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Georgia Southern Music and COVID-19

Students, Faculty, and Staff of the Fred and Dinah Gretsch School of Music,

While we have been apart, Georgia Southern has been working to prepare for the Fall semester and the challenges presented by the coronavirus outbreak. Our goals are: 1) to prevent the spread of the coronavirus among our students, faculty, and staff; and 2) to provide our students with the best possible musical experience, under the circumstances. By working together, we can keep each other healthy and get back to normal as quickly as possible.

A. STOPPING THE SPREAD

To prevent infection, it is important to remember how the coronavirus spreads. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC),

The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. 

The virus can also be spread through touching surfaces. Infected droplets on one’s hands can be transferred to the respiratory system if you touch your face.

There are four things that all of us must do to stop the spread of the virus:

1. Wear A Mask

Masks can help prevent droplets from your mouth and nose from getting into the air where they might infect someone else. Masks are required in Foy, the Foy Annex, and the Fine Arts Building.

The best mask choices are disposable medical masks and multi-layered cotton masks. Do not use a mask with an exhalation valve. 

2. Social Distance

Droplets containing the virus can come in various sizes. Larger droplets typically settle to the ground before travelling very far. To limit your exposure, it is recommended that you stay at least six feet away from other people.

3. Wash Your Hands

Hands can become infected by touching contaminated surfaces or through contact with virus-containing droplets in the air. Frequent hand-washing and sanitizing serves to remove viruses before they are transferred to your respiratory system. 

4. Monitor Your Health

It is important that you monitor your health carefully. If you exhibit symptoms of COVID-19: 1) stay home; and 2) contact the Georgia Southern CARES Center. The CARES Center can provide answers to all of your COVID-19-related questions. You can self-report test results, get help evaluating your situation, and receive support for your COVID-19-related academic, employment, and on-campus notification needs.

There are several ways to reach the CARES Center:

*Use the MyGS mobile app

*Complete the CARES Center COVID-19 self-reporting form available through the MyGeorgiaSouthern portal under the tile titled “COVID-19 Information & Resources”

*Call 912-478-CARE (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
*Email covidsupport@georgiasouthern.edu

This is the new normal. These are four simple things that we can do that will make a tremendous difference.

B. MUSIC AND COVID-19

Music can provide extra challenges for fighting the spread of COVID-19. In order to help keep us all healthy, some modifications to our norms will be needed. 

The most important things to remember about the risk of infection are these:

A. The virus is spread mostly person-to-person; it is important to avoid close proximity.

B. The illness is a respiratory infection; deep breathing makes infection more likely.

C. There is a relationship between “viral load” (how much of the virus is in your system) and the severity of the illness; being in close proximity for an extended period of time is riskier than being distanced for a short period of time.

C. PRACTICE ROOM PROTOCOLS

Practice rooms are shared spaces, and they are generally small. Students should wear a mask whenever possible in practice sessions. 

Before Practicing

You must wash or sanitize their hands. You must wipe down any surfaces you are likely to touch (e.g., music stand, piano keyboard, etc.).

While Practicing

Only one person is permitted in a practice room at a time. You must use the trash can when emptying your instrument. 

After Practicing 

You must wipe down any surfaces you touched. 

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COVID-19 is a serious illness, but we need not be paralyzed with fear over it. By taking a few simple precautions and temporarily modifying our activities, we can isolate the virus and stop its spread. However, it is literally impossible for one person to effectively control COVID-19; only by working together, only by committing ourselves to a consistent course of action, can we successfully conquer the coronavirus and return to normal living.

Steven A. Harper, Chair

Fred and Dinah Gretsch School of Music

Last updated: 8/24/2021