Are you also completely overwhelmed by what we are and are not allowed to do – and importantly, how to keep everyone safe whilst singing in the middle of a pandemic?
I’ve returned to work in the midst of a global crisis (after a very bizarre maternity leave) and had to get my head around what I could do to ensure my students, and me, all remain safe.
Screens and blind costs have been marked up hugely, PPE is expensive and let’s be honest, singing in a face mask is near on impossible! So what can we do?
Here’s my three cents worth, I hope you find it useful to get your studio up and running again too:
- Write a Risk Assessment. Legally you have to do this anyway but it’s SO helpful to consider your own unique studio space and determine what measures you can make to reduce contact and to reduce spread of the virus. Send out your completed assessment to students so they know what to expect when they arrive. If you would like to borrow my Risk Assessment as a handy guide for yourself, please drop me an email as I would be more than happy to share.
- Implement all the strategies from your Risk Assessment. Have you got sanitiser and tissues handy? Have you got anti-bac spray and a cloth to use between students? Do you need a ‘quarantine box’ for any music or pencils your students borrow? Have you got all your student contact details for Track and Trace?
- Remember to make sure your insurance covers you for teaching face to face. The Musicians Union presently has an offer where new members can get 6 months for £1 per month and their membership includes regular Coronavirus updates and your insurance. I’ve been a member of the MU since I started teaching and can highly recommend their services.
- Use PPE: Singing with a visor on is way more viable than wearing a mask. Adding a physical screen can also help remind people that you need to stay distanced… But you’re still at risk from aerosol spread. If the physical screens don’t fit in your space, you could hang a clear blind from your ceiling. I made my own blind so I can roll it up and out of the way when I’m teaching online, but have it rolled down when teaching face to face. It’s also much wider than the screens I could find online too.
- Familiarise yourself and share with students why it is important to minimise aerosol spread – you can find a great video by AOTOS here with research from the PERFORM study. This includes some simple steps you can take, but also highlights the reality of the risk associated with singing face to face.
I hope this is a useful guide for those of you thinking about returning to teaching face to face. I think it’s important to remember that you need to do what is right for YOU first, don’t be pressured to teach face to face if it isn’t for you just yet – there are plenty of students who are happy to continue working online.
Have I missed anything? Let me know in the comments if you think I left anything out.
Wishing you a happy, safe singing space!
Love Kate xo