By Trinity Martin
As students and teachers begin navigating through plans for the upcoming school year, Morgan County High School’s One Morgan band is taking action to create a new normal.
This past week, the One Morgan band gathered together to take part in this year’s social distancing band camp. Band directors, Duncan Lord and Jeffery Rowser, have created routines and procedures to ensure students remain safe at all times.
“We have to be more cautious than ever before,” Rowser said.
Some of these new procedures include mandating face masks, remaining six feet apart at all times, and checking temperatures each morning to ensure no one has a fever. These precautious will even continue into the band’s upcoming performances.
“We specially wrote our drill this year to make sure the kids stayed socially distanced,” Lord said. “We’re still doing the normal stuff we do for our show, we just adjusted the shapes and the forms to be more spaced out.”
The One Morgan band is also making sure to keep distance during their morning warm-ups. Where they typically meet in the band room, they instead have moved to the school’s parking lot.
“We’ve set up a grid out in the parking lot and that is a space where the whole band can be together and social distance,” Lord said.
The band has also been able to safely socially distance in the sectional’s private practices. Each group meets in a specific room depending on the amount of people, so they can spread out appropriately.
“Our saving grace is our small sectional groups,” Lord said. “The CDC and DPHS guidelines and GHSA and even our own athletic department say that groups of 50 and smaller are OK if you social distance, and all our sectionals are less than 50 people. We have put larger sections into larger rooms.”
Lord said camp meals have also experienced a change, breaking up the band as a whole into smaller groups. “We no longer eat in the cafeteria,” he said. “They eat in their sectional rooms.”
The One Morgan band has been able to successfully follow safety guidelines so they can gather together. “As drum major, I’m proud to see everyone come together and social distance as well as perform, especially the freshman who don’t have experience in this band.” Junior Wyatt Howard said. “I hope to see football season come back because that is a special time for everyone in Morgan County.” Howard said.
With Morgan County’s cases continuing to rise, and two cases confirmed on Morgan County High School’s football team, a football season may not be guaranteed. But the band assures their time will not be wasted.
“If they say football is going to be canceled, we would still do something for the marching band,” Rowser said.
Since the band has taken good measures to keep their participants safe, the hope remains for an opportunity to have some type of performance in the case that football season is canceled. They also hope their procedures and routines will work to influence school when it starts back on Aug. 6.
“What we have seen at band camp is really an optimistic preview of what school will look like if we go back normal,” Lord said.
From what the band directors have seen, they believe students will be very cooperative in the rules set for them.
“They’re doing a fantastic job,” Lord said. “Everyone is super cooperative.”
After 147 days out of school, they say students want to be back so badly they don’t mind following the rules.
“Most of our kids are ready to be back in school,” Rowser said. “They’re ready to see their friends, they’re ready to be in the hallway, they’re ready to be here.”
Lord added, “It seems that people want to be together enough if we have to make some adjustments and things have to be uncomfortable for a while, we’re willing to make that sacrifice to get out of our houses and finally see people we’ve gone to school with since Pre-K. I’m optimistic that if we need to come back in person with some changes, we can make it work.”
Through it all, the One Morgan band continues to impress with their hard work and optimism. Although what the next few months will look like for the band is unknown, the dedication from students, directors, and all other participants will be sure to produce something amazing all can enjoy.