We were just given more information from Katy ISD regarding student activities this week. The district message reads:
“Due to the Harris County Local Health Authority Order issued on Friday, July 24 requiring all school sponsored events and activities not take place in-person, Katy ISD will temporarily suspend all student activities through Tuesday, July 28. Katy ISD will review the existing orders issued by both state and local officials and an update will be provided by 5PM on Tuesday regarding the possibility of resuming student summer activities. It is important that we ensure compliance with local orders as well as provide our students opportunities to continue participation in their extra-curricular programs in preparation for the new school year.”
I did receive clarification that virtual rehearsals could still be held, so guard and percussion members should plan to attend virtual rehearsals beginning tomorrow. If we are not given permission to begin in person rehearsals, then winds should plan to attend virtual rehearsals beginning on Wednesday. Mr. Spooner and Mr. Vizza will send out more information this evening with instructions on how to connect with them and what you will need. Once we receive clarification on Tuesday regarding in person rehearsals, I will send out information on how the rest of summer band will be handled.
Things are changing fast and there are lots of question. This is what we are planning as of right now.
Be aware that any of this could change if there are new requirements from the state or local level. If there are changes, we will communicate those to you ASAP.
First of all, please trust that I, along with the rest of the staff, share your concern for the safety and health of all of our students, parents and staff members. My family is currently trying to decide what to do with our daughters this fall and as a parent I know how difficult it is to navigate this whole situation. As a band staff, we are working to finalize our safety procedures for the upcoming fall and please know that our number one priority is safety while also trying to provide the students the opportunity to rehearse and perform as a group. If everyone is on board with what we’re asking and understands that deviation from any procedures could greatly increase the chances of someone getting sick, then we will hopefully be able to be together with minimal interruption.
As of right now, we are planning to begin summer band rehearsals with percussion and color guard on July 27 with woodwinds and brass joining on July 29. This staggered start allows our percussion and color guard a little bit of a head start as we had originally planned.
In order to plan for summer band, we need to get an idea of what everyone is going to do regarding participation. I have created a very short survey that needs to be completed once by each member of the band by Monday, July 20. Please read through this entire email before completing the survey. Here’s the link:
If after completing this survey you change your mind regarding marching band participation, let me know via email. Also, please understand that there is no pressure to attend if a student/parent doesn’t feel comfortable doing so. There will be zero penalty for a student if they decide to not participate in marching band due to the covid crisis. We do ask though that if a student commits to participating in person, that they do so fully.
2020 Marching Production
We have made the difficult decision to postpone the production of this year’s planned marching show to the fall of 2021. As we all know, the production of a competitive marching band show requires a serious investment of time, hard work, parent support and fundraising. With the uncertainty of everything right now, we have decided to move in a different direction and offer our students the opportunity to perform while having more flexibility with time and participation. There are a couple of things that will be different this year.
First, we have decided that we are going to go into the archives and base our show on music from our past. This is an opportunity to bring back some great music and give current students the chance to gain a better perspective of the history of the Tompkins Band. My favorite part about this is that the design of this show will be completely driven by our student leaders with the guidance of the band staff.
Second, we would normally have wind students perform in either a primary spot or secondary spot in the competitive show. This year, however, that will not be the case. Instead, every student who shows up and rehearses during summer band will be assigned a primary spot in this show.
The big thing to understand here is that our effort and performance expectations will be no different than any other year. Students will still be held to the exact same work and performance standard as before and audience members should expect to see the same high energy, entertaining performances that they’ve come to be accustomed to seeing from the Tompkins Band.
New music will be sent out to wind and percussion students as soon as our show is finalized.
In an effort to minimize contact with each other, we are making a pretty significant adjustment to our summer band schedule.
For the first two days of summer band (July 27-28), only percussion and color guard will rehearse. That schedule will be as follows:
8:00am-11:30am – Battery Percussion
1:00pm-4:30pm – Front Ensemble/Color Guard
After that (July 29-31 and August 3-7), the daily in-person rehearsal schedule will be as follows:
8:00am-11:30am – Woodwinds/Brass/Battery Percussion
1:00pm-4:30pm – Front Ensemble/Color Guard
We still don’t have a good idea of what our teacher in-service schedule is going to be for the week of August 10-14, so times are still TBD. I will update those times as soon as we have them.
This schedule will allow us to better use our rehearsal space without having to jam a bunch of people into a small area. It will also make it so we don’t have to serve lunch on campus, which is a time when it is more difficult for us to monitor for social distancing.
Students should plan on arriving with enough time to check in, have their temperature taken and confirm the submission of their wellness check. Also, students will be required to leave campus immediately after rehearsal has completed. The band hall will not be open for socializing and students will be expected to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from each other while waiting for their ride.
This schedule reduces the amount of in-person rehearsal time by more than half of what we are used to. However, the expectation will be that during their at home time (afternoon for winds and battery and morning for guard and front ensemble), students will be practicing on their own and/or working with student leaders virtually on skills that need to be improved. Every student should be engaged in something band related each day from 8am-11:30am and 1:00pm-4:30pm.
Once we have an idea of who will and will not be attending summer band rehearsals, we will formulate a plan for students who are not participating.
I know that there are a lot of questions about football games and how band classes will be structured for students who are doing Katy Virtual Academy (KVA). As of right now, the district has not announced any deviation from our current football schedule. If we are given any direction on changes to that, then we will let everyone know. With classes, band members who do KVA will still do their classes with us even though the rest of their classes will not be associated with OTHS. Essentially, your core classes will be synchronous (in real time) while band will be asynchronous (on your own time). If you choose to do KVA, you will be allowed to come to after school band rehearsals and performances. If you are planning to take advantage of the opportunity to do virtual school and come to after school rehearsals, you should also plan on attending summer band rehearsals.
I want to emphasize again that there is a good chance that some or all of this could change. Please be patient with us as we try to do our best to get through this.
Summer Band Expectations
Students need to have the following for all rehearsals:
-Instrument and all supplies (reeds, mouthpiece, valve oil, mallets, flag, etc.)
-Water Bottle - An official OTHS Band water bottle will be provided on the first day of summer band to new band members (then paid for at start up). New students should bring another water bottle to the first day of rehearsal (bring at least a half gallon as you will not be able to refill your water bottle in a water fountain).
The following dress is expected of all students at all marching rehearsals:
-White or light grey t-shirt with sleeves
-Athletic shorts (no denim or khaki)
-Athletic shoes and socks (cross trainers or running shoes only)
In an effort to keep our students and staff healthy, we are going to put into place strict safety protocols based on guidelines set forth by Katy ISD and UIL. These are not negotiable. If you are unable or unwilling to follow any of the below procedures, you do not need to attend summer band rehearsals. Our goal is to keep everyone safe. If a student is going to put the organization at risk by not following the rules, then they need to exercise their option to stay at home.
-No lockers during summer band
-Masks will be required during instruction and transitions (may lower from face while performing)
-Maintain social distancing
-Have your own water bottle
-No sharing/touching other people’s belongings
-Temperatures taken before each rehearsal
-Wellness form turned in before each rehearsal
-Marching band drill will be written so that students are at least 6 feet away from each other
It is going to be up to the students to make sure they are keeping themselves safe when outside of rehearsal. We are counting on everyone being smart and responsible so they don’t increase the risk of becoming infected themselves or infecting other band members.
This is just a quick list of what will be expected. More details on all of this will be sent out as we approach the beginning of summer band.
Marching band by nature is a very physical activity. We also know what the weather can be like during a Houston summer, so it is extremely important that all band members take good care of themselves. The most important thing is to stay hydrated by cutting all carbonated drinks and only drinking water or sports drinks. While we will provide plenty of opportunities to drink water during rehearsal, drinking water before and after rehearsals is what really matters. You will sweat a lot, and it’s important to constantly replenish the water that you will lose while outside.
Students need to also eat well and get a good night’s sleep before rehearsals. Eat a healthy breakfast (avoid milk) and get at least 8 hours of sleep the night before.
By this point, everyone should be spending time outside and doing something active every day. Go for a run around your block, play basketball, ride your bike, it doesn’t matter. Get used to the weather now so it’s not such a shock to your body on the first day.
If everyone follows these tips, the first day will be just fine.
Tompkins Logo Masks
We are selling Tompkins Band, Color Guard, and Falcon masks! With the new requirement that we are all required to wear masks while in public, this is a great way to show your Tompkins Band pride while keeping yourself safe. There are a few design options and the cost is $19.95 for a set of three masks (as far as I know you cannot get one of each design to complete your set of 3-one set of 3 will be the same design for each mask). To order your masks, please click on this link:
The store will be open until July 24 and your masks will be shipped directly to you. Note that all students and parent volunteers who participate or engage in any in-person band activities will be required to wear a mask for the foreseeable future. You won’t be required to wear a Tompkins mask, but it would be great way to show our school spirit when we’re all together. Also, please feel free to spread the word to any Tompkins fans you know who may be interested in purchasing some! Be aware that these will not be delivered before we begin summer band rehearsals.
Start up this year will be completely online and will take place on Saturday, August 1. More details about how we will take care of all of our logistical and financial responsibilities will be sent out in the very near future. In addition, we will be creating videos to explain each item on the start up list. Hopefully in those videos will be able to answer all of your questions.
I have attached a list of fees/costs that will be paid at start up. All members are required to go through start up, pay fees and purchase necessary items. If for some reason we don’t purchase a specific item this year because it won’t be needed, we will either issue a credit for next year or refund your money.
Please remember that all band members must have a physical on file with the band in order to participate in any outside marching band rehearsals. If you have already completed your physical, please go ahead and scan it in and email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please email this to me rather than send in a hard copy in order to reduce contact.
Katy ISD will be providing physicals on our campus next Tuesday, July 21 in the competition gym. Appointments are limited, but if you would like to take care of yours there, you can do so by going to https://katyisd.revtrak.net/athletics-physicals/
If you have not completed your physical by the first day of summer band, you are still required to show up to rehearsal that morning (if you intend to participate). You will sit on the sideline and not rehearse and will lose out on valuable experience.
Before summer band begins, please take time to read through the OTHS Band Handbook, which can be found in Charms in the documents section (OTHS Band Documents folder/OTHS Band Handbook). It explains all of our policies and should give you a good understanding of how our band program is organized and what we, as a staff, expect from members of the band.
Please sign up for the Tompkins Band Class Remind 101 by texting these codes to 81010. Only students should sign up for these as we are restricted to how many people we can have sign up for each class. Plus, anything we send out through Remind won’t be very interesting to parents anyways.
9th Graders - @othsband24
10th Graders - @othsband23
11th Graders - @othsband22
12th Graders - @othsband21
2019-2020 Band Banquet
Unfortunately, we have decided to cancel the 2019-2020 banquet that was scheduled for August 8. All members of last year’s band should know that we are incredibly proud of you and saddened that we could not celebrate our shortened year. We will communicate with last year’s seniors about gathering and celebrating once it is more appropriate to do so.