NMS Covid-19 Guidelines for Fall 2021

Welcome Back

We greatly look forward to the full return of in-person learning at Neighborhood Music School, beginning in September 2021. Joyful artistic experiences await us all.

Over several months, we have carefully planned for the fall at NMS. 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. As we return to in-person learning this fall, we know that our community will continue to work together to ensure the safety of all.

These guidelines are subject to change. Last updated: 9/1/2021.


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 had close contact with any individual who has been diagnosed with Covid-19 within the past fourteen (14) days.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

  • Everyone age two or older must wear a mask at all times in all spaces within our facilities, including studios, classrooms, hallways, and bathrooms.
  • If you cannot wear a mask for medical reasons, please contact our Student Services Manager, Tina Carlson, at 203-624-5189 ext. 19 prior to your first scheduled activity.
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.
Covid-19 Exposure
  • If someone who has been to NMS tests positive for Covid-19, we will contact the Health Department and follow their guidance.

Main Campus at 100 Audubon Street

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Masks must be worn at all times in public areas of our building. If you would like to remove your mask for any reason, please step outside.
  • No eating or drinking is permitted in public spaces within our building.
  • Between lessons, classes, and ensembles, faculty members 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
  • While playing their instrument, winds and brass players must wear performance masks that are specifically designed for use during wind and brass instrument playing. We require performance masks with slits and flaps; masks that only have a slit are not permitted.
  • When instrumentalists are not playing their instrument, such as when they are in the hallways, they must wear a regular mask. Performance masks are not designed for general use outside of lessons, classes, and ensembles.
  • Winds and brass players must use bell covers.
  • 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.
Practice Rooms
  • Practice rooms are temporarily closed. We will reopen them in the future.

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:

  • The facility’s ventilation system has been inspected and is working properly.
  • The Guilford Branch Coordinator admits students to the building at their lesson times.
  • Families and caregivers are welcome to wait in the waiting area while students are having their lessons. Masks must be worn at all times, and eating and drinking are not permitted in the waiting area.
  • 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 individual 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 faculty are teaching, 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.