Letter from the Director regarding Virtual Learning Academy and In-Person Classes

To: OCHS Band Parents and Students
From: Brad Rogers
Re: Updates, current and near future
Date: July 21, 2020

Virtual Academy vs. in-person classes:

Over the weekend, I received advice from our principal that directs me to accept any students returning from Virtual Academy status to in-person instruction at the beginning of the second and/or third trimester.  While I believe my original recommendation is still the best option for anyone choosing the Virtual Academy over concerns for the safety of their child or family for the beginning of the school year (one based mostly on keeping students’ contacts in band classes the same until the viral transmission concerns are mitigated, and to a lesser degree the continuity of instruction), I WILL certainly accept anyone who decides to come back to in-person band classes at the end of each trimester of VA. I will do the best I can to incorporate them into where we are at the time of return.

That means (to me, anyway) that students will need to enroll in their band class for the school year as normal.  To take band out of their schedule will create a situation in which they may well not be able to fit it in with their other academic choices if they wait to do so until they come back.  Mr. Steedly and Mr. Moore have not given advice on this to me, but it makes sense that it will make the process of a potential return from VA easier in terms of class schedule.

In deciding who will deliver instruction to VA band students, it is pretty apparent to me that while teachers involved in daily in-person instruction will not be expected to teach VA, I’m really the only person in our building who can do that, and set the VA kids on a path to a smooth potential return to regular instruction.  I will discuss this situation with Mr. Moore, and come to some conclusion in the next few days about how that will work.

Summer Band and Camp Week:

Summer rehearsals have been going extremely well, attendance has been especially good (better than normal summers, actually), and it is very obvious the students have missed each others musical and social company.  They have been very compliant with the distancing, masking and all the other expectations of dealing with COVID-19, and frankly I think it will help them negotiate the opening of school having gone through some of these things prior to opening day.

I will have to make a decision on any changes to the Camp Week (July 27-31) schedule by the end of this week (Thursday/Friday).  Adjustments could be coming based on whether or not we will be allowed to attend “large gatherings” (football games), allowed to march halftime shows, and other unknowns.  With very little guidance on these things coming from the state or KHSAA, it may end up being another of those decisions based on instinct, past history of how we have dealt with such things, and what my colleagues at NOHS and SOHS will be doing on their campuses. 

Regardless of what we end up being allowed to do from a marching band perspective, we will still have a band camp!  Band camp has always been very important; this year, we have to begin addressing the nearly three months of instruction, performances, and growth we missed since this crazy situation began.  The schedule for the week may be adjusted to make our group size, social distancing, and contacts easier to manage.  It will still involve a morning and evening rehearsal session as originally planned, but possibly only ONE session for each student each day (either morning or evening).

And we could keep what we have already planned for; I’ll try to have the necessary conversations with admin, athletic director and my colleagues in the next couple of days and come to a decision by Friday.  Stay tuned.

Please know I will try to make the best choices for our program based on the advice and direction I continue to receive.  It’s the end result, not the current difficulties that we should focus on.

Brad Rogers