Dr. James Weaver (NFHS) and Dr. Mark Spede (CBDNA), Chairs
Dr. Shelly Miller, University of Colorado Boulder, and Dr. Jelena Srebric, University of Maryland, Lead Researchers
As the United States is experiencing another variant of the coronavirus, questions about music activity abound as we move into 2022. With the contagiousness of the omicron variant of the SarsCov2 currently having a high degree of community spread in many areas of the country, we highly encourage everyone to use all of the study’s mitigations during this surge. The mitigations have proven to be effective. The video can be found here and the summary report can be accessed here of a recent risk assessment survey.
Importance will need to be placed on local and state respiratory disease transmission rates for use of mitigations. These suggestions are meant to provide some best practices as we continue to move into new phases in the pandemic. It is important to know and understand your state and local health department guidance.
Outdoors: Outdoors remains the safest space
No mitigations needed depending on the level of local and state transmission rates.
Indoors: Indoor environments vary greatly
•Ventilation. Increased ventilation is necessary for indoor spaces. A minimum of 3 air exchanges per hour (ACH) should be used, higher if possible. Additional ACH can be achieved by adding HEPA air cleaners appropriate to the size of the room.
•Masks. Masking with appropriate material* and fit remains the best way of reducing potential infected aerosol from circulating in an indoor space. Well-fitting masks are recommended to be worn while singing and speaking. Masks that meet N95, KN95 or KF94 standards are recommended for the omicron variant.
•Bell Covers. Bell covers made from appropriate material* remain the best way of reducing potential infected aerosol from circulating in an indoor space. Instrumentalists can wear masks only when speaking and slitted performance masks are optional.
•Rehearsal Times. In spaces with good ventilation rates and HEPA filtration, indoor rehearsal times of 50 minutes may be considered. If ventilation rates are low, indoor rehearsal times should be limited to 30 minutes.
•Physical Distancing. Distancing of 3 feet is recommended. During periods of high community transmission temporarily adjusting up to 6 feet may be necessary.
•Hygiene. Continue good hygiene practice moving forward, including appropriate elimination of brass fluid.
Please refer to the Association for Heating, Ventilating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) guidance on ventilation during COVID-19: https://www.ashrae.org/technical-resources/resources
*Material should consist of MERV13 material or ASTM F2100 (or similar) standard.
To access the most up-to-date information, please visit the main Aerosol Study page: https://www.nfhs.org/articles/unprecedented-international-coalition-led-by-performing-arts-organizations-to-commission-covid-19-study/