Friday, August 7, 2020

Updates on Rehearsals

 Next summer update, much repeated, some extended:

NEW INFO (*)
1. OUR REHEARSALS HAVE BEEN WONDERFUL! So many new faces, so many faces that I’ve missed! Many people are working very hard to preserve this really cool thing we have built together. We move forward with the understanding that things can always change, again… and again. *I* am not willing to just throw ups my hands and give up, and neither are so many other students and families.
2. I would like to continue to thank the school district, the school board, and the District and building administrators for their work in helping to preserve the programs we have in place, and for their efforts in digging through the sometimes conflicting information from the state, and oft-changing regulations regarding how we can get our programs back up and running. Besides up-to-date and developing health information guiding these decisions, some of this is being adjudicated in courts. Please continue to be flexible as we all work to keep the students safe and the programs thriving.
3*. Fall Sports continue work outs this summer. I'm as excited as you to see some student life being breathed back into the Port Huron Northern campus. There are still many restrictions in place for how we are going to be running school-related activities. At this point, we still cannot have any rehearsals indoors. We also have to keep our numbers below 100 at a time. As you know, we have a nice size Band program. This, for now, presents another interesting challenge: how do we rehearse our nice-sized band under those types of restrictions? I had a meeting with admin on Tuesday to make sure we are operating within guidelines. The alternative is that we don’t move forward.
3a*. At this time, we plan on splitting the band in half for both marching and music rehearsals with the hope that at some point in the future, we will be able to put both groups together for performances. Half the band will be rehearsing on the practice field (with masks), the other half will be in music rehearsal on another part of campus (masks at the ready for when you are not playing)
3b*. We will have to eat lunch in 2 different shifts.
3d. Arrive 15 minutes early for your designated rehearsal time to begin health screening
3e*. I have been told that in the numbers we will have and the current restrictions, masks will need to be on the kids’ faces during marching, and ready to go in-between playing.
3g*. During summer workouts for the athletes and summer rehearsals for the band, we will continue making the effort to keep distance between students to limit exposure. Once we had done it once, we had an easier time making the distancing more-consistent in the following rehearsal. We keep encouraging “beyond fingertips” and staggered lines. When out of the field, students will be in 4 step (4x22.5”=7.5 feet) spicing.
3h. In addition to the health screenings, we take a few minutes in-between each rehearsal grouping and wipe down chairs and the stands that were used. Students can choose to stand and use flip-folios to limit contact with items others might have touched.
4. Music for The Incredibles as well as other music will be made available at the practices (It already sounds SO good!).
5. Kids, never underestimate how much your parents, friends worry about you. For that reason, as well as because of the shifting guidelines and regulations for activities such as these, because of the financial hardship the overall situation has placed on many families, every band program of which I am personally aware as well as almost every one of the thousands of HS marching bands across the country has chosen to forego an "away" camp and has, instead, planned on running extended rehearsals during what was previously to be their band camp week. We will be doing the same for this 2020 season.
6. There will be a small charge associated with this at-school camp that will cover the amortized cost of the shoes and band polos provided to every member, lunch and snacks for that week, as well as some instructional and materials costs. We expect that fee to be about $100 to cover the students' participation in "preseason" as well as the rest of the marching band season. In the event that activities get canceled, we will be able to make refunds of all or most of the band camp fees (part of it is instructional fees and part is the shoes and polo shirt which are special-ordered
7. Please try to make a $50 deposit on camp ASAP.
7a. You may have your student drop off a check made out to PHN Bands at rehearsal (include student’s name and grade in memo)
7b. You may mail the payment to
PHNBands
PO Box 596036
Fort Gratiot, MI 48059-6036
7c. Or you may check PHNBB.org for a PayPal Link (small service charge per payment)
8. What does the fall bring? We honestly still don't know. Please continue to be understanding about how we prepare for the upcoming year. I am learning as much as I can about how we will handle marching. I am not sure yet how we will handle sitting in the stands or how game days will work. I *do* know that I can't wait to get back to working with you and continuing to create something in which the community can be proud.
9. Because mailings are so expensive, here is how we will make most information available to you:
9a.: PHNBands.org - Band Website
9b.: PHNBB.org - Band Booster Website
9c.: Twitter.com/PHNBands - Occasional “news-bites” / don’t have to be a member!
9d.: Email for student and Guardian on record in Skyward
9e.: Facebook PHN Bands
9f.: Facebook PHN Marching Band
9g.: The PHN Bands Google Calendar, found on PHNBands.org. Mailings, emails, and other items are included as “events” in that calendar
10. Schedule as we currently know it:
August 10 - 14 - Extended preseason Rehearsals (9:15 AM - 4:30 PM)
August 18 - Evening Rehearsal, 6 - 9 PM*
August 20 - Afternoon Rehearsal, 2:30 - 5:15 PM*
August 25 - Evening Rehearsal, 6 - 9 PM*
August 27 - Afternoon Rehearsal, 2:30 - 5:15 PM*
*These Tues/Thurs rehearsals continue through the end of October
11. Performance schedule:
Friday, August 14 - End-of-camp
Thursday, September 3 - Home Football Game
Friday, September 25 - Home Football Game
Friday, October 2 - Home Football Game
Friday, October 9 - PHN / PH Football Game
Friday, October 16 - Home Football Game
All Football Games are at Memorial Stadium
At this time, I have no information on other performances.
This continues to be quite a process for all of us. Thank you for your continued patience and understanding as we work our way through this together, as a band, as a school, and as a community.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Preseason Rehearsals

Here is a schedule for our preseason rehearsals which start Monday, August 10
I know this has been stressful for folks.  Thank you for being patient.
Please be careful with your health and be honest when answering questions during check-in each day.
Also, I am passing on, once again, that I have been asked to request that you please have a mask available for all rehearsals.  As it pertains to outdoor, non-contact activities, I will continue to work to follow the policies of our district and the agencies from which *they* are drawing their guidance.
When standing in sectionals,
* I keep reminding students to put the appropriate distance between themselves and also "stagger" their lines, forward and back, to limit "direct lines"
* students are given the option to create further distance if they choose
* when out on the field, we will function (for now) in 4-step (7.5 foot) blocks. 
* next Monday, we are *not* yet meeting as a full group for either marching or playing
* we will provide lunch as well as frequent water breaks
* wear comfortable, athletic-style clothing and shoes
* wear sunscreen
As I am sure many people are, I try to read-up on information being released by the CDC, pediatricians, and even agencies and research overseas as it pertains to school and school-related activities. It can be very confusing, especially in light of the added "noise" created by social media.  I continue to follow the recommendations of our district.
I have no envy for the decision-makers, locally, statewide, or nationally.  Keep them in your thoughts and/or prayers.
Thanks again.  Be safe.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Post from Mr Senkmajer

Next summer update, much repeated, some extended:
Many of the items below are review, completely new information can be found in items: *3f, *3g, *5a
This one is harder to write. Because most of our events are planned many months—if not years—in advance. The fact that we have to keep making adjustments for things that are out of our control makes me really uncomfortable due to the additional stress it places on the families. The only relief I have from this discomfort is knowing that I don’t have to make even more difficult decisions at the district, county, and state level. Please keep those men and women in your thoughts and prayers as they do their best to make decisions they believe are in peoples’ best interests.
1. OUR FIRST TWO REHEARSALS HAVE BEEN WONDERFUL! So many new faces, so many faces that I’ve missed!
2. I would like to continue to thank the school district, the school board, and the District and building administrators for their work in helping to preserve the programs we have in place, and for their efforts in digging through the sometimes conflicting information from the state, and oft-changing regulations regarding how we can get our programs back up and running. Besides up-to-date and developing health information guiding these decisions, some of this is being adjudicated in courts. Please continue to be flexible as we all work to keep the students safe and the programs thriving.
3. Fall Sports continue work outs this summer. I'm as excited as you to see some student life being breathed back into the Port Huron Northern campus. There are still many restrictions in place for how we are going to be running school-related activities. At this point, we still cannot have any rehearsals indoors. We also have to keep our numbers below 100 at a time. As you know, we have a nice size Band program. This, for now, presents another interesting challenge: how do we rehearse our nice-sized band under those types of restrictions?
3a. For now, as we run summer marching band rehearsals, they will have to be split and shortened so that I can see as many students as possible in the same day.
3b. We will continue rehearsals on Tuesday, July 21 in front of PHN. Parents will be there to run health screenings, including: Logging the students' participation, asking “the questions,” taking their temperature, cleaning shared equipment in=-between rehearsals.
3c. At this time, we plan on having woodwinds run from 10:30 until 11:45 and brass from 12 Noon until 1:15. Percussion and color guard will post their schedules. Please attend as many of these Tuesday rehearsals as possible!
3d. arrive 15 minutes early for your designated rehearsal time to begin health screening
3e. During rehearsals, we will be following the same guidance and guidelines as the athletes as handed down by MHSAA. According to guidelines, at this point, no athletes or band students are required to wear masks, but they are certainly welcome to do so.
*3f. I have been asked to encourage students to bring masks to rehearsals.
*3g. During summer workouts for the athletes and summer rehearsals for the band, we will be making the effort to keep distance between students to limit contact exposure as much as possible. Once we had done it once, we had an easier time making the distancing more-consistent in the following rehearsal.
3h. If it makes a student and their family more comfortable to put the mask up and down in-between playing, we would certainly encourage that student to do so.
3i. In addition to the health screenings, we take a few minutes in-between each rehearsal grouping and wipe down chairs and the stands that were used. Students can choose to stand and use flip-folios to limit contact with items others might have touched.
4. Music for The Incredibles as well as other music will be made available at the practices (It already sounds SO good!).
5. Kids, never underestimate how much your parents, friends worry about you. For that reason, as well as because of the shifting guidelines and regulations for activities such as these, because of the financial hardship the overall situation has placed on many families, every band program of which I am personally aware as well as almost every one of the thousands of HS marching bands across the country has chosen to forego an "away" camp and has, instead, planned on running extended rehearsals during what was previously to be their band camp week. We will be doing the same for this 2020 season.
*5a. Now for the hard part: Things keep changing. The latest order does not expire until August 11. If we keep our current “preseason rehearsals” week intact, there will be many restrictions which will make it difficult to accomplish many of the things we normally achieve at camp, including blocking-in the first part of our show. After a consultation with my administrators, I have had to make the difficult decision to move our preseason rehearsals to the week of August 10-August 14. We will meet in smaller groups on Monday, and then (hopefully) be able to meet in a larger group starting the following day. This will also make our schedule more consistent with PH’s preseason schedule. To clarify, keep the following week open, August 10 through August 14, and we will continue to run extended rehearsals at school on Tuesdays, continuing to follow guidance from the district, MHSAA, and other authorities in these areas. If your family is already schedule for a vacation during all or part of that week, please have an adult contact me by email or private message.
6. There will be a small charge associated with this at-school camp that will cover the amortized cost of the shoes and band polos provided to every member, lunch and snacks for that week, as well as some instructional and materials costs. We expect that fee to be about $100 to cover the students' participation in "preseason" as well as the rest of the marching band season. In the event that activities get canceled, we will be able to make refunds of all or most of the band camp fees (part of it is instructional fees and part is the shoes and polo shirt which are special-ordered
7. Please try to make a $50 deposit on camp ASAP.
7a. You may have your student drop off a check made out to PHN Bands at rehearsal (include student’s name and grade in memo)
7b. You may mail the payment to
PHNBands
PO Box 596036
Fort Gratiot, MI 48059-6036
7c. Or you may check PHNBB.org for a PayPal Link (small service charge per payment)
8. What does the fall bring? We honestly still don't know. Please continue to be understanding about how we prepare for the upcoming year. I am learning as much as I can about how we will handle marching. I am not sure yet how we will handle sitting in the stands or how game days will work. I *do* know that I can't wait to get back to working with you and continuing to create something in which the community can be proud.
9. Because mailings are so expensive, here is how we will make most information available to you:
9a.: PHNBands.org - Band Website
9b.: PHNBB.org - Band Booster Website
9c.: Twitter.com/PHNBands - Occasional “news-bites” / don’t have to be a member!
9d.: Email for student and Guardian on record in Skyward
9e.: Facebook PHN Bands
9f.: Facebook PHN Marching Band
9g.: The PHN Bands Google Calendar, found on PHNBands.org. Mailings, emails, and other items are included as “events” in that calendar
10. Schedule as we currently know it:
July 21 - Rehearsal: Morning, Early afternoon (see item #5, above)
July 28 - Rehearsal: Morning, Early afternoon (see item #5, above)
August 4 - Rehearsal: Morning, Early afternoon (see item #5, above)
August 10 - 14 - Extended preseason Rehearsals (9 AM - 5 PM)
August 18 - Evening Rehearsal, 6 - 9 PM*
August 20 - Afternoon Rehearsal, 2:30 - 5:15 PM*
August 25 - Evening Rehearsal, 6 - 9 PM*
August 27 - Afternoon Rehearsal, 2:30 - 5:15 PM*
*These Tues/Thurs rehearsals continue through the end of October
11. Performance schedule:
Friday, August 14 - End-of-camp
Thursday, September 3 - Home Football Game
Friday, September 25 - Home Football Game
Friday, October 2 - Home Football Game
Friday, October 9 - PHN / PH Football Game
Friday, October 16 - Home Football Game
All Football Games are at Memorial Stadium
12. I am SO sorry. Section leaders, I had you fill out an OLD form. Please fill out this new form to be considered for section leader: https://forms.gle/s8H1woNV2UuV91YMA
At this time, I have no information on other performances.
This continues to be quite a process for all of us. Thank you for your continued patience and understanding as we work our way through this together, as a band, as a school, and as a community.