COVID-19 Information, OSU Cowboy Marching Band
updated July 28, 2020
The faculty and staff of the Cowboy Marching Band have been closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic. We are working hard to ensure that our students, faculty, and staff will remain safe and healthy throughout the fall semester. This page is designed to give you information about the accommodations that we are making to allow us to function in a way that keeps everyone safe. We will update this page as plans change, new information becomes available, and as OSU’s response to the pandemic continues to evolve. We promise to do everything possible to keep you safe while also ensuring that you have a memorable, wonderful experience as a 2020 CMB member. Let’s make the CMB the best (perhaps only good) part of 2020!
Since this is a lengthy document, feel free to click the links below to skip to the section you are interested in.
In order to make the most informed decisions about the health and well-being of our entire CMB family, we have consulted the following resources:
- Guidelines set by OSU Administration
- Guidelines set by the Greenwood School of Music
- Conversations with OSU Athletic Department Administration
- Results of the International Coalition Performing Arts Aerosol Study, commissioned by the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA), National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), and over 125 other arts organizations. This is a three-phase study, and information from the first phase is now available.
- Two scientists who have dedicated their careers to the study of infectious diseases helped quantify the risks of propagation of COVID-19 by aerosol transmission. The portions of this study we are interested in are the ones that specifically focus on the unique aerosol transmission properties of brass and woodwind instruments, as well as the more general properties that impact all of us (brass, woodwind, percussion, guard, twirler, and staff).
- Various Zoom meetings with colleagues of ours from CBDNA, the Big 12 athletic band directors, and others. While we are living in an extremely challenging time, the information exchange between fellow college band directors, in coordination with the scientific community, has been extraordinary.
- National & Local news regarding the progression of the virus, as well as recommended safety precautions.
It is the expectation that all members of the CMB will strictly follow the guidelines that are set for the safety of all members, and all members will be required to follow these guidelines. We are among the largest groups on the OSU campus, and the safety of our members and staff is our top priority. In order for the Cowboy Marching Band to be successful, it requires an altruistic approach to everything we do. This is especially true of your health and that of your fellow band members.
What safety precautions will members be expected to take?
- Stay home if you are sick
- Treat every surface as if it were infected
- Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick
- Not share food, cups, or utensils
- Not share instruments or mouthpieces
- Treat all bodily fluids as potentially infectious
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- When able, avoid touching surface door handles and railings
- Cough into your upper sleeve or elbow area, or use a tissue and immediately discard
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
Accommodations for the 2020 CMB Season
These are the “known” accommodations that we will be making this season. More dialogue about the “unknowns” will be discussed in the next section.
- NO INDOOR REHEARSALS IN SERETEAN CENTER FOR LARGE GROUPS
- There will be no indoor CMB rehearsals for the 2020 season. This includes full-band rehearsals, sectionals, etc. Summer band registration, instrument checkout, meals, and other similar activities using indoor spaces will be scheduled in small, staggered groups with appropriate social distancing and one-way traffic flow. Since aerosol transmission of the virus is much more likely to occur indoors, the risk of a group our size doing anything inside is simply not acceptable. If there is inclement weather, we will not rehearse. The color guard may possibly have indoor sectionals (for a maximum of 30 mintues) from time to time if appropriate social distancing can be observed in the band room.
- We have secured permission to use the Colvin Center Annex if we need an alternate large space, but even this space is not ideal for playing wind instruments in large groups.
- NO UNIFORMS OR COWBOY HATS WILL BE ISSUED
- We will instead wear khaki shorts & Nike band polos and/or Nike band T-shirts. We will provide you the khaki shorts, shirts, shoes, and baseball caps. You will also need white socks that come to your ankles (INSERT EXAMPLE LINK). Since our uniforms retain a lot of moisture when we sweat in them, and it is not practical to have them cleaned after every single performance, we will not be wearing our traditional uniforms. This way, all members may wash their shorts and shirts after every performance. If the college football season continues into the colder months, we may adapt this policy accordingly. Nearly every college band in America is following this same protocol.
- MASKS & GAITERS
- All members will be required to wear a mask during group activities. Please bring PLENTY of cloth masks with you to campus so that you have enough to wear on a daily basis. Think of them like socks or underwear – have enough to wear each day until laundry day arrives… at least that’s what we hope you do with your socks and undergarments! During games, we will have uniform gaiters to wear that we will order for you. These will be worn at all times, except for when we are playing.
- Note: you may have seen specialized face masks with openings for mouthpieces for instrumental musicians. We have consulted medical personnel, and we were advised that any face mask with an opening in front of your mouth is the same as not using one at all. While it seemed like a good idea in theory, it turns out that it is not a particularly useful mask.
- BELL COVERS
- We are ordering matching bell covers for all instruments. This helps reduce aerosol transmission from the ends of the instruments. We are currently considering other possible instrument-specific accommodations for flutes and clarinets.
- SOCIAL DISTANCING
- Every aspect of what we do will be structured in a way to avoid standing in close proximity to one another. This is particularly challenging for a group like ours that does so much together and prides itself on our “togetherness.” However, we are committed to this. This includes when entering rehearsal / performance sites, during rehearsals, during water breaks, and when exiting rehearsal / performance sites. More specifics about this will be coming in follow-up communications.
- WATER BOTTLES
- All members will be required to provide their own water jugs during rehearsals and games. No shared water coolers nor bottled water will be distributed.
- NO GAME DAY MEALS
- We will not have our usual game-day meals inside the band room, nor other group meals where members would be required to touch shared food, beverage containers, etc. If the need arises to feed the full band, we will provide boxed meals and bottled water that can be easily distributed without touching someone else’s meal. We will still build time into our game-day itineraries for members to eat (we just won’t provide the food to you).
- MUSIC & MARCHING REHEARSALS WILL REMAIN SEPARATE UNTIL ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY
- See more info about this below.
- CLEANING / DISINFECTING INFORMATION
- Restrooms, Instrument/Equipment Storage rooms, and any common equipment (such as conducting ladders) will be sanitized after each Early Week/Leadership rehearsal session.
- Water fountains and common water coolers will not be utilized – students will be required to bring a personal water jug, preferably large enough to sustain them through the entire session
- Students will not share instruments, percussion sticks or mallets, guard equipment, and/or other performance materials, so additional cleaning of such equipment is not necessary.
- PRE- AND POST-REHEARSAL LOGISTICS
- Students are advised not to carpool to rehearsal
- Students are required to wear masks as they report and prepare for the start of rehearsal
- Students playing smaller instruments (trumpet, horns, saxes, flutes, clarinets) will keep instruments with them to avoid having to enter / exit the instrument locker rooms each day. Note: we will still issue lockers for help securing items on game day
- Students playing larger instruments such as tubas and percussion that are stored in athletic band storage (formerly known as the “dungeon”) will enter the room before and after rehearsal in waves. We will have a “one way” pathway where students enter through the door inside the Seretean center and exit through the door that opens up to Knoblock.
- A monitor will be stationed at the door to manage storage room flow and capacity. Markings on the floor outside the storage room door will guide proper social distancing for those waiting to enter the room.
- DURING MUSIC REHEARSAL
- To avoid repeatedly touching the face to lower and raise the mask and to avoid additional heavy breathing and sweat, students will not wear masks during music rehearsals.
- Students will not share wind instruments. Percussion parts will be written so that students are not required to share mallets or instruments.
- Students will remain in one spot on the practice field grid at least 6 feet apart. A music rehearsal set will be provided the specifically assigns positions that are at least 6 feet apart.
- Students will bring water coolers/camelbacks to their rehearsal position to avoid congregating during breaks. Breaks will be staggered.
- DURING MARCHING REHEARSAL
- When rehearsing marching only, students will be required to wear a mask, though restricted breathing in the heat could be a major factor. We will take frequent breaks and have drill that is significantly less physically demanding.
- Marching drill will be restructured to achieve 6’ spacing (at least 3 to 4 step interval) between performers. This applies to both pregame and halftime.
- Breaks will be staggered to avoid congregations of students.
- ADDITIONAL INFO THAT WILL BE COMING SOON:
- Band Week Check-in / Registration Procedures
- Game Day Procedures
Additional Questions & Unknowns
There are many unknown variables for this season. We do not have all the answers from all of the entities that we interact with. We as a staff have many of the same questions that you have as members. However, we have brainstormed many possibilities and how we would react to those possibilities. We have outlined some of these questions and possible scenarios below. DISCLAIMER: ANY of these scenarios / responses could change as new information is made available.
- Q: Will the CMB be attending football games?
A: Yes. Dr. Henderson spoke with our Deputy Athletic Director last week, and as of that time, there were no plans to eliminate the CMB’s presence at football games this fall.
- Q: Will the CMB perform on the field at the games?
A: As of right now, yes. We will do greatly simplified music and drill that allows social distancing guidelines to be observed. We will avoid marching that involves “pass-throughs” or other close-proximity maneuvers. If required, we may even stand still and play. Note: some universities have announced that only players, coaches, and refs will be allowed on the field. Those universities are not allowing bands, cheer, pom, photographers, or recruits on the field. Neither OSU nor the Big 12 has made this determination at this time, but that could change between now and the first game.
- Q: Will the full CMB attend all home games?
A: Probably. However, this will only take place if we are able to maintain social distancing in the stands. This means we will need much more space than before. We are continuing to explore this with athletics as we speak. If we are not able to safely bring the band to every game for any reason, then we will split the band into smaller groups (halves or thirds) that will then rotate which game they are assigned to. If this happens, we will not march. We may stand on the field and play for pregame and/or halftime in this scenario. While having smaller pep bands at the games would definitely not be the same experience as having the full band, we will do whatever necessary to ensure your safety and that of our staff.
- Q: Will we rehearse together as a full band, or will we split into separate bands?
A: Full band, as of this moment. However, we have considered rehearsing in halves or thirds for various reasons, and this could still change.
- Q: Is there a possibility that we will only play in the stands, and not perform on the field?
A: That is not the plan at this time. However, things are constantly changing, and the Big 12 or OSU may change their mind on this issue.
- Q: Will the CMB travel this season?
No – not during the regular season. The Big 12 announced a couple of weeks ago that no visiting bands nor spirit groups will be permitted for any conference games.
- Q: What about a bowl game?
Very unlikely. If bowl games actually happen this year, the chances of us going are very slim.
- Q: Will band week still be taking place?
A: Yes. As mentioned above, it will be a very different band week than any of us have ever experienced, but we will be moving forward. Despite the challenges, we can’t wait to see you! The Big 12 is still planning on having preseason / non-conference games. If this changes, we will reevaluate our band-week plans.
- Q: When will the band-week itinerary be released?
A: A rough / skeleton version of the itinerary will be released later this week. The detailed itinerary will not be released until right before move-in. This is due to the fact that we are juggling many “moving parts,” and it would be a futile exercise to make and distribute a detailed itinerary knowing that much of it will change before your arrival.
- Q: Are there any plans for required COVID-19 testing for CMB members?
A: All members living on campus will be required by ResLife to complete a COVID-19 test. We will be giving all CMB members a required written screening prior to their first CMB activities with questions specifically designed to determine if they are at risk of carrying the virus. No member will be allowed to participate in CMB activities until they have completed and passed the screening. Those who do not pass the initial screening will be required to be tested at a medical clinic. More details on this procedure will be forthcoming.
- Q: How will we be entering / exiting the stadium?
A: We are working with athletics to find the best solution to these questions. It is unlikely that we will use the tunnel at all this season, as we would have to be standing close together in an area with poor ventilation for an extended period of time – a recipe for disaster in the Covid era. We will likely enter the stadium using prescribed stadium gates that will be reserved for our use at prescribed times.
- Q: How will we get down onto the field?
A: We will enter the field from the east end zone (the opposite end zone that we normally use), as this is a much less congested pathway with a much larger space to stand once we arrive at field level.
We know that this will be a very different band experience than any of us have experienced before. We also know that band students are the absolute brightest, hardest-working members on our campus. If anyone can take all of these challenges and turn them into an uplifting, meaningful experience… we can. Most of us have not been able to have face-to-face instruction since March, and we are looking forward to seeing you here soon… with your masks on! Go Pokes!
View our 2020 Summer Announcements.