Visalia Unified officials to discuss COVID restrictions on marching band

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- A rally is being to loosen restrictions on marching bands in the South Valley's largest school district.

Students, parents, and staff are making their voices heard at a school board meeting that starts Tuesday evening.

The district previously said all student musicians needed to maintain six feet of social distance and that some could not march and play at the same time.

But after a meeting with band directors on Monday, the district now says it is providing new options, both of which allow students to march and play at the same time.

The first option students have is to maintain six feet of social distance, and not wear a mask.

The second option is to wear a special mask, provided by the district, and not socially distance.

However, the director of band at El Diamante High School says that this is still overly restrictive compared to what other school districts are doing and compared to other activities in the district, such as football, where masks and social distancing are not required.

She says the turnout at Tuesday's board meeting is in line with the phrase they've been using on social media to spread their message -- band together.

"All of our groups at some point compete against each other during our regular competitive season, but they have banded together to be here to share their love of music, the arts and share their passion for this activity so we can hopefully get the board and the district administration to update these guidelines," says Kristen Pallas.

Pallas says the updated options also don't address concerns about not being able to play instruments indoors.

Currently, the district says that percussion and strings are ok to play inside while wearing a mask.
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