The Winterset High School band is planning to attempt to have a relatively normal season this year while also keeping the students as safe as possible. 

Ice Cream on the Square

Thanks to the current health crisis, the Winterset band’s annual Ice Cream on the Square event will look a bit different this year. The performance will be at the same time as in the past – Thursday at 6 p.m., but it will not be on the square, and there will not be ice cream. The band will perform instead at the football stadium. 

Audience members are encouraged to wear masks and to stay properly distanced from people outside their immediate household. Attendees should not linger or gather after the event for pictures. 

Marching band and COVID-19

Winterset is one of very few schools in Iowa that is attempting to run as “normal” of a marching band season as possible. They are able to do so because of the facilities, resources, staff, and student leaders at their disposal, and because they believe that by following the guidelines below they can do so and keep their students and staff safe. 

The band’s COVID-19 mitigation techniques draw from Iowa High School Music Association (IHSMA) and National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) guidance for band rehearsals, which was based on the Performing Arts Aerosol Study commissioned by the College Band Directors National Association and the NFHS – a study commissioned by band people to keep band students as safe as possible. 

For the next two weeks, there will be no large gathering of students inside the building: they will be outside and properly-spaced as much as possible. 

Because they are juggling 100+ students and staff, there might be instances when people are unable to maintain the recommended six feet of distance. If this happens, students will be asked to don a mask during these times. All students are asked to have a mask on hand. If they do not have a mask, there will be disposable masks available for them. These events are expected to be relatively rare, as the band will be outside and appropriately spaced as much as possible. 

The band plans to set up pop-up canopy tents around campus for sections to use as their “home base” for the day. The tents will be used to store instruments during the day and for breaks. This will help keep track of who is in each student’s “bubble” for contact-tracing purposes. 

Flip folios and lyres have been purchased for all wind instruments to eliminate the need to share music and stands. All percussionists will have their own personal stands and binders of music. 

There will be no wind instruments played inside the building. A large 60-foot by 30-foot tent will be used for large sectionals. Students will spread out and use the shaded area underneath the stadium for full-group rehearsals, and they will use the pop-up canopy tents for small group rehearsals. Students will be spaced out appropriately during all rehearsals. 

The only sections allowed to rehearse in the band and choir rooms will be the battery and front line percussion sections. Their “stations” will be clearly marked and more-than-adequately spaced out in both of the large rooms. Masks will be strongly encouraged while rehearsing inside. They will also be outside and appropriately spaced as much as possible. 

The day-to-day schedule will be modified and staggered to decrease the amount of time that the whole band is present. This will also eliminate the whole band arriving and departing at the same time, and ease congestion in the band and choir rooms. 

Students will be responsible for bringing their own water bottles this year. They will be able to refill them from the fountains in the band and choir rooms, following the refilling guidance posted on the wall above the fountains. There will be no sharing of water bottles or snacks. All restroom and water-refilling breaks will be staggered by section to avoid large groups of students in the building.