The New Mexico State University Music Department resumed face-to-face instruction in lecture courses and some ensembles and studios this week, following a shift to online instruction September 24 in response to COVID-19 cases reported by an instructor and two students in the department.
The university immediately notified the New Mexico Department of Health of the positive test results and conducted additional testing and contact tracing to identify the extent of the exposure and identify close contacts off affected students and employees.
The Music Center was electrostatically disinfected on September 25 before any faculty members were permitted to return to the building.
Following a review of the department’s safety plans by Environmental Health Safety and Risk Management, university officials approved a return to classroom instruction for lecture courses. Band rehearsals and some private lessons were also authorized to resume. As safety plan reviews continue, additional music ensembles and private studios will begin to resume activities in the coming days, in line with university and state guidelines regarding social distancing and other safety measures.
Music Department Head Lon Chaffin said students and faculty in the department have been cautious and their willingness to get tested and comply with the department’s safety plans has allowed some activities to resume sooner than the two weeks initially planned for the move online.
“Our students want to be here, learning and making music in person,” Chaffin said. “It’s important to all of us to do everything we can to continue as much face-to-face instruction as possible.”
Director of Bands Michael Mapp said band students are used to being in frequent communication through email, Canvas announcements, and apps, so it was easy to get the word out to them about resuming in-person rehearsals.
“We’ll continue to keep students and their families informed about what to expect as the semester goes on,” Mapp said. “We’re glad to be able to make music together again in person.”
Author: Amanda Bradford – NMSU