Health ordinances are on the wrong track at music school

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This article has been published 22/2/2021 (312 days ago), the information it contains may therefore no longer be up to date.

Shakespeare may have written “if music is love’s food, play it” – but he may never have considered applying public health during a pandemic.

COVID-19 law enforcement officers descended on the River Heights School of Music over the weekend, intending to sanction them for violating public health restrictions.

But music school owner Robert Burton said on Monday when he told the two officers he believed public health orders allowed them to instruct students, having a teacher with a student, c This is when things got confusing.

“They said they didn’t think we could do classes in person, but they couldn’t get confirmation from their boss,” Burton said.

“They said I had to prove I could be open or they threatened fines.”

The officers eventually left, saying they were going to clarify the matter first before giving him a ticket, but when Burton asked why they had come to his school and not to one of the biggest international music schools, the officers said they were next on the list, he mentioned.

When students attend the River Heights School of Music to learn to play the piano, guitar, ukulele or drums, they are taught by physically distant teachers, Burton said.

“We have four rooms with a student and a teacher in one room,” he said. “They don’t face each other – they watch the music – and everyone is sitting six feet away.

“On Valentine’s Day (after the new guidelines were announced) a few more people came to sign up for the classes. They thought if you could have your hair cut you should be able to take a music class. ”

Under Section 75 of the Public Health Ordinances, companies are permitted to provide one-to-one tuition or other individualized educational instruction.

“It’s hard to write orders for every possible scenario,” said Dr Brent Roussin, the province’s chief public health officer, when asked about music lessons at Monday’s press conference.

With the latest easing of restrictions, the province was planning to open businesses, including gyms and fitness facilities, to 25% of their capacity to do individual fitness or one-on-one training, he said.

“We wanted to keep it one-on-one just to make sure that all the steps were taken by everyone,” he said.

A business that is licensed to open and is normally operated from a home could also open under these restrictions, but the instructor would not be allowed to visit the students’ homes, Roussin said.

“In those orders he really goes to other people’s homes,” he said.

There are health benefits to learning to play an instrument – and not just mental health, Burton said.

“We teach them to play the piano, and then they go home, practice and stay home. What could be better during a pandemic? ”

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Kevin Rollason

Kevin Rollason

Kevin Rollason is one of the Winnipeg Free Press’s most versatile journalists. Whether it is covering the town hall, the courthouse or general reports, one can count on Rollason not only to answer the 5 Ws – Who, What, When, Where and Why – but to do so with a interesting and accessible way for readers.

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