, I've been interviewing music teachers across the Tri-State area to see what they think could work. Here's what I found:
Q: What are your feelings on back to school specifically for music classes?
A: I cannot wait to get back to teaching, but I feel it should be online only for the time being.
A: To go back in person I would need a bigger space to teach in order to social distance. My class size is much larger than a core class size. I truly don't feel that my district will prioritize giving me a bigger space and since we live in NJ, being outside is only possible a few months of the year.
A: If they ask me to come back to school I will take an early retirement.
Q: What are the steps that are currently in place to go back?
A: There is a committee of music teachers in my township who are responsible for making decisions on music classes. I hope the board will honor our research and requests.
A: I truly feel that my classes need to be held online. Once we have a vaccine it will be ok to return.
A: If we want a safe return to making music together, the first stage must be online until we can phase students in safely.
Q: How safe do you feel in the classroom?
A: I don't and I won't until there is a vaccine or herd immunity.
A: I have friends in other states who are already being furloughed, so from a job outlook, I don't feel safe.
A: Teachers should not be asked to risk their lives or the lives of their loved ones to enter the classroom when there is an option to teach online. I have students whose parents have died from the virus and one of my family members has died. There is no way I will feel safe in the classroom.
In short, the majority of teachers I interviewed would push to have online classes for the next year. Their safety, the safety of their students, and families would be at risk until the virus is under control.
Maria Palombo is a Voice Instructor and Singer living in Central NJ. She is the founder of Finely Tuned Voice Lessons, a private voice studio in Mercer County, NJ.