LAST UPDATED: 5.14.22 by Lindsey Nova
This week, Allegheny County officially bumped into the Medium Risk Level having crossed over 200 weekly cases per 100,000 population. When we loosened the safety restrictions a few weeks ago, we did talk about this having a chance of happening! The COVID Committee met this week and we are adding back some safety protocols as follows:
- Masking is required at TRYPO rehearsals for all staff, teaching artists, and musicians for Saturday, May 14 and Saturday May 21.
- If any wind or brass player would like to play without a musicians’ mask, please show a negative test result (antigen ok) at Duquesne University at check-in. Otherwise, please plan to have a musician’s mask while playing.
- Please continue to stay vigilant on monitoring any possible symptom onset.
- Performer safety protocols for the May 28 concert have been posted on the Concert Memo.
Other discussions at this week’s COVID Committee included:
- The COVID Committee also discussed safety protocols for the Conquer Carnegie trip June 11-15, 2022 and those will be released soon.
- The COVID Committee also began to look at updates to our COVID-19 Safety Protocols for the 2022-23 Season. Over the coming weeks, we will be drafting language for the Board of Directors to consider and approve. For families considering their participation in the 2022-23 season, our goal is to have our policy updated and published before the registration deadline in the summer.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation to help us get through the end of the season safely! If families have questions about the COVID-19 Safety Protocols, please e-mail me at Lindsey@trypo.org.
LAST UPDATED: 3.24.22 by Lindsey Nova
Updates approved by the Board of Directors on 3.21.22
Since March 2020, TRYPO has been carefully watching the status of COVID-19 in our region; following local, state, and federal guidance; speaking with medical professionals; consulting with legal counsel; as well as maintaining dialogue with other arts organizations both in Pittsburgh and outside of Pittsburgh when setting our safety protocols. We are grateful that the safety protocols meant we could make music in person together, but we are more recently incredibly heartened and hopeful at the improvement we have seen in transmission in our community!
Accordingly, the TRYPO Board of Directors has approved updates to the TRYPO Safety Protocols in light of the fact that Allegheny County’s COVID-19 status is now:
- Moderate based on weekly Transmission per 100,000 people
- Low based on COVID-19 Community Level (the CDC’s new metric)
Please note the following updates to the TRYPO Safety Protocols:
- Staff will no longer conduct weekly temperature checks at student arrival. (Students will move to a “sign-in” format – please follow instructions upon arrival.)
- Weekly symptom check form submitted by parents weekly no longer required, but we ask parents to continue to be vigilant in monitoring symptoms.
- TRYPO office/student rehearsals/concerts move to “Mask-Friendly” for all individuals with vaccination cards on file as long as a “mask-friendly” policy is consistent with our host venue. Masks no longer required.
- Students or teaching artists who have an exemption to the vaccination policy approved by TRYPO on file may choose to either wear a mask to rehearsal or provide a weekly negative test but do not need to do both.
- While a distanced chair can still be requested by students, parents, or a teaching artist, they are no longer required for any musician.
- If you develop any symptoms consistent with COVID-19, stay home and get a test. Notify TRYPO staff that you will need to attend via Zoom if possible.
A few other clarifications:
- What does Mask-Friendly mean? Some people will choose to continue wearing a mask. I ask that we all respect each individual’s decision whether or not to wear a mask. People may choose to wear a mask for many reasons: they may spend time with young unvaccinated children; they may live with an immunocompromised person; they may spend time with a person who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons; or they may want an extra layer of protection, among other reasons.
- We still commit to observe any safety protocols required by our venues. At this time, the above changes are in line with recent updates to protocols at Duquesne University and Heinz Hall, but Carnegie Hall NYC’s protocols still require masks, testing, and vaccination/boosters. We will notify families if Carnegie Hall makes any changes to their protocols.
- All staff, students, parents, and teaching artists should please be advised that we are by no means out of the woods with COVID-19. TRYPO may need to re-institute any of our more involved COVID safety protocols at any time. These safety protocols have been the difference between being in person and participating on a computer and we will not hesitate to reinstate them if we believe it is in the best interest of the safety of our staff and students.
Updates approved by the Board of Directors on 12.2.21
Student Safety Protocols for full-year students and students participating in overnight experiences:
- Updates to Instrument PPE and Masks: Masks required for all string, percussion, keyboard, harp. Winds and brass must have musician’s masks. Winds and brass must switch to solid mask when not actively playing. At this time, bell covers are not required due to 100% vaccination in YPO and WS but TRYPO may re-institute it at any time.
- Updates to Ensemble Distancing: YPO and WS are not currently distanced ensembles due to 100% vaccination rates. In January 2022 Symphonette will also have a high vaccination rate and will no longer be a distanced ensemble at that time.
Student Musician/Guest Safety Protocols for stand-alone events, especially those that involve winds and brass
(PMEA District I Orchestra Festival/future TRYPO workshops/ future TRYPO masterclass):
- Vaccination/Testing: For student musicians or guest musicians at a stand-alone event – particularly when winds and brass are involved – proof of vaccination or proof of negative COVID test is required.
- Proof of vaccination can be sent ahead of time, or can be a visual inspection upon check-in at the venue.
- Negative COVID-19 antigen test taken within 24 hours of the event start time, or negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of the event start time.
- Masks and Bell Covers: Masks required for all string, percussion, keyboard, harp. Surgical/KN-94/KN-95 masks encouraged. Winds and brass must have bell covers and musician’s masks. If musician vaccination rate at event is high, bell cover policy may be relaxed. Wind/brass must switch to solid mask when not actively playing for long stretches (tacet movement, on and off stage, etc).
- TRYPO will follow CDC guidance for participation the week of the festival:
- Students who have any active COVID-19 symptoms cannot participate, regardless of vaccination status.
- Unvaccinated students who had a close contact COVID-19 exposure or who were contact traced cannot participate even if they are asymptomatic.
- Vaccinated students who had a close contact COVID-19 exposure or who were contact traced may participate as long as they are asymptomatic. These students should be extra careful with mask wearing while eating to maintain distance, and if the student is a wind/brass player then a bell cover and musician’s mask will be required.
- Health check upon arrival.
Audience Safety Protocols for events where audience distancing can be observed (Convention Center January 15, 2022 and January 16, 2022):
- Maintaining Distancing: Audience chairs will be set in a distanced format and we request that they not be moved. Audience members are asked to maintain distancing in lobby areas, restrooms, and while in ticketing lines. In-person audiences may be limited due to capacity while distanced.
- Masks: Well-fitting masks required at all times (covering nose and mouth and tightly fitted).
- Symptom reminders before events, and symptom check upon arrival.
- TRYPO asks audiences to follow CDC guidance for attendance to the concert:
- Attendees who have any active COVID-19 symptoms should not attend the concert, regardless of vaccination status.
- Unvaccinated attendees who had a close contact COVID-19 exposure or who were contact traced should not attend the concert even if they are asymptomatic.
- Vaccinated attendees who had a close contact COVID-19 exposure or who were contact traced may attend as long as they are asymptomatic.
- Streaming of event: We hope to be able to provide a live stream of the concert for those who cannot attend, have an illness or COVID symptoms, or family who don’t live in Pittsburgh.
Audience Safety Protocols for events where distancing might not be able to be observed, and/or observing venue requirements (Heinz Hall May 2022, Carnegie Hall 2022):
- Vaccination: At this time, these performances will require proof of vaccination in order to enter the venue for all musicians, staff, and audience members. These are venues that may not be able to accommodate much seat distancing.
- Masks: Well-fitting masks required at all times (covering nose and mouth and tightly fitted).
- Symptom reminders before events, and symptom check upon arrival.
- Streaming of event: We hope to be able to provide a live stream of the concert for those who cannot attend, have an illness or COVID symptoms, or family who don’t live in Pittsburgh. (At this time, the streaming of the concert is cost-prohibitive but we are working on funding sources.)
To see the full policy, please click here: TRYPO *Serious about Safety* Covid Protocols 21-22 Season
*SERIOUS ABOUT SAFETY*
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.
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.
- 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.