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BGSU’s musical arts students will head outdoors for classes

BGSU’s College of Musical Arts has released plan to start school year in-person while maintaining hands-on education
Published: Aug. 4, 2020 at 7:42 PM EDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (WTVG) - On August 27, Bowling Green State University will welcome its students and staff onto campus for the start of the 2020-2021 school year.

Earlier this summer BGSU laid out their restart plan to ensure the safety and well-being of all members of its campus. Like many other college’s restart plans it provides a wide array of information on many different facets of campus life.

The plan contains new rules students and staff are asked to follow, such as wearing a face mask when inside university buildings.

It contains procedures on how to be tested and what to do if a university student or faculty member is to test positive for COVID-19.

The plan also includes an explanation of its university-wide hybrid approach of online and in-person classes. The outline also details how BG plans to maintain proper social distancing practices throughout the semester.

But one thing missing from the plan, an explanation for how hands-on, group-driven majors can return this fall safely.

“Music Studies don’t stop just because we can’t be together,” said Bowling Green State Dean of the School of Musical Art Dr. William Mathis.

Dr. Mathis has spent this past summer with the College of Musical Art formulating its own school-wide personal plan of action to combat COVID-19.

“What’s most important is the safety and health of our students, so everything that we are doing and planning is surrounding that,” said Dr. Mathis.

The School of Musical art has planned a volume of new alterations to its pre-COVID-19 way of educating its musically-driven students.

The new plan includes limiting the number of students in classrooms by moving some music ensemble groups all online, placing others online and in-person in a hybrid manner, and dropping some larger ensembles all together for this semester.

“It’s different but we can achieve that sense of community through these hybrid and online offerings that we are doing,” said Dr. Mathis.

To try and still give students the experience and opportunity to perform with others, BGSU’s School of Musical Art is attempting creative approaches.

For starters, larger ensembles will start the school year practicing outside. The University plans to set up tents around the Moore Musical Arts Building, where students will practice and perform. The arts building will also lend it’s courtyard to student use as well for practice and performance.

Dr. Mathis and the College of Musical Arts know that even with creative thinking some things cannot be maintained amidst a pandemic.

“So we offer in a typical year 600 plus public events that include student recitals all the way up to large public events where we will have several hundred people attending. We will not be able to do that this semester,” said Dr. Mathis.

Performances are now being offered online through the school and will be placed on Bowling Green State University’s Facebook page and website.

BGSU senior Jhané Perdue, who studies vocal performance, is proud of the work both her school and her Dean have done.

“The dean has reached out to multiple people and has come to events to make sure that we feel safe,” Perdue said. “He’s trying his best and I applaud him for that.”

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