Recent events have given everyone pause about going to public areas where there is unnecessary exposure to others. According to the Center of Disease Control, nearly 22 million school days are lost each year due to colds alone, and 38 million school days are lost due as a result of the flu. While there is no sure-fire prevention method for keeping a classroom from being susceptible to a contagious illness, there are some steps that children’s music studio owners can take to make their classroom more healthy and resistant to germs. Listening to and taking the direction of health care professionals is always the best course of action for teachers and studio owners, but there are some things you can do to make your classroom safer and more resilient:
- Wash hands with soap and water – Pediatricians will tell you that nothing beats a good hand washing with soap and warm water to prevent spreading germs. During cold and flu season, make it a point to ask all children AND PARENTS to wash their hands as soon as they enter the studio. While there is some evidence that cold water kills germs just as well as warm water, it’s the time spent lathering the soap in hands that really makes a difference. Have your parents sing a short song with their children as they lather their hands to ensure a thorough lather.
- Use hand sanitizers in between washing – When soap and water are not available, hand sanitizers have been shown to be very effective, especially with children. Although the efficacy of hand sanitizer may be lower than soap and water, its overall ability to prevent infection may be greater because it’s easier for children to do more often. Keep a good supply of hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol available around your music studio, and use gaps and transitions between class activities to pass it around and ask all participants to use. Sing along with a song to make the activity fun!
- Keep sharing of instruments in class to a minimum – Music classes are often full of fun instruments such as rattles, jingles, and rhythm sticks. To help prevent the spreading of germs, have enough instruments on hand so that everyone in your class has their own. That way, you can clean them after each class to use in the next one. Be sure to use appropriate cleaning methods for sanitation depending on the instruments’ material(s) construction.
- Wipe down surfaces during as well as after – Teachers will tell you that they are always going behind children and wiping down after classes. Take the opportunity to allow the children to help while teaching them to wipe down instruments and surfaces. A work song is a great way to make this a fun activity with music. However, because children are still learning how to clean things thoroughly, be sure to go back after them at the end of each class for a deeper cleaning and sanitizing.
- Share your policies and procedures with parents – Parents are concerned about their child catching a cold, the flu, or worse in a classroom setting. Clearly lay out and communicate your hygiene and cleaning policy and procedures to give parents some peace of mind. Post it in your studio, email it to all your parents, and include it in your welcome packet for any class. This will help to assure them that you are taking precautions.
- Defer to the experts – Health professionals know best, so if they are recommending that operations should be temporarily halted, there is a very good reason for that. While the U.S. has not currently taken such measures, as of March 5th, thirteen countries have closed schools nationwide due to coronavirus.
These are some things you can do in your children’s music studio to help prevent the spread of germs and illness. Keep in mind that there is no sure-fire way to prevent infection completely, but taking these precautions can reduce the chances. Most of all, listen to the experts and your parents to gauge the best course of action for keeping your studio safe.