Strategies for returning to Sing with and without COVID
Summary of comments from Webinar No.1 by Tim Fisher
Feedback from 62 choirs indicates that:
- We need to change the dialogue with our members from certainty and safety to managed risk and quick response consistent with living with COVID-19 for the long term. The risks posed by aerosols, spacing, ventilation etc, etc cannot be quantified and cannot be eliminated and it is not your job to do so.
- Choir managers should be confident that they are acting responsibly when they comply with the current state government health regulations. Singing isn’t special when it comes to group activities in a pandemic. Every activity has risk. WA Health Dept advice received by ANCA 2 weeks ago confirms that they have no special concerns about singing at this stage.
- Assisting all singers to make an informed choice about the risks they face when they attend choir rehearsals is a key objective for choir managers. Vulnerable singers may choose to attend live rehearsals now and they may not. They may choose to keep attending live rehearsals even when community transmission of the virus reappears in WA and they may not. Your job is not to persuade anyone to keep singing. Your job is to help your choir comply with the current health regulations to give vulnerable singers confidence that your choir take their risk seriously and to discover what measures that the whole choir needs to adopt would make your vulnerable singers feel that the risks involved were acceptable in the future.
- Each choir should consider implementing their own COVID Safety Plan to reflect these strategies and share information to enable this decision.
- Mitigation (not elimination) of risk and effective contact tracing and isolation are the primary aims
- Measures to meaningfully engage with your vulnerable members are an integral part of your plan but may not involve live rehearsals for some. Shared information and agreed strategies will maximise ongoing engagement, even when community transmission appears. Your vulnerable singers need your support. With COVID the most vulnerable to complications from catching the disease are also generally the most vulnerable to not having the technical or financial capability to maintain an online connection with your group. How can you maintain a meaningful and hopefully tuneful connection with all your members? Is now the time to be launching a recruitment drive for new singers?
- Behaviour change will be required to ensure that all singers conform to the plan, particularly now when most people believe there is no risk. You need to assist all your singers with training and you need to discuss acceptable ways to hold everyone accountable to sticking to that plan. This will require leadership.