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.
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Maria Palombo is the founder of Finely Tuned Voice Lessons, a private voice studio. Her studio is open to all regardless of age or ability.