important updates from Powers

COVID-19 Messages & Instructions

Faculty, Families, and Friends,

Please check this page for our most recent updates about the COVID-19 virus and related announcements.

UPDATE 6/1/22 (Summer Program Guidance)

Powers COVID protocols for summer programs are derived from guidance issued by the state of Massachusetts.

As a general rule, masks are not required, except in specific circumstances outlined below. That said, masks remain an important way to mitigate the spread of COVID 19 and we encourage all participants to wear a mask indoors when possible.

Vaccination is not required to participate in Powers’ programs, but COVID 19 vaccination information will be collected for all participants.

Prior to coming to Powers:

If your child presents symptoms before coming to Powers, administer a rapid antigen test. If the results are negative, your child may attend but must wear a mask while indoors. Please bring the negative test result with you and present it to the program manager or director.

While at Powers:

If your child presents symptoms of COVID 19 while at Powers, we will administer a rapid antigen test. If the test is negative, your child may remain in the program but will be required to wear a mask while indoors. If the test is positive, your child will be placed in an isolation room until they can be picked up by a parent or guardian.

When are masks required?

Masks are required in the following circumstances:

  1. If your child is presenting symptoms of COVID 19, even if he/she has tested negative, a mask must be worn indoors until the symptoms subside.
  2. If your child has been determined to be in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID 19, he/she must wear a mask while indoors for a period of five days from the exposure.
  3. If a Powers faculty member asks your child to wear a mask while in a class or rehearsal because of circumstances that require extra care be taken

What if my child tests positive for COVID 19?

Current guidance states that one must isolate for at least 5 days from the date of the positive test. If, after the isolation period, symptoms have subsided, your child may return to the program but must wear a mask while indoors.

If after isolating for five days, your child’s symptoms are subsiding, but they continue to test positive, please consult your physician to determine whether they can return to the program.

What if my child is a close contact with someone who tests positive?

Close contacts are not required to quarantine or isolate. Therefore, as long as your child remains symptom free they may continue to participate in the program but will need to wear a mask.

If a child tests positive and is determined to have been in close contact with other participants during their infectious period, we will alert the families of those children and ask them to be alert for symptoms and conduct a rapid test five days after the possible exposure. All close contacts will be required to wear masks while indoors.

 

UPDATE 5/12/22

With COVID cases again on the rise, Middlesex County is now considered an area of high transmission. Masks, while not required, are strongly recommended for everyone in public indoor settings (including Powers buildings).

Click here for the full guidance from the Belmont, MA Health Department for high transmission areas and what to do if you test positive, or are in close contact with someone who tests positive.

The state Department of Health has also launched a tele-health service for people at greater risk for complications from COVID 19. More information is available at:  https://www.mass.gov/info-details/free-telehealth-for-covid-19-treatment-with-paxlovid.

 

Update 3/22/22

On March 7, Belmont’s Board of Health, School Committee, and Select Board all voted to eliminate the indoor mask mandate for the town, effective immediately. This means that masks are no longer required in public buildings, businesses, and schools within the town.

Powers will align its mask policy with the town and also no longer require masks.

If you feel more comfortable wearing a mask to your class or lesson, feel free to continue to do so. We also ask that you please respect those around you who may feel more comfortable wearing a mask.

Additionally, Powers is no longer requiring symptom checks upon arrival. However, please note that if any student or parent is presenting COVID symptoms, they may be asked to leave.

Through every phase of the pandemic the Powers’ community has been supportive of each other. Let’s continue to do that as we cross another milestone together.

 

Update 2/10/22

SUMMER DAY PROGRAM COVID PROTOCOLS FOR 2022

Guidance for summer programs, initially published by the state in December of 2021, is expected to change in the coming weeks and months. We will continue to monitor their policies and update our protocols as needed.

Vaccination:  Currently, Massachusetts mandates that summer programs collect COVID vaccination status along with other routine vaccination information prior to the start of each program.

Safe and effective vaccines for COVID 19 are now available for everyone ages 5 and over. Powers strongly recommends that all camp participants and their families get vaccinated at least two weeks prior to the start of camp.

All program staff are required to be fully vaccinated.

Camp participants who are not fully vaccinated will be required to present a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of the start of the program at check-in on the first day. NO EXCEPTIONS OR EXTENSIONS. Additional safety protocols may also be implemented for participants who are not fully vaccinated.

Symptom Checks – At this time we expect to continue with daily symptom checks for all camp participants and staff.

Masking – Masking guidelines are evolving quickly and we will adapt our protocols to comply with current state and local policies. Note, that policies for music programs may be different than those at other summer programs for the general public.

Distancing – Current guidelines recommend three feet of distancing while indoors.

Quarantine/isolation – These guidelines are evolving and we will adhere to what is recommended at the time of our programs.

Update 1/19/22

Currently, Powers is continuing with in-person classes and lessons. We feel the high vaccination rate within our community and the mitigation steps we have in place allow us to remain on-site at this time without the need to transition everything online.

That said, circumstances may dictate that individual teachers need to teach remotely for a period of time. Teachers will communicate with students directly if and when this becomes necessary. Note that our policy from the beginning of this school year has been that classes and lessons may transition between online and in-person formats as dictated by circumstances for individual teachers and students, or due to mandates from various governing authorities. While we make every effort to accommodate individual preferences, we may not always be able to do so, and refunds are not provided due to a change in class or lesson format.

On-Campus

When on campus, we once again ask for your help in keeping our school as safe as possible:

The most important thing we can do for ourselves and each other is to be vaccinated and boosted. Beyond that, It will be very important for all of us to adhere to masking, distancing, sanitizing protocols and ensuring that your daily symptom checks are completed.

Powers is providing KN95 masks to all faculty and staff and we advise all students and visitors to upgrade to KN95 or similar masks as they have proven to be the most effective at reducing the spread of airborne particles.

When possible, avoid waiting inside our buildings during your child’s class or lesson. We understand the need to escort young children to and from class, but returning to your car during the lesson will lessen the number of people in close proximity to one another.

Be mindful of COVID symptoms within your household and do not come to Powers if a student is feeling sick.

CDC Guidance, Close Contacts, and Positive Cases

Powers is following CDC guidance for close contacts and those who have been diagnosed with COVID 19.

The information below is from the CDC updated quarantine and isolation guidance as of January 2022. Please refer directly to the CDC website for the most up-to-date guidance, as it is often revised.

If you are diagnosed with COVID 19, the new CDC guidelines are that you must be isolated for 5 days, after which, assuming you are symptom free, you may resume normal activities but you must wear a mask around others.

A close contact is defined as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 min. or more within a 24 hour period.

Note that close contacts of close contacts are not required to take any additional precautions. Thus, if your spouse, another person in your household, your teacher, or one of your students has been deemed a close contact, that does not mean you are also a close contact.

Those who are determined to be close contacts of someone diagnosed with COVID 19 fall into two broad categories and should follow different protocols depending on their vaccination and booster status.

If you have been boosted OR completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine within the last 6 months OR completed the primary series of J&J vaccine within the last 2 months:
Wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days
Test on day 5, if possible
If you develop symptoms get a test and stay home

If you completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine over 6 months ago and are not boosted OR completed the primary series of J&J vaccine over 2 months ago and are not boosted OR are unvaccinated:
Stay home for 5 days. After that continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others for 5 additional days.
Test on day 5, if possible
If you develop symptoms get a test and stay home

As always, we thank you for your patience and cooperation and will continue to deliver the best experience we possibly can for you during this time.

 

Update 9/1/21 (FALL 2021 COVID Protocols)

This information is specifically for students and caretakers coming to on-site classes and events.

Pre-Arrival Questions

All Powers students and accompanying caretakers should confirm that their temperature is below 100 degrees and answer the three self-check health questions prior to coming to campus. A personal link for your classes will be sent to you. Paper forms with the self-check questions will also be available on-site.

If your temperature is greater than 100 degrees, or you answer “yes” to any of the pre-arrival questions, notify your teacher and do not come to Powers.

If a student comes to class and is showing noticeable symptoms such as persistent cough, sneezing, and sweating, they will be removed from class and placed in an isolated location until their caretaker arrives.

Powers make-up policy allows for one make-up lesson per semester. If you are sick, your teacher will arrange an online lesson during your regular schedule or a make-up at a later date.

While at Powers

In accordance with the Town of Belmont’s indoor mask mandate, you must wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose while in Powers facilities. Masks are required of everyone over the age of 2. Masks are not required outdoors.

Woodwind and brass students should wear masks with openings for mouthpieces, and, when appropriate, use a bell cover.

Below are examples of masks and bell covers for woodwind, brass, and voice students. Be sure to speak with your teacher about appropriate options.

Bell Covers

Bell Cover Filters

Spit Catcher

Upon arrival, wash or disinfect your hands. Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the buildings, and bathrooms will be stocked with hand soap.

To the greatest extent possible, maintain social distancing of at least three feet from other people. Floors in classrooms and studios will have markings on the floor to assist you.

If a student, faculty member, or staff member tests positive for COVID 19:

Powers will work with local health officials and contact tracers to identify and notify anyone who was a close contact of the diagnosed individual. Close contact is defined as anyone who was within six feet of proximity for 15 minutes or more.

If necessary, a group class or private teaching studio will temporarily switch to online instruction to allow for any necessary isolation or quarantine periods.

What to do if…

…You feel sick

If your symptoms are consistent with COVID 19, stay home and notify your teacher about your symptoms and that you will be staying home.

We recommend getting a PCR test, even if you are vaccinated, but this is not required of students who voluntarily stay home when they feel sick.

…You test positive for COVID 19

Notify the school, stay home, and do not come to class until your doctor clears you to do so.

 

Update 7/15/21 (FALL 2021 COVID Protocols)

Powers expects to offer a full slate of in-person classes and lessons for the fall 2021 semester. Online classes and lessons will still be offered through the Powers HOME program for students who prefer that option. Note that not all private instructors or group class programs will offer online options so please contact our registrar (registrar@powersmusic.org) with questions about what online options are available.

While restrictions have been lifted throughout Massachusetts, many of our students are under the age of 12 are not yet able to receive a vaccine. For this reason, Powers is still observing health and safety protocols within our facilities. Our aim is to provide a safe and friendly environment for everyone.

Projected Fall 2021 COVID Protocols (subject to change)

Masks will be required indoors at Powers’ teaching facilities for everyone age 6 and over. Masks are not required for any outdoor activities.

To the greatest extent possible, Social Distancing of 3 feet between individuals for both indoor (masked) and outdoor (unmasked) activities should be observed.

Hand Sanitizer will be available and recommended for everyone as they enter our buildings.

 

Update 6/9/21 (SUMMER DAY PROGRAMS COVID Protocols)

Please find COVID protocols for our summer day programs here, updated 6/9/21.

 

Update: July 30 (Fall)

As we head into the fall, our focus is to keep you as safe as we can. We are moving forward with plans to have a mix of onsite and online programs this fall, assuming there are no changes in state regulations.

Formats are subject to change and will be posted below as they are confirmed. If you don’t see a format you prefer, let us know! With enough interest, we may be able to form a new class.

  • Private Lessons – managed teacher by teacher, allowing individual studios to develop a routine that takes into account the varying disciplines and age groups we serve.
  • Music Pups® – virtual
  • Dalcroze Eurhythmics, Rhythmic Exploration – onsite
  • Piano Powers – virtual/onsite
  • Happy Beats – onsite
  • Music Theory – virtual
  • Ukulele – virtual
  • Suzuki violin – virtual
  • Powers Youth Orchestra – onsite
  • Chamber Ensembles and Duos – onsite
  • Afro-Caribbean Drumming – onsite

For all onsite activities, we’ll limit the number of people in our buildings and have safety and hygiene protocols in place. In the event that there is a positive diagnosis of someone who was in our buildings, we’ll work with the health department to assist with contact tracing and notify the community.

Additionally, we are making investments in our facilities as well. Improving HVAC at 380 Concord avenue, internet service for both 380 and 396 as well as physical changes to some teaching studios.

We know the coming year is going to be a challenge, our aim is to not complicate things any further, but rather to be a bright spot that keeps you going when the world is turned upside-down.

 

Update: May 19 (Summer)

Dear Parents and Students,

While the Baker-Polito administration did release their plan for phased reopening of businesses across the state, the guidance for schools, summer programs, and childcare facilities was limited and remained highly uncertain. Thus, with no clear-cut path toward resuming in-person activities in the coming weeks, we have made the decision to hold all classes, lessons, and day programs online through the end of the summer. We hope to resume in-person teaching in some capacity beginning with the fall semester.

Summer Day Programs
Four of our summer day programs will be offered remotely this year. Updates to the curriculum, schedule, and pricing of each program will be posted on our website as soon as possible. If you have already registered for a summer program we will contact you directly about your options, including refunds or credits for future classes and lessons.

Private Lessons
As the spring semester winds down over the coming weeks, please do speak with your teacher about summer lesson availability. As most summer travel plans have been curtailed, many teachers have extended availability and will be happy to keep a consistent schedule going through the summer months. You have the flexibility to register for as many or as few lessons as you choose and you can always add more if your late summer plans change.

Group Classes
To help with continuity, our summer group classes in early childhood, piano, and ukulele will all start the first week of June. Additional classes with start dates later in the summer will be added as details are finalized. Click here for information about online offerings!

Thank you again for your patience, understanding, and support!

 

Update: May 6 (Memorial Day Weekend)

No regular lessons and classes during Memorial Day Weekend (Saturday, May 23 – Monday, May 25). Individual teachers may opt to hold lessons or recitals during this break.

 

Update: April 22 (REmote Instruction Continues)

Spring – Originally, we had hoped to return onsite the week of April 27. With the decision of Governor Baker to keep schools closed for the remainder of the year, we anticipate remote instruction for all lessons and classes to continue until further guidance is given.

Recitals – In the meantime, your teachers will be in touch with you shortly about the opportunity for virtual spring recitals! We hope these events will provide something for you to work towards, and another way to celebrate your accomplishments this year.

Summer – We still plan to offer private lessons, group classes, and summer day programs, but at this point, it’s too early for us to know exactly where they will be offered (whether onsite or virtual).

Fall Pre-Registration – Pre-registration for continuing private lesson students will begin on May 1st. You’ll have until June 30th to re-enroll (or set up a payment plan, if applicable) and keep your existing lesson time.

Orchestra – Auditions for the Powers Youth Orchestra 2020-2021 season will be held online! All students hoping to join the orchestra should submit an audition form and a link to a video audition. Check the Powers Youth Orchestra page for audition requirements and information.

 

Update: April 8 (April Break and Virtual Classes)

Lessons and classes will continue through April Break Week (Saturday, April 18 – Friday, April 24).

We’re now offering special “pre-summer” virtual classes for 6 weeks! Running from April 23/24 – May 28/29, choose from Piano for Young Beginners (ages 4-5), Jazz and Blues Piano (ages 6-10), Ukulele for Beginners (ages 6+), Sight-Reading & Ear-Training (ages 7+), and Composition (ages 7+). Music Pups singalongs will continue on Sunday and Wednesday mornings at 10:30 am.

 

Update: March 30 (Mildred Freiberg Piano Festival Online)

We will be holding the 2020 Mildred Freiberg Piano Festival as a special virtual event on Wednesday, April 15 – Sunday, April 19. All 2020 festival applicants are encouraged to participate by signing up for an online recital slot. Click here for details!

 

Update: March 16 (MOTH Auditions & Online Resources)

Auditions for our 2020 Music on the Hill (MOTH) program will be happening via Skype – you can still sign up for the March 25, April 4, and May 2 auditions on the MOTH webpage.

Beyond remote instruction for private lessons and classes, our dedicated and talented instructors are sharing a wealth of tips, resources, and even performances online! Be sure to follow Powers on Facebook, follow on Instagram (@powersmusicschool and hashtag #powersmusicschool), and subscribe to our email list to learn about these great additional opportunities for learning and music enjoyment.

 

Update: March 12 (Transition to Remote Instruction)

In light of the Governor’s recent decision and the actions of many organizations in our proximity, we have made the decision to temporarily transition all onsite lessons and classes to a remote learning environment.

We will begin this transition Monday, March 16, and deliver instruction remotely as soon as possible.

Saturday Morning Music School and Suzuki classes in First Unitarian Church (404 Concord Avenue) will not meet Saturday, March 14. While we are still open for all other onsite teaching this Saturday, March 14, we strongly encourage anyone who is sick to stay home.

What does this transition mean for you?

Private lesson students – Your lesson teacher will reach out to you directly this coming week to communicate about the transition to online instruction. We know remote lessons will be new for many of you, and we ask for your cooperation and patience as you and your teacher work together to set up and test this new learning environment. Should you become sick and unable to participate remotely, we are still upholding our make-up policy of 1 make-up per semester due to student absence.

Music Pups families – No class on Saturday, March 14. Instructor Jennifer Choe will be in touch shortly with instructions for remote classes, beginning next week, March 16-21.

Saturday Morning Music School will not meet on March 14 or 21.

Group class students – All group classes with the exception of Music Pups will be canceled for the week of March 16-21. Going forward, while we will not be able to meet onsite, our instructors are developing plans to teach online to continue your learning in new and creative ways, beginning the week of Monday, March 23.

Afro-Caribbean Drumming, Powers Youth Orchestra, viola da gamba, chamber ensembles, jazz ensemble, and other ensemble students – weekly meetings will be temporarily on hiatus until further notice.

We anticipate that remote instruction will continue through the last date of April break week, Saturday, April 24. Prior to April 24, we will notify you of our plans to continue remote learning or to transition back onsite on this webpage and via email.

Thank you for your unending patience and support during this unprecedented situation.

Should you have any questions or concerns that are not answered or addressed above, please email us at office@powersmusic.org and we will do our very best to respond in a timely manner.

 

Update: March 12 (Cancelled Events)

We have been monitoring the guidance and actions of local and national public health officials closely, including the decision of Belmont Public Schools and many local universities and organizations to cancel or postpone large public events to help control community spread of the virus.

Because of this, we have made the hard decision to cancel the following:

  • Mildred Freiberg Piano Festival & Friday Opening Concert
  • Spring Workshop Week
  • Saturday Morning Music School Spring Concert
  • All-School Recitals on April 4 and April 11

All 2020 Mildred Freiberg Piano Festival application fees and any tickets purchased to the March 27th concert will be refunded. We thank you for your patience as we work through the refund process.

 

Update: March 4

As news reports continue to warn of the spread of coronavirus, we wanted to take a moment to update you on how Powers is responding to the current situation.

First and foremost, we are not panicking, nor should you. Available evidence shows that while the virus is serious, its spread can be mitigated through precautions we take for any flu season. That said, music lessons are ideal places for germs to spread. Teachers may occasionally touch students’ hands or instruments to help with tuning or to demonstrate a technique or musical passage. Therefore, our being mindful about hand washing and cleaning surfaces will go a long way toward minimizing risks to yourself, your children, and those with whom you come into contact.

To that end, Powers is placing signs throughout both buildings asking students to wash their hands before their classes and lessons. We are also placing hand sanitizer in every studio and classroom. While effective, alcohol-based sanitizers can be abrasive to instruments. For this reason, we don’t advise using them directly on your instrument. Instead, we suggest wiping instruments with a cotton cloth or using a cleanser designed for use with your specific instrument.

Most importantly, if a student becomes sick, please stay home! Even if it’s just the common cold, staying home will eliminate the risk of spreading germs to your teacher and other students. As a reminder, every student enrolled in lessons receives one make-up lesson per semester for an absence, so in most cases, you will incur no loss by taking a week off to recover.

We are developing contingency plans should circumstances warrant additional precautions. The health and safety of our students and employees are of prime importance. We assume that as long as you and your teachers are in good health, you will want to continue your work together, and we are looking at all the available ways that can happen should there be increased local concerns about the virus’ transmission.

For now, we’re hoping for the best and planning for the worst. We ask that you join us in taking the basic precautions that are effective at minimizing the transmission of viral infections.