October 19, 2021

The Queens County Citizen

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Winnipeg students devastated after COVID sanctions silence school choirs

Winnipeg students devastated after COVID sanctions silence school choirs

Hundreds of students in Winnipeg have been ordered by the local government to stop singing – a choral teacher says it is unhealthy information that affects students’ mental health.

“I’m very disappointed, because I do not believe this decision is based on solid ground,” said Dorothy Dick, a Maples collegiate team teacher.

Since October 26, schools in the Winnipeg metropolitan area and the province of northern Manitoba have been under Code Orange in the pandemic response system.

One New rules The use of indoor choir and wind instruments is not permitted.

Dick said the decision will affect about 250 students at Maples Collegiate, who participate in six choirs.

Dick said Manitoba health officials were aware of all the precautions her school had taken.

“We have not received any order from the province,” she said. “We had to figure it out, so we did. We’m all summer reading, and waiting for the research and these studies to come out,” she said.

In August, two studies, one University of Colorado And from one University of Cincinnati, Looked at how aerosols spread while singing and playing instruments.

“In these studies, things have been put forward to keep singing as safe as possible, which is what we are doing,” Dick said.

Singing with masks for 30 minutes in the gym

In addition to singing in masks, rehearsal time was also limited to 30 minutes, with the infection rate dropping from 87 percent to just 12, according to a study from Colorado.

Maple choirs also went to the gym so that everyone could expand in the open.

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Climbed into the pits of the school division maintenance head gym to get information about duck work. A math teacher calculates air ventilation to make sure air is exchanged every five minutes.

We are as safe as any other activity.– Dorothy Dick, Maples Collegiate Team Teacher

“No one seems to care that we can guarantee things are completely safe,” Dick said. “We can now refer to those numbers and know that we are as safe as any other activity.”

Said a regional government spokesman Its guidelines on music Based on multiple reports around the world, participation in a choir has been linked to “super-spreader” events, where COVID-19 has spread to many.

“Infected people can spread the virus over long distances through their saliva or respiratory droplets while singing,” the spokesman wrote.

To date, COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Maples Collegiate, said Principal Scott Shearer.

Dick said the province should take a second look at how schools run their choirs.

“They’re kids trying to find their voices,” she says.

She is concerned that the epidemic could affect the mental health of students.

“We see their dead eyes, their body language: they lean forward, their arms are limp, they really raise their arms when they ask questions,” she says.

“We’re really trying to use the choir and use the singing to change the breathing life into their bodies and their eyes, and we’m starting to see some real progress.”

‘Annihilation’ at provincial decision

Jasdane Santiago, an 11th grader and three choir members, said: “I find it very difficult to accept that I can no longer sing in a choir.

“I was very devastated,” Santiago said.

Jashtane Santiago, who was singing at the gym this fall, said the choir seemed to be flying her. Now it looks like her wings have been shown solely to give a sense of proportion. (Submitted by Jasdane Santiago)

“Being in a choir makes you feel like you’re flying. However, with the news that you can no longer sing, I felt like the flying wings were clipped,” she said.

Choirs already can’t perform, so removing their rehearsals would be an added blow, she said.

“Everyone was still very hopeful of what they could really do as usual, but a little different than before.”

Javan Cabrera, a 12th grader, said he too did not take the news seriously.

“It was heartbreaking,” Cabrera said. “I’m confused, upset and really angry.”

The couple said they were happy to take any extra precautions if they could continue singing.

“Singing with other people reminds me that I am not alone,” Cabrera said.

The Seven Oaks School Division superintendent said they were in talks with the province about the new rules.

“We are trying to make the province aware of some of the actions that teachers have taken. We are doing everything we can to continue the strong program,” Brian O’Leary said.