March 4th, 2020

Dear Ballard Music Families,
By now, most of you are aware that Seattle Public Schools has cancelled all out-of-state travel for the remainder of the school year due to concerns about the Coronavirus.  While our number one concern as teachers is always the safety of our students, it is nevertheless heartbreaking to deal with the loss of these trips and experiences that our students and families have worked so hard for. 
After our students' safety, our next most important concern is for the significant financial resources that have been invested by our families and the Ballard Performing Arts Boosters.  As soon as we learned of the district's planned actions yesterday, we contacted our various travel agents to look into the best way to proceed given the money that we have already paid.  Please know that all directors and travel agents are working diligently to find the best possible scenario.  

Each trip is different.  Some trips may be able to be postponed until next year (with the idea that we would try to reimburse graduating senior families), while other trips may need to be cancelled all together with as much of a refund as possible.  Seattle Public Schools are beginning conversations about how to handle financial impacts from these trips.  The superintendent is drafting a letter explaining the district's policy that can be used by travel agents as leverage with airlines and hotels, etc.  
Finally, we are also concerned about the musical experiences of our students this spring.  We know how difficult the loss of these performance opportunities can be, both to our students' emotional well-being and to their music education.  We are considering opportunities to perform some of this music festival repertoire locally.  If any of you have connections to local venues who might be willing to help support us in this endeavor, please reach out and let us know. 
Thank you for your patience and support as we continue to do our best for our families.  These are trying times for all involved, but know that we care deeply about our students and families, and will continue to do everything in our power to bring about the best possible results. 

We will continue to advocate for the best possible outcome and will communicate as more information becomes available. 
Courtney Rowley, Director of Choirs
Michael James, Director of Bands
Beth Fortune, Director of Orchestras