Covid, Choir, and Children
We have been closely monitoring news regarding covid and children, as well as covid and choirs, and we are cautiously optimistic about our chances of reopening in fall. We will abide by any required local, state, and federal guidelines. We expect these to change before fall, so we will track closely and update as the situation changes.
Current City of Phoenix Mask Regulations
SECTION 1. All persons six years old or older … shall wear a face covering whenever they are within six feet of another person who is not a member of their family or household.
SECTION 2. Exceptions for face coverings will be made under the following circumstances:
For engaging in organized group or team sports, exercise or other physical activities where it is not practicable or feasible to wear a mask or socially distance; or
In settings where it is not practical or feasible to wear a face covering.
Risks to Children - Research
Most research is showing that children are at very low risk of contracting covid, and if they do contract it, they are at even lower risk of a severe infection requiring hospitalization, and yet again lower risk of death. There is even interesting research to show that children do not appear to be a major factor in the spread of covid when they do test positive, though of course there is never zero risk.
Center for Disease Control: Keep Children Healthy during the COVID-19 Outbreak
“Based on available evidence, most children do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19 than adults. While some children and infants have been sick with COVID-19, adults make up most of the known cases to date.” Read more.
The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment: Children and Covid-19
“Worldwide, relatively few children have been reported with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Data from the Netherlands also confirms the current understanding: that children play a minor role in the spread of the novel coronavirus. The virus is mainly spread between adults and from adult family members to children.” Read more.
Society for Mucosal Immunology: Resistance of Children to Covid-19
“Screening studies in individuals at risk because they were in contact with infected patients is lower in children than in adults.… Once infected, the risk for a child to develop severe disease requiring hospitalization is 25 times lower than in adults (0.1% vs. 2.6%) and the risk of death is 500 times lower than in adults (0.001% vs. 0.5%).” Read more.
Infectious Diseases Society of America: Novel Coronavirus 2019 Transmission Risk in Educational Settings
“Data suggests that children are not the primary drivers of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in schools.” Read more.
Returning to Schools and Activities - Recommendations
The American Academy of Pediatrics: Covid-19 Guidelines for School Re-entry
“The AAP strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school. The importance of in-person learning is well-documented, and there is already evidence of the negative impacts on children because of school closures in the spring of 2020.”
“Policy makers must also consider the mounting evidence regarding COVID-19 in children and adolescents, including the role they may play in transmission of the infection. SARS-CoV-2 appears to behave differently in children and adolescents than other common respiratory viruses, such as influenza, on which much of the current guidance regarding school closures is based. Although children and adolescents play a major role in amplifying influenza outbreaks, to date, this does not appear to be the case with SARS-CoV-2. Although many questions remain, the preponderance of evidence indicates that children and adolescents are less likely to be symptomatic and less likely to have severe disease resulting from SARS-CoV-2 infection. In addition, children may be less likely to become infected and to spread infection.” Read more.
Archives of Disease in Childhood: Children are not COVID-19 super spreaders: time to go back to school
“A further key question is the ability of infected children to spread SARS-CoV-2. A collection of international family clusters found that children were not likely to be the index case in households, only being responsible for around 10% of clusters. Data from Guangzhou have supported this, finding an even lower rate of children as index cases in households at 5%. A case study of a cluster in the French Alps included a child with COVID-19 who failed to transmit it to any other person, despite exposure to more than a hundred children in different schools and a ski resort. In a school study from New South Wales, Australia, a proportion of 863 close contacts of 9 child and 9 teachers were followed for seroconversion as a marker of recent exposure. No evidence of children infecting teachers was found. At the current time, children do not appear to be super spreaders.... Governments worldwide should allow all children back to school.” Read more.
Arizona Music Educators Association position on music education
“The belief of the Arizona Music Educators Association is that viable music instruction can and should continue while adhering to the guidelines set by local and national advisors.... It is the position of the Arizona Music Educators Association that in-person music classes should be able to resume with certain precautions in place.” Read more.
Risks of Singing Together
Four reports of covid-19 spreading through choirs are alarming. However, it is important to note that (1) these happened very early on, when physical distancing was just beginning to be discussed, and (2) this happened in just four choirs out of XXXX choirs worldwide, and both superspreader events also involved unmasked, undistanced social time and shared food. In addition, the choirs affected were all elder choirs, and covid-19 is known to be most risky to our elder population. We have a choir mostly of children, who are at far lower risk, as shown in the studies above.
Did singing together spread coronavirus to four choirs?
Fluid mechanics expert Professor Christian Kähler of the Military University in Munich: “I have been studying how droplets and aerosols behave for decades and I was very doubtful that musicians and singers were spreading the virus. So I decided to measure just how strong was the airflow from them. We studied singing in low and high frequencies and all sorts of things like that. We also studied different instruments. And based on the flow analysis we did of these performances we could clearly see what was going on…. We found out that singing is quite safe. It was not the cause of the outbreaks of Covid-19 at these concerts. Air was only propelled about half a meter [about 18 inches] in front of a singer, and that is not far enough to cause the infection levels of these outbreaks.” Read more.