Dear Musical Families of Bend,
My feelings on the current pandemic have changed rapidly over the last 48-hours. While I was taking necessary precautions to sanitize my workplace and keep families informed of possible changes ahead, I now feel an overwhelming sense of uncertainty and worry. I am a person who thrives on a schedule and feels secure when able to provide a controlled environment to problem-solve and create solutions to nurture growth. I am used to knowing what the right thing to do is, but now I'm not sure anymore. All I know is I must be a responsible parent and informed music educator.
My number one priority is my son. Most of you know that my five-year-old son, Haven, has severe asthma. We are extremely fortunate that he outgrew his chronic lung disease he suffered from for the first four years of his life. However, every morning and night my husband and I administer two-puffs of an inhaled steroid to keep his airways at a healthy enough baseline to provide us with at least three-days time to combat respiratory distress before requiring hospitalization. While we are told that children have not been susceptible to COVID-19, there isn't enough information. Haven has been hospitalized four times since moving to Bend after testing positive for Rhinovirus/Adenovirus, which is just a strain of the common cold. Two out of the four hospitalizations led to pneumonia. All I know is I have spent too many hospital visits staring at his blood oxygen levels to risk exposure of a possibly deadly respiratory virus that has no known cure. This article in the New York Times is so relevant, I feel like I could have written it myself... https://parenting.nytimes.com/parent-life/coronavirus-asthma-kids.
My second priority is to my student families. I have spent most of the day consulting the many professional discussion groups I belong to and 95% of my Suzuki colleagues have suspended travel for workshops and will begin virtual learning for local students as of Monday. As for Music Together classes, Music Together Worldwide has offered center directors the option to stream instruction via Facebook Live in a closed group of enrolled student families to continue musical development at home. I am happy to offer any of these options if you are interested and willing to participate. It is most important that we focus on limiting the risk of community spread and maximizing containment.
In summation, Generation IV Strings will limit all instruction to virtual learning until state bands on gatherings are lifted. I realize that I might be reacting too cautiously, but the risk of exposure to any child or loved one whose body may or may not be able to fight this disease is too great. I must be a responsible parent and informed educator and right now all the signs point to exercising extreme caution. Here is a breakdown for what that means for your musical instruction with Generation IV Strings.
Winter Term Music Together families: Friday class (March 13) has been cancelled. However, everyone will have access to four live streams next week. I realize this is not as beneficial as one-on-one instruction. I am open to alternative suggestions.
Spring Term Music Together families: I am happy to order materials and postpone our start date. While waiting for classes, I would provide Facebook Live streams to give you ideas on how to work with the new Maracas collection and continue your child's musical development. If this is not your preference, then I can supply a refund to any currently enrolled Spring term family. Please let me know what you'd like to do.
Generation IV Strings Violin Students: You may all keep your current lesson times, but need an internet connection to video chat via FaceTime or What's App. Currently I am looking into Noom and other group chat options to continue group class instruction. As of now, group classes next week are cancelled.
Thank you for your understanding and continued support of Generation IV Strings. This is a Forum and I welcome your suggestions and comments. I am doing the best I can to keep the people I care most about safe and healthy during this very scary time.
Stay safe, Ms. Aria