EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. – After the Rhode Island Music Education Association (RIMEA) called on state leaders to focus on re-opening music education programs, the organization is proud to announce that the R.I. Department of Education (RIDE) has released updated guidance on music performing groups, including bands and choruses. RIMEA worked with RIDE and the R.I. Department of Health (RIDOH) to update guidance to include safe and practical ways for students and teachers to hold these essential music classes.

“RIMEA extends its thanks to the students, teachers and parents that spoke out about the need for curriculum-based music instruction that includes performance,” said David Neves, Advocacy Chair at RIMEA. “Music is an essential part of students’ education and well-being. We extend our gratitude to the team at RIDE and RIDOH for collaborating with us to update the guidance and look forward to our continued  partnership in all music education-related matters moving forward.”

Since the onset of COVID-19 there has been ongoing research into the development of mitigation strategies to enable music performance in our schools. Recommendations from RIMEA and the International Coalition Performing Arts Aerosol Study were incorporated into Rhode Island’s latest guidance.

RIMEA saw a significant drop in students playing music this year compared to last. In March of last year, 25,000 students in Rhode Island were singing and playing instruments in our schools every day. This year, after most schools had implemented RIDE recommendations from last summer, that number has been reduced to just 7,700 students participating – a reduction of 70%, according to a RIMEA survey of R.I. music educators.  RIMEA hopes that due to these updated RIDE recommendations will see a reversal of that reduction over the remainder of the school year.

“Through music, students have a chance to express themselves, develop and demonstrate their skills, and connect with each other, their school and community” said Patricia Kammerer, RIMEA Advocacy Co-Chair. “Student musicians gain important experiences allowing them to reflect on their own well-being, their relationships with others, and their capability to make decisions – so important during the COVID era.”

Kammerer added “Whether a student’s passion is on the playing field or on the chorus riser they should be given the respect they deserve to pursue their dreams.”   To read more about RIDE’s updated health and safety guidance related to music, please see pages 21 and 22 here

About The Rhode Island Music Education Association: (RIMEA) is the state chapter of NAfME, the National Association for Music Education. Its mission is to provide professional development, leadership, and support for the state’s music teachers to promote quality music instruction and experiences for all students in Rhode Island as part of a complete education. 

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