NMS Covid-19 Guidelines

Welcome

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, we have carefully planned for safe, joyful artistic experiences. We have worked from a foundation of listening to expert advice, collaborating with our community, and placing safety at the center of all of our plans.

With input from medical professionals and government officials, we have developed science-based guidelines designed to keep our community safe. We are fortunate to have students ages 6 months to nearly 100 at NMS, and our procedures take into account the needs of all members of our community. 

The NMS community is unlike any other. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, we have all come together with patience, flexibility, resilience, and a spirit of cooperation. We know that our community will continue to work together to ensure the safety of all.

These guidelines are subject to change. Last updated: 9/21/2022.


Student Covid-19 Vaccination Policy

Statement of Policy

The health and safety of students, staff, and the community are of great importance to Neighborhood Music School (NMS). Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, NMS has adopted a number of policies and protocols related to Covid-19 that prioritize student and employee safety.

Public health authorities have emphasized that vaccination is the most effective method to protect against Covid-19. Given the compelling evidence about the safety and efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines, Neighborhood Music School requires all students age 5 and older who participate in NMS activities in person to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and to submit proof of vaccination by the first day of their activity.

Full vaccination is not required for children under age 5 to participate in Fall Semester 2022 activities, though full vaccination will be required in the future. Preschool and Toddler Program 2022-2023 students are not required to be vaccinated against Covid-19. All students under age 5 are strongly encouraged to become vaccinated as soon as possible.

Enrolled students who turn 5 must receive the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine within 30 days of turning 5, if they are not yet vaccinated, and the second dose within the medically recommended timeframe. Students must submit proof of vaccination following their second dose.

Parents/caregivers who participate in lessons, classes, and/or ensembles with students in person must also be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and submit proof of vaccination by the first day of their activity.

Any NMS student who does not provide proof of vaccination will be accommodated through online learning whenever possible, though we cannot guarantee the availability of online learning accommodations for all NMS activities.

Submission of Proof of Vaccination

Students and parents/caregivers need only submit proof of vaccination once prior to participating in activities in person at NMS. Proof of vaccination may include a photo of a vaccination card, a government-issued vaccination record, a provider-issued vaccination record, a QR code linked to a digital health record, or any other official record of vaccination.

Students and parents/caregivers may submit proof of vaccination in one of three ways:

  1. Upload proof via your NMS account (it is recommended that you complete these steps on a computer):
    • Save your proof of vaccination on your device.
    • Log in to your NMS account here: nms.asapconnected.com/Login
    • Click on “Documents” in the left navigation bar.
    • Under “Student Documents,” click on “Browse” and then double-click on the student’s proof of vaccination.
    • Click on “Upload.”
    • Repeat upload process for all other students in your family, as well as parents/caregivers who will be participating in lessons, classes, or ensembles with a student.
  2. Email proof to [email protected].
  3. Bring proof to the front desk at our main building and show us in person.
Confidentiality

Access to students’ proof of vaccination will be restricted to employees of NMS who need to know. Student privacy and confidentiality will be maintained at all times.

Administration of This Policy

Policy Modification
Government and public health laws/regulations, guidelines, and restrictions regarding Covid-19 and Covid-19 vaccines are changing rapidly as new information becomes available, further research is conducted, and additional vaccines are approved and distributed. NMS reserves the right to modify this policy at any time, in its sole discretion, to adapt to changing circumstances and needs.

Questions
For specific questions about the implementation of this policy, please direct your inquiries to [email protected].

Frequently Asked Questions

Are booster shots required?
Booster shots are not required, though they are strongly encouraged for everyone who is eligible.

My child is not yet vaccinated, though they will be fully vaccinated before the start of their activity. May I enroll them now and submit proof of vaccination later?
Yes.

I study with my teacher in person, but not at NMS’s main building in New Haven. Do I need to submit proof of vaccination?
Yes.

I am a parent/caregiver who doesn’t go into the classroom or studio with my child. Do I need to submit my vaccination status?
No.

I prefer to study online. Do I need to submit my vaccination status?
No.


Health

Every member of the NMS community has a role to play in keeping all of us healthy. We ask each individual to make a commitment to following all of our health guidelines. Together, we can keep each other safe at NMS.

Home Health Screening
  • Prior to entering our facilities, please complete the following Covid-19 home screening tool for you and/or your child:

    Please answer each of the following questions TRUE or FALSE:
  1. My child is NOT / I am NOT experiencing any symptoms of Covid-19, or of another contagious illness (for example, influenza).
  2. My child is NOT / I am NOT currently under evaluation for Covid-19 (for example, waiting for the results of a viral test to confirm infection).
  3. My child has NOT / I have NOT been diagnosed with Covid-19 OR my child has / I have been diagnosed with COVID-19 but have since been cleared to discontinue isolation.
  4. My child is NOT / I am NOT subject to an order or request for self-isolation or quarantine by my doctor or a public official.

All answers must be TRUE for a student to participate in person at any activity at NMS.
If you answer one or more questions FALSE, please stay home and contact your teacher.

Covid-19 Exposure
  • We follow CDC recommendations regarding steps to take following exposure to Covid-19. If you have been exposed to Covid-19, please contact our Covid Coordinator, Gillian Eversman, at 203-624-5189 ext. 26 for guidance.
  • If you develop any Covid symptoms at any point following a Covid exposure, you must stay home.
Masks
  • Masks and bell covers are optional in studios, classrooms, and hallways at NMS during periods when the CDC has determined that New Haven County has a Covid-19 Community Level of Low or Medium.
  • When New Haven County’s Covid-19 Community Level is High, masks and bell covers are required throughout our facilities.
  • New Haven County’s current Community Level and the CDC’s recommended actions for each level may be found here.
  • Teachers may choose to require that their students wear masks and/or use bell covers while participating in their lessons, classes, ensembles, and/or studio recitals, regardless of New Haven County’s Community Level.
  • At all times, masks must be worn by audience members attending NMS performances and large events.
Social Distancing
  • Please respect social distancing, both in public spaces and within studios.
Hand Hygiene
  • Please wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • We particularly encourage you to wash your hands upon entering our facilities.
  • Hand sanitizer is available at the entrance to our facilities.
Vaccines
  • NMS employees are required to be fully vaccinated and boosted.
  • NMS students age 5 and older who participate in NMS activities in person are required to be fully vaccinated.
  • NMS students under age 5 are strongly encouraged to become vaccinated as soon as possible.
  • Parents/caregivers who participate in lessons, classes, and/or ensembles with students in person must be fully vaccinated.
  • Booster shots are strongly recommended for all who are eligible.
  • Partner programs that use our facility follow their own policies regarding vaccinations.
Covid-19 Case at NMS
  • If someone who has been to NMS tests positive for Covid-19, we will follow the guidance of the Health Department.

Main Campus at 100 Audubon Street

Ventilation
  • Wing’s Testing & Balancing conducted a thorough test and analysis of our ventilation system.
  • We have upgraded our air filtration as high as possible through the installation of MERV 13 air filters.
  • Fresh air is continuously brought into our building through our intake system.
  • There is constant air supply and return in each studio and office, meaning that air is constantly being exchanged in each room.
  • Our air filtration and air exchange rates both exceed CDC guidelines.
Entrance
  • The front door of our building is kept locked at all times.
  • To enter the building, please press the intercom button to the right of the front door.
  • Families and caregivers are welcome to enter the building with students.
Public Spaces
  • Families and caregivers are welcome to wait in the public spaces in our building while students are participating in activities. Please follow all health and safety guidelines.
  • Eating and drinking are permitted in the first floor atrium. Please do not eat in the hallways.
Cleaning
  • Between lessons, classes, and ensembles, teachers clean shared surfaces on instruments and equipment, such as piano keys and ballet barres.
  • High-touch surfaces throughout the building, such as door handles and stairway handrails, are cleaned frequently throughout the day.
  • The entire building is professionally cleaned nightly.
  • All cleaning products used at NMS are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Winds and Brass
  • When New Haven County’s Covid-19 Community Level is High, winds and brass players must wear performance masks that are specifically designed for use during wind and brass instrument playing, and players must use bell covers. We require performance masks with slits and flaps; masks that only have a slit are not permitted.
  • Performance masks with slits and flaps and bell covers provided through K-12 schools or colleges/universities are permitted to be used at NMS. Performance masks and bell covers are also commercially available. NMS does not recommend any particular retail store, though, for reference purposes, we provide links to JC Music and Hickey’s Music Center.
  • While playing their instrument, winds and brass players must maintain a distance of at least six feet between their instrument and all other people.
  • Brass players must practice water key etiquette. Absorbent pads are provided by NMS for use when emptying water valves. Water valves must be positioned close to the pads when discharged.
  • Our procedures are based on the Covid-19 mitigation strategies developed from the results of an international study from the University of Colorado regarding aerosols produced by winds/brass instrumentalists and singers, as well as the considerations included in the Connecticut State Department of Education’s COVID-19 Reopening Considerations for Connecticut K-12 Music Programs.
Singing

Satellite Locations: Guilford and Hamden Hall

While at our Guilford and Hamden Hall satellite locations, please follow all NMS health guidelines. Most building procedures for our main campus also apply at our satellite locations. The following guidelines are specific to our satellite locations:

Guilford
  • The facility’s ventilation system has been inspected and is working properly.
  • Families and caregivers are welcome to wait in the waiting area while students are having their lessons. 
  • NMS cleaning procedures are followed. 
Hamden Hall
  • In addition to following NMS guidelines, please also follow all Hamden Hall guidelines.

Make-Up Policy and Online Instruction

Our Attendance and Make-Up Policies for Lessons, Classes, and Ensembles can be found here.

To further encourage students to stay home when they are sick, we will follow these additional guidelines for one-on-one lessons:

  • If a student cannot attend their lesson in person due to Covid-19 symptoms, required quarantine due to Covid-19 exposure, or another reason, we will make every effort to teach the lesson online during the student’s normal lesson time. The student should plan on being available for an online lesson.
  • If a student needs to attend their lesson remotely, the student/parent should contact the teacher with as much advance notice as possible. Please remember that when teaching artists are working, their phones are off, so they may not be able to reply to your message right away. Please do not assume that you should come into NMS if you do not get an immediate reply from your teacher; please stay home and know that your teacher will reply as soon as they are able.

Thank You

We appreciate your dedication to the NMS community and all of your efforts to keep everyone healthy and safe.