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Suggestions for Music Lessons during Covid-19


Update: June 22, 2020

Colleagues of the Ontario Registered Music Teachers’ Association,

ORMTA recognizes that some teachers and students are quite eager to resume in-person lessons, while other teachers prefer to continue on-line lessons, or take the summer off.

The following is an update on Stage 2 reopening plan. Based on the information provided by the Province of Ontario, we offer the following clarifications:

• On-line lessons are currently preferred.
• In-person lessons must maintain social distancing, and masks are suggested (required in some regions). If your activity does not permit wearing masks in close proximity, on-line lessons should be continued.
• Health and Safety guidelines for disinfecting spaces should be implemented.
• Individuals residing and working in a Stage 2 region who want to resume in person lessons should contact their municipal bylaw officer and regional public health unit for final approval.
• Music lessons, even with safety measures implemented, pose a risk of virus transmission.

We have an update on the reopening of music studios. Please read carefully. This is not a blanket statement of approval to all music studios.  

ORMTA has reached out to the office of the Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade and received this response: 

Thank you for your inquiry and for taking the time to understand how the Emergency Order on business closures applies to music lessons. Your patience has been appreciated. 

Private in-person music lessons may be considered as a personal service and are permitted to reopen under Stage 2 of Ontario’s Framework for Reopening if they are conducted in locations that have already reopened or are conducted in-home.  

Instructors should implement proper health and safety protocols when engaging with clients. This includes modifying operations to enable clients and instructors to maintain a 2-metre physical distance at all time (such as limiting the number of people in the same areas at one time), disinfecting common areas and objects, and reducing the amount of shared equipment. Clients should use their own instruments and shared equipment must be sanitized between uses, such as instruments with mouth pieces.  

Virtual or outdoor lessons are encouraged where possible. Activities that do not permit the use of masks when in close proximity should be practiced using virtual means.   

COVID-19 is a new virus. According to Public Health Ontario, it spreads by respiratory droplets of an infected person to others with whom they have close contact. Music lessons, including the playing of instruments and vocal lessons pose a risk of virus transmission. 

We appreciate the support from Ontarians and Ontario businesses that are helping us contain the spread of this new virus to ensure the health and safety of all Ontarians. 

Regards, 

Candice Kei
MPP Liaison
Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (MEDJCT) - Office of the Minister

Mobile: 416.720.4139
Candice.Kei@ontario.ca 

In response to the letter from the Ministry of Economics, we contacted the Ministry of Health, and received this response: 

Thank you for your email to the Ministry of Health. 
As you are aware, based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the province has enacted a declaration of emergency to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect the public. 
To help stop the spread of COVID-19, the government asked businesses to temporarily close non-essential workplaces. You can learn more about the temporary closures and the list of essential services. If you have questions about impacts to your business, read our frequently asked questions or call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.  They will have the latest information as it pertains to your sector.
Sincerely,
M. Kyte
Correspondence and Corporate Support
Ministry of Health

Please remember that ORMTA is not a business; you are the individual responsible for your business practices, choices, and consequences.  

Ontario has made progress in the reopening stages, and we have offered suggestions on what measures you might take in your private studios to help keep students and yourself safe when the time comes for you to resume in-person lessons. 

ORMTA’s recommendations are taken from Public Health Ontario, https://www.publichealthontario.ca/ and Ontario’s Resources to prevent COVID-19 in the workplace, and Reopening the Province, https://www.ontario.ca/page/reopening-ontariohttps://www.wsps.ca/WSPS/media/Site/Resources/Downloads/covid-19-personal-services-health-and-safety

Laura Gray
ORMTA President
Helpful Links:

Ontario Coronavirus info

CDC Coronavirus page

Canada's Covid-19 Economic Response Plan

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

Resources for Online Teaching:


Clavier Companion

Teach Music Online


Financial Options for Teachers:

• If it is not possible to teach either in-person or online, and you have been contributing to Employment Insurance, please look into your EI benefits should you require financial assistance. EI specifications are now broadened to include anyone who cannot work because of public health precautions.

• If it is not possible to teach at all, and you do not have Employment Insurance, the Canadian Government has announced a Covid-19 Economic Response Plan for those who will be unable to earn income. If you require financial assistance please review this plan hereWe would encourage all members to consider contributing to EI in the future. Here are some helpful links:
  • EI Benefits

• At this time, ORMTA Membership Invoices are scheduled to be sent out in April with a due date of July 1st. ORMTA is monitoring the situation closely and will make adjustments to policy as required.




Update: June 15, 2020

Dear ORMTA Colleagues,

ORMTA will continue to contact the Ministry for confirmation on which sector Music Teachers fit into. We encourage you to inform yourself and make inquiries on your own behalf, as outlined in our June 10 letter.

As we see Ontario making progress we want to offer suggestions on what measures you might take in your private studios to help keep students and yourself safe when the time comes for YOU to resume in-person lessons.

Download "Considering In-Person Teaching" suggestions
Download "Considering In-Person Teaching" infographic

Please remember that ORMTA is not a business; you are the individual responsible for your business practices, choices, and consequences.

ORMTA’s recommendations are taken from Public Health Ontario, https://www.publichealthontario.ca/ and Ontario’s Resources to prevent COVID-19 in the workplace, and Reopening the Province,  https://www.ontario.ca/page/reopening-ontario.

Laura Gray
ORMTA President

president@ormta.org


Update: June 10, 2020

Colleagues of the Ontario Registered Music Teachers’ Association, 

At this time, ORMTA recommends online lessons only.


ORMTA will continue to monitor updates on reopening and keep you informed. However, it will be very difficult to make Province-wide statements on resuming in-person lessons and safe teaching practices because of our diverse regions, teaching styles and activities. We encourage you to reach out to your local levels of government for specific details, follow the health advisories around singing, and subsequently playing a brass or wind instrument, and make informed decisions based on your needs. 

If you feel that it is time for private music teachers to resume in-person lessons in Ontario, you can

•  contact your local MPP by phone or email
•  call Stop The Spread at 1-888-444-3659. I spoke with them today, but I am only one voice. Daily recommendations are made to government officials based on the number of calls from a sector.

Please remember that ORMTA is not a business; you are the individual responsible for your business practices, choices, and consequences.  

We know that this spring has been challenging, both professionally and personally. As we see Ontario making progress we want to offer suggestions on what measures you might take in your private studios to help keep students and yourself safewhen the time comesfor music studios to resume in-person lessons.  

ORMTA’s recommendations are taken from Public Health Ontario,https://www.publichealthontario.ca/ and Ontario’s Resources to prevent COVID-19 in the workplace, and Reopening the Province,https://www.ontario.ca/page/reopening-ontario. They will be posted on our website and social media pages in the next couple of days.

Laura Gray
ORMTA President


president@ormta.org


Update: May 19, 2020

Many music teachers have been able to find creative and innovative ways to connect with students throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.  There are many social media resources including ORMTA Members GroupCFMTA on Facebook, and the Piano Teacher Canada Facebook Group, as well as excellent blogs and print articles on the topics of on-line teaching and preparing to reopen your studio. We encourage our ORMTA members to continue on-line lessons until further notice from the Government of Ontario and Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health. At that time ORMTA will share some recommendations and tips for resuming in-person lessons, should you choose to do so.  See this page for more information on the reopening process in Ontario.

Update: April 1, 2020

The 2020 Provincial Instrumental, Vocal and Young Artist Competitions have been cancelled. In light of the COVID-19 virus, ORMTA Council discussed many options including a delayed competition and an online competition. These conversations were lengthy and many thoughts were shared. Zone Representatives communicated with the Branches they represent to make sure that the maximum number of voices were heard. In the end, Council voted to cancel the in-person competitions and, in a separate motion, voted against an online competition. ORMTA Council thanks everyone who shared their thoughts and concerns. These are difficult decisions to make, but we are all in uncharted territory. 

Update: March 25, 2020

On March 23rd, The Province of Ontario released a list of essential businesses that would be authorized to continue operating. Music teachers are not part of this list, and as schools throughout Ontario remain closed, ORMTA advises that all lessons be taught online.

Teachers:
 
• If you have not previously taught via video conferencing, please take some time to research your options and equipment needed. There are many resources available for this, some of which are listed to the right and have also been shared on ORMTA's social media pages.

• If you are teaching in a more rural area and the internet is not as reliable, you may be able to use your cell phone's data to connect. Many providers now offer unlimited data but please check with them for any costs that may be incurred.

As the situation evolves, please use the links above to keep up to date and use your discretion regarding travel or attending or teaching lessons.