Home Status on TRYPO’s Covid-19 Protocols for the 2021-22 Season:

Status on TRYPO’s Covid-19 Protocols for the 2021-22 Season:

Status on TRYPO’s Covid-19 Protocols for the 2021-22 Season:

LAST UPDATED: 9.2.21 by Lindsey Nova

To see the full policy, please click here: TRYPO *Serious about Safety* Covid Protocols 21-22 Season



Last updated 9.1.21. Approved by the Board of Directors on 9.2.21

About these Protocols

The possibility of transmission of COVID-19 is very real. Given that we have more than 160 students coming from more than 70 different schooling scenarios, we are compelled to do everything possible to mitigate transmission. Our goal with these protocols is to create the conditions for us to make music safely together – in-person! – and remove as much risk as possible of TRYPO students contracting the virus at a TRYPO event and thereby spreading it to their families, friends, school classmates, and teachers. TRYPO cannot be a ground zero for an outbreak. Adherence to these guidelines is required for participation in all in-person activities. We are incredibly proud of our track record last spring when, to our knowledge, we had zero cases of transmission from our activities. We want to keep it that way.

This season’s COVID-19 Safety Protocols are going to be utilizing the “Swiss cheese model of pandemic defense.” We recognize that no one single layer of intervention is going to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and the shut-down of our rehearsals and concerts, but numerous layers of defense give us the best chance of success. We’re going to start our season with many layers of defense for the first month or so and see how we are doing. When we do well and/or transmission levels in our region start to fall again, we’ll reassess our strategies as we are able to and our venues allow us to, and continue to monitor and adjust.

We appreciate so much the understanding, cooperation, patience, and flexibility of our families – those traits are going to be the reason we are able to make music together safely, which is our number one goal!

There is a great deal of information included in this document. We have attempted to anticipate all the various scenarios. Here is a brief summary:

Vaccinated students: Current protocols require a mask and instrument PPE, a weekly health check submitted before arrival, and check-in protocols. Some of our safety protocols may be relaxed as our venues and evolving circumstances allow and/or as transmission rates decrease in our region. Practice good hygiene, don’t share items, and follow TRYPO staff instructions and chair placements. Help keep the room clean. When in doubt regarding your own health, stay home and participate via Zoom.

Unvaccinated students who are eligible for the vaccine: May only participate if a medical or religious exemption is filed and approved. These students are required to follow additional COVID prevention measures, in addition to what is required for vaccinated students.

Unvaccinated students not yet eligible for the vaccine: May participate with additional COVID prevention measures. When a student who is not yet eligible for the vaccine becomes eligible (child turns 12 years old or FDA emergency authorization is approved for younger children), we will expect that the student receives the first dose within three weeks of becoming eligible or files medical or religious exemption request in order to continue to participate. The student will need to continue to follow additional COVID prevention measures until they are considered fully vaccinated (two weeks past the final dose).


 Mandatory Student COVID-19 Vaccination Policy


In accordance with Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestras’ duty to provide and maintain an educational environment that is free of known hazards, we are adopting this mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy to safeguard the health of our students and their families, and the community at large from infectious diseases such as COVID-19 and its known variants. This policy will comply with all applicable laws and is based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Pennsylvania Health Department, as applicable.


All students who participate in Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestras in-person programming and are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine are required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine unless a reasonable accommodation is approved. Students not in compliance with this policy may not participate in in-person activities.


As of May 12, 2021, all individuals over the age of 12 are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestras has been relying on voluntary compliance. Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestras has determined that it is in the organization’s best interest to require in-person students to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or any of its variants. As a result, prior to the first in-person rehearsal all students must: (1) provide proof of vaccination or (2) request and have approved an accommodation as detailed below. Proof of vaccination must include the date the student received the dose(s) of the vaccine and the type of vaccine received. Students may get any of the COVID-19 vaccines that are approved in Pennsylvania at the time of vaccination. As of the date of this policy, Pfizer-BioNTech is the vaccine currently available for children under 18 years old.

Reasonable Accommodation

Students in need of an exemption from this policy due to a medical reason, or because of a sincerely held religious belief, must request an accommodation. To request an accommodation for one of the above reasons, please notify the TRYPO’s Executive Director Lindsey Nova in writing of your accommodation request (Lindsey@trypo.org) to receive a copy of the accommodation request form. Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestras will determine if a reasonable accommodation can be provided so long as it does not create an undue hardship and/or does not pose a direct threat to the health or safety of other staff or students.


Additional COVID-19 mitigation steps for non-vaccinated students

Students who are not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine or who have an approved medical or religious exemption on file will have additional mitigation protocols in place.

  • We will start the season with non-vaccinated students providing a weekly negative COVID-19 test result (either rapid test or PCR test) prior to each rehearsal/event.
    • A negative rapid test must be taken within 24 hours of rehearsal/event start.
    • A negative PCR test must be taken within 72 hours of rehearsal/event start time.
    • PCR or rapid tests may be administered by a third-party entity, or TRYPO will also accept an FDA-approved at home rapid test (such as BinaxNOW COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test at Home Kit). TRYPO will assist with expense of a home rapid test for families who have applied for scholarship assistance and demonstrated financial need.
    • All test results must be marked with the student’s name, date and time of the test. Test results should be emailed to TRYPO staff at least one hour prior to rehearsal/event start time.
  • TRYPO will make best efforts for non-vaccinated students to have ensemble placement that observes at least six feet of distance. This may in some cases result in lack of rotation or placement in the back of the ensemble or in an unusual spot in the room. Families should not consider this placement punitive, simply for efficiency of space and to avoid non-vaccinated students having to walk past many students to get to their chair.
  • Non-vaccinated students’ masks must be double-layer cloth mask, KN-95 or N-95, or surgical mask. Masks must be tightly fitted around the nose and mouth. There should be no gapping at any time while the student is at TRYPO event space. TRYPO can provide a surgical or KN-95 mask. These requirements will stay in place for unvaccinated students likely the whole season.
  • When a student who is not yet eligible for the vaccine becomes eligible (i.e. turns 12 years old or FDA emergency authorization is approved for younger children), we will expect that the student receives the first dose within three weeks of becoming eligible. The student will need to continue to follow these expanded protocols until they are considered fully vaccinated (two weeks past the final dose).
  • When an unvaccinated student needs to drink water or if there is a snack/meal being eaten on site, the mask should only be removed at six feet of distance from other students or staff.
  • Non-vaccinated students will not be able to travel with TRYPO in June 2022.
  • TRYPO takes the safety of our students and your surrounding circles of influence very seriously. If these protocols are not followed at any time while the student is at Duquesne University campus or the any of our other rehearsal or performance locations, the student can be dismissed from participating in TRYPO. TRYPO will not provide refunds for dismissal due to lack of policy adherence.


COVID-19 Mitigation Steps for TRYPO staff, Coaches, Conductors

The TRYPO Board of Directors approved a similar vaccination policy for staff, conductors, and coaches on August 27, 2021. All TRYPO staff, conductors, and coaches are required to follow the same protocols as the students to start the season as it relates to masking and instrument PPE. We will start the season with weekly rapid tests for conductors as one additional data point to keep students safe. It is possible that the mask mandate may be removed for staff, conductors, and coaches per the guidance of Duquesne University or our other host venues, and when the state of transmission in our region decreases.

To see the rest of the policy, please click here: TRYPO *Serious about Safety* Covid Protocols 21-22 Season

What are our virtual options for students who prefer virtual programming or unvaccinated students over the age of 12 who do not submit an exemption request? 

  • We can consider a large ensemble virtual participation option, pending the ability to connect to a reliable internet connection at our rehearsal venues (YPO and WS will have reliable internet at Duquesne University – SYM is still TBA).
  • We are still considering offering TRYPOsphere classes in music theory and composition again this semester.
  • If all members of a Youth Chamber Connection chamber music group such as a string quartet wanted to meet virtually only and focus on recording projects, this is another virtual-only option that would be available to this group of students.



LAST UPDATED: 8.13.21 by Lindsey Nova

TRYPO families might be seeing on the news that the Delta variant of COVID-19 is on the rise and many organizations and businesses are trying to make decisions on how we can operate while preventing transmission. The safety of our students, staff, and their extended families and social circles will continue to be a top priority. The roll-out and effectiveness of the vaccines has certainly played a huge part in reducing serious illness and death and we believe vaccinations are key to our ability to continue in-person rehearsals and concerts. That being said, we need a bit more time to issue our COVID-19 protocols and policies, especially as information is changing every day and we are working with other different venues and hosts such as Duquesne University who will be issuing us protocols to follow in order to be on their campus. It is possible we might have stricter protocols in place than Duquesne University, in consideration of the fact that our students come from many school districts and we want to do everything we can to prevent community outbreaks. We learned in Spring 2021 that we can make music together as safely as possible and to our knowledge we had zero issues of COVID-19 transmission at our rehearsals and events. We want to keep it that way!


We are considering which COVID mitigation protocols to have in place in the fall while our county has cases on the rise. Here are some of the elements we are considering:

  • MASKS: We anticipate starting the season with all students fully masked in rehearsals regardless of vaccination status, per newly issued CDC recommendations. It is possible at some point during the season that vaccinated students could be allowed to remove their masks during rehearsal if CDC guidance is updated.
  • WEEKLY CHECK-IN: We anticipate continuing to have a check-in procedure in order to enter the building, which will likely be run jointly with Duquesne University’s City Music Center for programming that takes place on Duquesne University’s campus. Programming that takes place at alternate venues (i.e. Sunday Youth Chamber Connection groups) may fall under a different check-in format.
  • WIND/BRASS INSTRUMENT PPE: Wind/brass musicians will likely at some point during the season need access to instrument PPE (bell covers or instrument bags and musicians’ masks) as they have been shown to help slow the transmission of aerosols. It is likely we will start the season with all wind/brass musicians using instrument PPE. TRYPO will assist with purchasing these items for any families that ask for help. See the 2020-21 *Serious About Safety* Protocols for more information about wind/brass instrument PPE. TRYPO will continue to provide puppy pads for all wind/brass instruments to collect condensation from the instrument, which must be disposed of each week by the student. It is likely that to start the season, instrument PPE requirements may apply to both vaccinated and unvaccinated students. It is possible at some point we may only require instrument PPE for unvaccinated students.
  • STUDENT VACCINATIONS: While we are waiting for more information from our host venues, we are asking all families registering for TRYPO to inform TRYPO of the student’s vaccination status and upload the student’s vaccination card to the registration form. We are aware that some of our younger students are not yet eligible for the vaccine and we will work with the families of ineligible students on how best to keep them safe at in-person rehearsals.
    • FYI YPO families: We have been informed by our Carnegie Hall presenter that Carnegie Hall, NYC has recently announced they are committed to having a fully vaccinated building in order to reopen. All artists, audience members, and staff will need to show proof of full vaccination status in order to enter the building. This likely will apply to our June 2022 performance there.  YPO families can anticipate that vaccination will be required in order to participate on this trip.
  • ONLINE PROGRAMMING: We do anticipate continuing to be able to offer a Zoom participation element to in-person rehearsals in case of illness or COVID exposure but we do not anticipate at this time returning to a full Zoom-only scenario. Exceptions to this could include, but are not limited to, some of the following circumstances: the state or county re-issues stay-at-home instructions; there is a break-out situation linked back to our rehearsals and we need to pause in-person rehearsals to prevent further exposures; our venues cite a problem and ask us to pause in-person rehearsals. We are also considering continuing to offer TRYPOsphere online courses if TRYPO families are interested. It is possible that TRYPOsphere courses could have a hybrid format with some in-person classes and some online classes.
  • REHEARSAL SCHEDULES: While at this time, we anticipate starting rehearsals at full capacity and with a regular rehearsal schedule, this may change resulting in a schedule change. We may need to reduce room capacity in order to reinstitute distancing between musicians. We may need to adjust rehearsal schedules if room air change breaks need to be reinstated to prevent transmission. Should this happen, some groups may have rehearsal changes and shortened rehearsal times. For example, if our rehearsal room capacity changes from 100 to 50, YPO may have separate strings rehearsals and separate wind/brass/percussion rehearsals (similar to Spring 2021).
    • TRYPO Large Ensembles do have venues selected and concert dates (See TRYPO Handbook for more information). Concert formats, stage plots, and performances schedules will be determined at a later date when we know more about capacities for audiences at that time given the current state of COVID-19.
    • Youth Chamber Connection Community Performances and Recitals: We hope that community performances can become a feature of Youth Chamber Connection again at some point during the season, likely Spring 2021. It is likely that Youth Chamber Connection  initial sets of recitals will be in-person but for smaller audiences of friends and family.
  • FLEXIBILITY: Once issued, TRYPO’s 2021-22 COVID *Serious about Safety* Protocols will be revised frequently throughout the season as we flex with the balance between what is best pedagogically for our young musicians and the best way to prevent COVID-19 transmission while continuing to make music together safely!
  • PARTICIPATE AT YOUR OWN RISK: While we will do everything we can to continue to keep students, staff, and their extended circles as safe as possible, families choose to enroll and participate at their own risk. A liability waiver will continue to be required in order to participate in any TRYPO programs.
  • New families: To see how TRYPO navigated COVID-19 in the 2020-21 season, see COVID-19 RESPONSE.