Aerosol Study Mitigation Strategies For Performing Arts In Schools

In This Article:

Masked piano student

New Fall Guidance for 2021-22 School Year 

The International Coalition Performing Arts Aerosol Study has released updated guidelines for music education classrooms for the fall. The guidance updates previous mitigation tactics with the understanding that states need to consult local and state COVID-19 guidance and transmission rates for appropriate mitigation adoption and adjust accordingly.  

Music education champions are urged to share this information with your local and state networks now, as students return to in-person learning.  

Updated guidelines are as follows: 


  • No mitigation is needed for outdoor performances depending on the level of local and state transmission rates. Outdoors remain the safest space for performances. 


  • Masking with appropriate material remains the best way of reducing potentially infected aerosol from circulating in an indoor space. Masks are recommended to be worn while singing and speaking. 
  • Bell covers made from appropriate material remain the best way of reducing potentially infected aerosol from circulating in an indoor space. 
  • Depending on your comfort level, instrumentalists can wear masks only when speaking and slitted performance masks are optional. 
  • In spaces with good ventilation rates and HEPA filtration, increased indoor rehearsal times of 50 minutes may be considered. A minimum of 3 air exchanges per hour should be used, if there are spaces with higher air change rates, you may consider longer rehearsal times. 
  • Distancing may be decreased to 3 feet, adjusting farther or closer depending on local conditions. 
  • Continue good hygiene practice moving forward, including appropriate elimination of brass fluid. 
  • Plastic face shields only stop large droplets, not aerosol; room dividers inhibit the function of the HVAC system and are not recommended. 


Recently, Dr. James Weaver (National Federation of High School Associations), Dr. Mark Spede, (College Band Directors National Association/Clemson University), and Bob Morrison (Arts Ed New Jersey) recorded an important conversation on mitigations and recommendations for various music, speech, debate, and theater activities.  

During this in-depth conversation, Dr. Spede reminded viewers, “the recommendations published by the International Coalition Performing Arts Aerosol Study are truly science-based. When followed, they do mitigate transmission of coronavirus. Those seeking to circumvent those mitigation practices by canceling music programs are not following the science.” Dr. Weaver urged music educators to engage music students outdoors when the weather permits, and to be prepared to share the facts with administrators regarding mitigation strategies so vital performing arts programs can continue as students return indoors.  

 “We have more science-based strategies for the performing arts than many other academic or athletic activities,” said Bob Morrison, “we’ve taken this very seriously and we know what protocols to put in place so that our programs can continue.”    

Watch the 35-minute video  

Index time stamps:  

0:00 Welcome 

0:41 Differences in State & Local Health Recommendations 

2:51 Mitigation Strategies & Risk Assessment 

6:30 Aerosol Particles (Distribution/Size) 

9:47 Speech & Debate 

11:55 Theater 

15:15 Elementary Music (Singing & Recorders) 

19:47 Music (Vocal & Instrumental) 

25:40 Air Change Rate 

29:28 Shields & Partitions 

30:39 Next Steps 

Visit the Aerosol Study Homepage