Government Relations Corner


The Nassau Music Educators Association Government Relations Coalition (GRC) takes an active role in advocating to our elected officials on music education issues affecting Nassau County. We work closely with the NYSSMA GRC to identify areas in which to focus. The GRC also works to ensure NMEA members understand how education policies are made, and how they might impact music education.

Please visit the NMEA GRC Google Site where you can find the most up to date information, and see below for additional resources.


 

Latest Reopening Guidance: 

Posted April 12, 2021: Updated Distancing Guidelines offered by New York State:

In a document titled “Interim Guidance for In-Person Instruction at Pre-K to Grade 12 Schools During the Covid-19 Public Health Emergency” released on Friday, April 9, 2021 , New York State changed the distancing guidelines that have been in place since August, 2020.

In doing so, the Governor and the Department of Health have positively responded to the countless tweets, emails, phone calls, and letters that have been generated by music educators around the state urging the reconsideration of distancing requirements in order to align their guidance with the science with which we have all become familiar. The new guidance addresses music settings in two statements:

  1. Individuals participating in activities that require projecting the voice (e.g., singing) or playing a wind instrument must be six feet apart and there must be six feet of distance between the performers and the audience during performances and concerts.
  2. Responsible Parties should ensure that a distance of six feet in all directions is maintained between individuals while participating in activities requires projecting the voice (e.g., singing), playing a wind instrument, or aerobic activity resulting in heavy breathing (e.g., participating in gym classes).

There are no direct mentions of bell covers in this latest guidance. Under the “Masks” category it is made clear that: “Face masks are required at all times, except for meals.” Of related interest is the recommendation that physical barriers not be utilized; improved air-flow and ventilation is preferred.

At this point in time, the CDC, New York State, and Nassau County have all expressed their support of 6’ distancing in music settings. Superintendents have received this latest guidance and are already making modifications to their plans. Check with your department or building leadership to make sure they know that the new guidance includes new protocols for music (found on page 8 of the linked document below). Feel free to reach out for suggestions should you need any further assistance advocating in your district.

You can view the entire document at this link: https://on.ny.gov/3a2CbT5.

 


 

Resources:

 Find your Assembly Member: https://nyassembly.gov/mem/search/

Find your State Senator:  https://www.nysenate.gov/find-my-senator

Know your facts:

The Aerosol Study Highlights

The NYSED 2020-2021 Reopening Guide from August 2020 (Page 30 is the spot about 12’)

NYSSMA Advocacy Page

Sample Script for Starting a Conversation with a Legislature: 

How to start a conversation with a legislator:

Hi, My name is ______ and I
{option a} …am a music teacher and teach in [Assembly Member Name’s] District.

-or-

{option b} …am a music teacher and a constituent of [Senator Name].
As a member of Nassau Music Educators Association, I wanted to express a few thoughts
relating to music education.

Music is a vital component to the growth and development of our children and is an integral
part of their well-rounded education as outlined in federal education law.

I hope the [senator/assembly member] will work to ensure that:
{option a} School Districts are funded fully through the state budget so music can
continue to be a point of pride in our district.

AND/OR

{option b} NYSED reviews and updates their recommendations on distancing in the music
classroom based upon the latest scientific studies and information. These studies include
ensuring wind instruments and singers all have proper PPE in order to play with 6’
distancing in classrooms. Without these recommendation reviews students will continue
to needlessly go without music in school.

Thank you for your time.