We as a band organization are currently waiting to see what the situation will turn out to be before we as a band organization make any move on further cancellations of events. All of us understand the concerns of the parents both healthwise and financially but if you read the recent band booster email, it spelled out the steps we are taking and what we are doing:
1. A decision on band camp will be made by June 15. No later. This will give us two full months to formulate plans for any practice or camp possibilities.
2. There are three possibilities:
a. Camp as planned.
b. camp on THS or AMS campus or in fields/facilities close to THS (day camp only),
c. no band camp at all.
This will be determined by district and state mandates and the availability of facility use as well as our own decision on what we want to do. These are our children, our volunteer parents, and our hired band staff members that we are talking about. Band camp and practices thereof, however, are also an integral part of our music program. No decision can be made lightly or quickly which is why we are waiting until no later than June 15 (decisions could happen prior to that date as well) to see how the situation has developed.
As we all hang in the balance of daily information updates, there are many factors in play that we have to adhere to. First off, if the state says camps can't happen on or off campus, that's the decision. If the camp itself is not allowed to host a band, that's the decision. If Trenton Public Schools says that groups cannot meet on campus or in the buildings, that's the decision. However, none of these things have been said by anyone yet so we are in the position of having to wait just like everyone else.
If in the event all camp options are not possible, refunds of the $300 for camp will begin on June 15. The other $150 band dues will still be used for band staff, transportation (we have to pay for our own band staff and transportation), and other things that go with marching band for any given season. But like at any other time, if a parent wants to pull a student out of marching band, the $150 will be refunded at that time as well.
I am not in the position to give any personal opinions of what I think is going to happen with band camp but I am glued to the news as much as anyone and understand fully your concerns. I am also aware that just about every other summer and even fall event and activity has been cancelled or drastically affected with massive changes.
With that in mind, we as a band organization are preparing for worst case scenarios but feel that pulling the plug on everything from band camp, practices, our major fundraising band competition invitational to even home game performances starting in August would be prematurely done if we don't wait until June 15 at which point we'd still have two months to prepare for any contingency. The state is opening up slowly but it is opening up as time passes. Do I think it will be opened to the point where large group events like band practices and band camp can occur in August? Again, I have my guesses but that's all they are. All we can do is waiting for updates regarding changes in the situation.
One of the hardest parts of this whole virus situation is having to deal with the unknown. While I understand that it's easier to plan for the future if we just cancel everything, it's truly not in the best interest of the students and the band program if we do so arbitrarily out of fear when we can wait until June 15. Hopefully by then we will know more about what the state, county, city, and school district determines to be the safest and best way to proceed with large groups, schools, and bands in particular.
One thing that you can be assured of - WE WILL TAKE NO RISKS WITH THE HEALTH OF YOUR CHILDREN, THE VOLUNTEER PARENTS, OR BAND STAFF.
This will apply to holding practices, having camp, performing as a large group, rehearsing in closed spaces or in close order.
We are in a unique situation. Not only are we as a band the largest class by all measures in Trenton, our class sessions start a month earlier than any other class at Trenton HS. While I cannot guess at how marching band will be affected at this time, I can confidently say that believe that by June 15, there will be clear mandates from the district and state as to what our direction should be.
If there are no clear mandates from the authorities by June 15, the band boosters and I will be put in position to have to cancel camp and all practices out of safety and health risks. Again, we will take no risks with the health of our band family. MK