Covid-19: In-Person Lessons

Risk Assessment updated: 16th May 2021

Face-to-face lessons are possible from 17th May 2021, but whilst the pandemic has reduced considerably here in the UK (Cotswolds: 11 per 100,000), the risk to health remains high, especially with new variants becoming problematic.

 

In-person lessons are possible, however it is important to maintain an appropriate level of hygiene to ensure everyone stays healthy. 

 

After consulting health professionals and students I have been able to create risk-assessed guidelines which will substantially reduce the risk of infection.  I have been guided by these UK.GOV pages. The government however isn't noted for its forward planning skills so in addition I have used the Covid19 healthdata.org website which provides predictive epidemiological modelling outlining infection levels for the UK (and other countries) in the next three months.

Conditions for Restart:

If in-person lessons are to happen safely please ensure that you have read and understood these notes. It may look like a lot on paper but once we get used to it everything in practice seems to happen quite smoothly. Hower switching over to face-to-face lessons means that you are agreeing to the conditions below:

  • Prior to the lesson a Lateral Flow Covid Test should be performed by both of us within 24 hours of the lesson. This will give us more confidence that neither of us is likely to be carrying the virus. The lesson will be cancelled if either of us tests positive. Short-notice cancellation conditions due to these circumstances will not be applied (see ts & cs). If you are unable to perform a lateral flow test then it may result in further delay to recommencing in-person lessons until the situation becomes more safe. 

  • Prior to the lesson if either of us discover we have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, the in-person lessons will be suspended pending tests. If the student becomes unwell then short-notice cancellation conditions due to these circumstances will not be applied (see ts & cs).

  • If, after a positive test we are feeling well, then the lesson(s) can be replaced with online lessons. 

  • If either of us develop symptoms and test positive after the lesson it is essential that we communicate with each other as soon as possible.

  • As far as possible where I am providing the music it will be emailed to the student for the student to print.

  • Before departing for the lesson please check through the things you need - violin(!), shoulder rest, your own stand (if you have one), mobile phone (for recording), music, pencil.

  • You will be in the Yoga Studio which is well-ventilated and is large enough to accommodate social distancing for two people.

  • We will only greet each other at a distance.

  • We will avoid facing each other as much as is reasonably possible.

  • If a student is not yet vaccinated then facemasks need to be considered as an alternative. Although I can see the value of masks as a mitigation they are an impediment to tuition. More details for mask wearing are provided below.    Please note that I have had both vaccinations.

  • Students must wash their hands for at least 20 seconds at the beginning of the lesson.

  • Soap and water are available at the entrance to the house.

  • Single-use hand paper towels are available for drying hands. A no-touch bin is available under the sink.

  • Music stands need to be positioned in such a manner as to allow for greater than 2 metres social distancing. 

  • The teaching room is disinfected regularly.

  • Other commonly touched surfaces and any shared items are cleaned and disinfected after use.

  • The above conditions are likely to be amended as and when government guidance changes.

These are my thoughts with regard to my preference for not wearing masks in 1-2-1 lessons.

 

During this pandemic I have been a strong supporter of mask wearing. In shops etc. I was an early-adopter. Others not wearing masks I have strongly disapproved. In the meantime I have become very comfortable with masks even in the street where I have felt it necessary.

 

However 1-2-1 tuition is very different especially if you view it from a neuro-linguistic point of view, a discipline in which I am trained and have over 20 years experience of using in a variety of different circumstances. NLP in fact has proved to be a very important element of my teaching. I firmly believe that this may be why I seem to have a good reputation as a teacher and coach. It is a discipline in which I wish every teacher had training.

 

NLP is a set observations and responses which relate to all of the senses including, very importantly, facial expression. Masking the face is therefore a source of concern to me. In discussions with students, in the process of creating the above conditions, it was said that whilst face masks were a strong defence against the virus (along with 2 metres distance and hand washing) we should now be able to balance some of these mitigations with having been vaccinated.

 

My thought is that it would be very different in 1-2-many situations, if I was a choir master or an orchestral conductor. I therefore believe that in 1-2-1s the risk that one of us will be a carrier is almost nil.  Unless things change in the future, lessons without masks but with vaccinations & lateral flow tests meets sensible safety requirements.