How the AV Marching Band has adapted to COVID


Many students do take initiative on their own to wear a mask outside.

Kevin Zhu, Senior staff writer

As marching band soldiers on through the COVID-19 pandemic, is their mask policy truly effective at preventing its spread?

The assistant director provided an explanation for a layman in music making and the dangers specifically regarding spread of disease involved.

“I think there’s this idea that because we play wind instruments, we have more aerosols going through the room. That’s true, but the amount of aerosols in the air through the instruments isn’t actually as high as one would think… It has a lot to do with how the instruments absorb a lot of [the particles]”, says Edwin Cordoba.

Playing through wind instruments appears to pose less of a threat than directly breathing without a mask. Even then, many instruments simply don’t require mouth contact. Drumline, or pit, known as the keyboard instruments, require no respiratory activity in order to play.

“There’s a lot of instruments that don’t even require wind to play, for example, drumline,” says Cordoba

Extra PPE, or protective playing equipment is also worn in order to further reduce risk for indoors practice.

“Part of the Amador Valley Band policy is to always have masks indoors. We have actually some custom tailor made masks for musicians to play inside. They have a slit inside where they can put the mouthpiece in.” says Cordoba.

Special tailor-made masks for indoor playing.

Marching band mask policy revolves around the major condition of whether or not activities take place indoors or outdoors. Heavy emphasis is placed on the fact that there is no sanction legally for masks for any outdoor activity, even in extremely close quarters. 

Many forms in marching band require a short distance between individuals.

“When we’re outside, because we’re in the open air, it’s less problematic. It is a much safer situation. Six feet only applies to indoor situations”, says Cordoba.

Like most sports programs at Amador, mask policy is incredibly loose within the marching band. Masks are frequently off in more obscure areas of the band room such as the locker room.

“Whenever people come in without masks, we’re quick to identify them and remind them…It requires a lot of student initiative, and we rely on our student section leaders to handle that responsibility, too”, says Cordoba

Even outdoors, many students feel at danger. The marching band boasts an extraordinarily large number of participants in its program-but with this comes its drawbacks, especially in a pandemic setting. Cramming nearly three hundred teenagers onto a football field, with a lax mask policy poses a serious threat, even if the environment is outdoors.

“It is kinda dangerous when people take off their masks… As long as the instruments and people keep a safe distance, it should be okay,” says Sehyun Park(‘25).

Some students feel that the current situation is alright, however, and that the band does a commendable job of keeping its members safe. 

“I think it is safe. It’s good to have masks inside since it is also the law… I think it’s appropriate to have the mask off outside, although I do wish that when we were bundled up we had our masks on”, says Katie Nudelman(‘24)

Furthermore, many students wear a mask outside, even if no policy is enforced. Many like Park recognize the danger that arises in such a setting and take measures to protect themselves and others by wearing a mask outdoors on their own initiative.

Hopefully district policymakers and students themselves realize the problem surrounding the mask policies within the Amador community, and help to stop the spread of the ongoing year and a half long COVID pandemic.