Is It Safe to Teach In-Person Music Lessons During Covid 19

girl, glasses, mop

Mid -June 2020 , Michigan.
Currently the cases of Covid 19 have been going down in the state significantly.

I conducted interviews with four medical doctors who work in local hospitals. Their children are my private piano students.
The goal of these interviews was to understand – is it safe to teach in-person music lessons during Covid 19.

My questionnaire had multiple questions concerning personal protective equipment, physical distancing, cleaning, and procedures.
Medical Professional #1 (MP#1) is a Medical Doctor in a major cancer center.
Medical Professional #2 (MP#2) is a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist in a hospital.
Medical Professional #3 (MP#3) is a Surgeon in a major hospital specializing in cancer patients.
Medical Professional #4 (MP#4) is a Medical Doctor in a major hospital.

Author (A) : Have you treated any patients with Covid 19?
MP#1 has treated patients who had Covid19, but has not seen any patients with the virus since May, over a month ago.
MP#2 has treated patients who had Covid19.
MP#3 has not treated patients who had Covid19.
MP#4 has treated patients who had Covid19.

A: Is it safe to teach in-person music lessons during Covid 19?
MP#1- It is SAFE to teach in-person music lessons during Covid 19 now in Michigan with appropriate precautions.
MP#2 – It is SAFE to teach in-person music lessons during Covid 19 , if the students are healthy.
MP#3 – It is NOT SAFE to teach in-person music lessons during Covid 19 yet.
MP#4 – is NOT SURE if it is SAFE to teach in-person music lessons during Covid 19.

If you decide to teach in-person music lessons during Covid 19, what procedures a teacher and a student should follow?

A: Pre-Screening Students for in-person music lessons during Covid 19.

MP#1- A teacher must question students before each lesson, if anyone in their immediate and extended family have any symptoms, fever, or has been exposed to anyone with Covid 19. NO SYMPTOMS ARE ALLOWED.
MP#2 – A teacher must question students before each lesson, if anyone in their immediate and extended family have any symptoms, fevers, or has been exposed to anyone with Covid19. NO SYMPTOMS ALLOWED.
MP#3 – Did not discuss pre-screening.
MP#4 – A teacher should request that if a student has any fever/chills/viral symptoms that lesson should not take place in person.
Also, if any immediate family member in home has fever/chills/viral symptoms probably best to skip lesson for that week.

Personal Protective Equipment for teachers and students for in-person music lessons during Covid 19.

Wearing a MASK for teaching in-person music lessons during Covid 19.

MP#1 – A teacher should wear at least a procedural mask, N95 is not required. It is not feasible for a child to wear a mask.
MP#2 – A student should wear a mask, if possible. A teacher must wear a mask, preferably N95. MP#2 wears N95 at all times, but it is not a requirement at the hospital. Many doctors at MP#2’s hospital do not wear N95 masks.
MP#3 – A teacher and a student should wear at least a regular mask.
MP#4 – There is not good scientific data on mask type. Most recent study showed N95 wasn’t better than procedural mask, but data is limited.
Both the teacher and the student should wear a mask.

Wearing GLOVES for teaching in-person music lessons during Covid 19.

MP#1 – The teacher should wear gloves.
MP#2 – You do not have to wear gloves if you can wash your hands before and after the lesson.
MP#3 – A teacher and a student have to wear gloves
MP#4 – You do not have to wear gloves if you can wash your hands before and after the lesson.

Wearing safety GOOGLES and FACE SHIELD for teaching in-person music lessons during Covid 19.
All 4 Doctors said it is not necessary.

Physical distancing for teaching in-person music lessons during Covid 19.

MP#1 – 6 feet distance is required at all times. The teacher and the student are NOT allowed to use the same piano.
MP #2 – You do not have to maintain a 6 feet distance, if you wear a mask, wash your hands and have a HEALTHY student. If your student actually has Covid 19, the regular protection (face mask and gloves) most likely will not be sufficient to stop you from getting the virus.
MP#3 – 6 feet distance is required at all times. The teacher and the student are allowed to use the same piano with appropriate cleaning.
MP#4 – Doesn’t feel strongly about physical distancing. There isn’t anything magical or definitely scientific about 6 feet social distancing. A teacher and a student are allowed to use the sane piano. 

Cleaning and personal hygiene after teaching in-person music lessons during Covid 19.

MP#1 – Washing your hands is a must before and after the lessons. Washing your hands is the most important aspect of personal protection.
MP#2 – You must WASH your hands after immediate contact. The students should not be allowed to use your restroom.
MP#3 – The piano has to be cleaned after each student. All surfaces need to be cleaned after each student. If a student uses a restroom, it must be cleaned after the lesson. The teacher and the student have to disinfect or wash their hands.
MP#4 – The piano has to be cleaned after each student. Other surfaces do not have to be cleaned. A student is allowed to use a restroom with proper hygiene. The teacher and the student have to disinfect or wash their hands.

Airing out the room when teaching in-person music lessons during Covid 19.
All 4 Doctors said it is not necessary.

CONCLUSION

After conducting these interviews the main conclusion was that the most important steps if you decide to teach in-person music lessons during Covid 19 – Pre-Screen your Students, Wear a Mask, and Wash Your Hands.
If your student actually has Covid 19, the protective measures most likely will not be sufficient from stopping you getting sick.

Here is an article by a violin teacher and a trained MD on her approach to music lessons during Covid 19.