Extracurricular Safety

How can we keep kids safe when they aren’t in the classroom?

A (heavy?) metal orchestra.
Image by Russell_Yan from Pixabay.
Swapping Seats Could Reduce Orchestra Aerosols.
(NY Times, updated 07.06.2021)

“Moving super-spreading instruments, like the trumpet, closer to air vents could limit the aerosol buildup on stage, according to a new study.” And if you need to, open the doors.

Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay
How readily does COVID-19 spread on school buses? (AAAS, 07.21.21)

Not well, if the windows are open and everyone is masked. NB: Data is pre-Delta variant.

Playing the flute. Image by Brenda Geisse from Pixabay.
How to hold band, orchestra, and chorus rehearsals (more) safely
(Int’l. Coalition of Performing Arts Aerosol Study Report 3, January 2021; updated July 2021)
  • “It appears that if players wear surgical style masks with a slit for mouthpiece AND bell covers, aerosol emission is reduced between 60% and 90%.” Bell covers should be made of MERV 13 filter material or three-layer surgical masks.
  • Play flute with the headjoint between the mouth and the mask, and cover the end of the barrel with cloth. (Flutes don’t make many aerosols.)
  • Face shields don’t help, and Plexiglas barriers actually make things worse.
  • Make ventilation in the room as good as you possibly can. Outdoor rehearsals are best. If you’re indoors, after 30 minutes of rehearsal you should clear the room for as long as it takes to let all the indoor air be exchanged with outdoor air.
  • Stay 6 feet apart from everyone except trombone players, who need 9 x 6 feet. (July update – most players can go to 3 feet.)
  • Things are more complicated for singers. Bummer.
A soccer ball on the field.
Photo by Daniel Norin on Unsplash.
How to hold kids’ sports
(more) safely
(The Conversation, 04.13.2021)

Here’s how: “Let them play, but with firm rules in place.

  • Get tested regularly.
  • Wear masks properly – block virus transmission by covering both the mouth and nose.
  • Embrace shared sacrifice.
  • Support one another – sustained sacrifice is hard, so work together and check in regularly with teammates.
  • Play outside – or have adequate ventilation inside to disperse viral particles.
  • Get vaccinated.”

A dog who won’t get COVID in the car.
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay.
How Not to Get COVID
In a Car (NY Times, 01.16.21)

“Opening certain windows can create air currents that could help keep both riders and drivers safe from infectious diseases like COVID-19.”

You’ll need to open them at least halfway to get the benefit, and which windows you open matters.

Here’s another article on the topic, this one with cool animated simulations.

A UK National Health Service poster tells readers to stay home and save lives.
How to protect yourself from
the U.K. variant
(KOSU, 01.08.21)

Do everything you were doing to protect yourself from COVID before, only more of it.
Yup, it sucks. Do it anyway.

“People need to be thinking that their actions can lead to the deaths of other people’s grandparents. We need to be working together as a global population to do everything we can do as individuals.”

Support your local restaurant: Get takeout.
Image by Queven from Pixabay.
New science reevaluates risks of indoor dining
(Boston Globe, 12.19.20)

“On the question of COVID-19 safety, science is clear: Going out to eat is associated with increased risk of coronavirus transmission.”

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
What Matters
In COVID Transmission
(BBC Science Focus, 12.23.20)

The big take-homes from a huge meta-analysis:

  1. The majority of infections happen indoors (don’t eat in a restaurant!).
  2. Ventilation makes a BIG difference.
  3. Living in crowded housing increases your risk a lot.
  4. The majority of people won’t transmit infection; a small number of people are the ones who will, so:
  5. It’s more important to find out where you GOT the infection than it is to find out who you might have given it to.
Indoor bouldering pre-Covid. Photo by Rachel on Unsplash
Should Kids Play
Indoor Sports This Winter?
(NY Times 11.17.20)

Can athletes wear masks and stay distant from one another? Is there good hand hygiene? Do kids each have their own equipment? If equipment must be shared, is it sanitized between users? If the answers to all these questions is yes – and if there aren’t any high-risk folks in your family – then indoor sports might be okay.

Image by Bernhard Falkinger from Pixabay
New Sports Guidelines for Young Athletes After Covid-19
(NY Times, 12.04.20)

Per updated guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics, “children and adolescents who want to return to sports after having the coronavirus should be cleared by a doctor for heart risks.” (emphasis added) Kids with asymptomatic or mild disease should be screened by their primary physician; kids who had more severe disease – or who are flagged during the primary-care screening – should see a cardiologist.

Homemade masks. Image by Mona El Falaky from Pixabay
Wear Masks To Protect Yourself From The Coronavirus, Not Only Others, CDC Stresses
(NPR, 11.11.20)

Wearing a mask protects the wearer, and not just other people, from the coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emphasized in an updated scientific brief issued Tuesday. And the protective benefits of masks are stronger the more people wear masks consistently and correctly, the agency says.

Restaurants and gyms were spring ‘superspreader’ sites. Occupancy limits could control COVID, new study predicts 
(Stat News, 11.10.20)

Using cellphone data from 1 in 3 Americans, researchers have identified the indoor public places most responsible for the spread of COVID-19 in the spring, and they argue that sharply limiting the occupancy of these locales — chiefly restaurants, gyms, cafes, hotels, and houses of worship — could control the raging pandemic without resorting to lockdowns.

Musical instruments don’t spread aerosols as far as you might think (University of Minnesota Twin Cities, 10.19.20)

A new study by University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering researchers has found that wind instruments typically do not spread aerosols farther than one foot. The researchers suggest that mitigation strategies including social distancing, putting masks over instruments, and using portable filters can help reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 on musical stages.

Photo by Linda Mynhardt on Unsplash

The CDC’s Considerations for Youth Sports (10.29.20)

Lots of useful, concrete guidance here. Includes a ranking of Covid risk for different kinds of athletic activity, from doing drills at home (lowest risk) to competition between teams from different geographic areas (highest risk). Tells parents how to assess risk, and tells coaches/organizers how to mitigate risk.

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