I want to start by thanking each and every member who attended the 2021 CMEA Clinic Conference a few weeks ago.  This was a bold endeavor to continue our service to the CMEA membership in regard to content specific professional development.  While concerned about whether members would embrace this year’s structure I was never worried about the value or content of the clinics because the quality of people on our planning is exemplary.  I want to thank in particular Todd DiCamilloElizabeth FordCraig WestwoodMark HudsonMargie Camp, Michelle Ewer and Andrea Meyers who were chairs of the various divisions of CMEA and selected, organized and supervised the program. With these special people in charge of their areas I knew that there was nothing I would have to worry about.  A very profound thank you goes to Bill Kohut, Executive Director of CMEA, who did a great deal of work finding, corresponding with and being our ultimate liaison to Creative Generations whose platform the 2021 conference ran on. Last, but not least, I want to thank Cynthia Eversole for all of her work covering things I could not get to and taking on the our new DEIA Task Force.

It was interesting that in the same week as the 2021 conference was being held CDE (Colorado Department of Education) and CDPHE (Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment [the state health department]) updated their guidance structure in regard to safe class rooms.  These changes were mainly in the performing arts section of the Encourage Safe Physical Distancing During Activities and Limit Sharing document.  There are two concurrent studies going on right now, one based at CSU-Fort Collins and another in a cooperative effort between CU-Boulder and the University of Maryland, studying aerosols (particulates in our breath) and how they interact in closed and semi-closed spaces.  These studies began right after an incident in Washington state where a church choir practice was the focal point of an outbreak of COVID-19 which put our profession under the proverbial microscope in regards to transmitting infectious disease. The guidelines were sent out by CDE in July, 2020 after initial findings and assumptions based on studying the Washington outbreak.  The updated findings in January, 2021 were based on the CSU study since one of the scientists in the study is on the CDPHE panel that recommends what is safe to CDE.  The current guidelines are the result of CMEA and CHSAA asking that data from the NFHS (CU/UM) study be considered also. Links to the CSU & NFHS studies are listed below as well as a link to the guidelines and I encourage you to become familiar with all three as you advocate for your programs.  The guidelines from CDE are just that guidelines.  They are not hard and fast rules.  Each school and district are asked to make their classrooms as safe as they possibly can to teach the students they are charged with.  This means that you need to work within that framework to show your school, district and/or local health department that your plan is working to ensure the physical, mental and emotional health of adults and children as you work to teach your curriculum.  At no time has CDE or CDPHE advocated for dropping music programs for student safety, they have posted guidelines, strategies and procedures for keeping music in our schools safe for the physical, mental and emotional health of our students.

Links to to important research

Guidelines for Performing Arts classrooms.  

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Because of the ongoing pandemic, CMEA has suffered major losses in revenue since last March. Our membership is down by 60%, the majority of All-States Groups this year were cancelled, and income from the annual conference is 1/3 of its normal amount. CMEA is seeking donations to help offset expenses during this pandemic. You are encouraged to contribute whatever amount you able to afford. Your support is greatly appreciated. Remember- WE ARE ALL CMEA!!