Good Afternoon All,
Hope this e-mail finds you all doing well. I know you all have been watching and listening carefully to what has transpired over the last several weeks when it comes to the opening of school, extracurricular activities, etc. As of last Thursday evening, Cabarrus County Schools has made the decision to move to a “Plan C” model for the opening of school, which means that we will begin the school year in a fully remote learning situation. See statement from the county below:
Last week, we announced preliminary plans for reopening school in August. Our re-entry teams have been working throughout the summer to develop these plans. Our partners at Cabarrus Health Alliance continue to work with us, offering their professional recommendations and guidance. We vetted the plans with school leaders, teachers and parent groups and continue to refine the plans.
We will announce a new full-time remote learning option for students for the 2020-2021 school year at noon today. Students who select this option will not be required to enroll in the Cabarrus Virtual Academy and will be allowed to stay at their current school. The combination of in-person and remote learning announced last week will still be available to students interested in that option.
Additionally, the Cabarrus County Board of Education approved the 2020-2021 academic calendars at its meeting on July 13, 2020. Most CCS students will begin the new school year on Aug. 17, 2020. Students enrolled in CCS early colleges will begin on Aug. 10, 2020.
You may view the updated calendars here: https://www.cabarrus.k12.nc.us/ccs-academic. As a reminder, the district previously announced that Wolf Meadow Elementary School will follow the traditional CCS academic calendar for the 2020-2021 year.
We know preferences vary and no plan will be perfect for everyone, but we have done our best to create options that meet current health requirements while balancing the needs of students, staff and families.
We are in the process of developing a return-to-work resource for staff and will share that with you soon. Employees who are unable to report to work should reach out to their immediate supervisor and follow the normal leave process through the Human Resources department.
In the meantime, please continue to take the necessary precautions to ensure your safety and stay well.
How this will affect extracurriculars (sports, band, etc.) at this point has not been determined. Per the last mandate pushed out by Cabarrus County Schools concerning sports, band, etc., optional workouts/rehearsals are not to start until August 10th, with mandatory practices beginning on September 1st. How this will work in conjunction with the latest move to start school remotely has not been determined.
In the marching band world, lots has happened over the last couple of weeks. As of last week, the North Carolina Bandmasters Association has decided to cancel all state sanctioned marching band events (see attached statement below). While the North Carolina Bandmasters Association does not serve as the organization that sanctions all marching events across the state, this will have a “domino effect” on all competitions that schools typically host throughout the state. There have been some districts in our state that have already canned competitive marching band completely for the year (Lincoln County, Union County). Most of the bands in our own district have cancelled their competitive seasons. Bands of America (BOA), which is the highest level competition in the marching arts across the country, has decided to cancel their season. There have been lots of bands that are perennial top 12 Bands of America Grand National Finalists that have already announced they will not be competing in any venue this year. Lots of states that do have state sanctioned marching band events and championships have cancelled their events for the year.
In the sports world, many areas around the country are shifting or are looking to shift fall sports to different times of the year. With the school reopening announcement and the announcement that the NCHSAA has put out, I feel like that this may very well happen in our state, too. I do not see how it is feasible to have football in the fall with the current guidelines, etc. No announcement of this extent has occurred for North Carolina, but I am anticipating this to be the case.
With this all being said, I have made the difficult decision for the MP Band to not participate in a competitive marching band season this fall. There are too many uncertainties at this point, and with so many avenues of competition already cancelling events and school districts already pulling their groups out of a competition season, it is going to be impossible to have a competitive marching season. At this point, even if we could do it, the cost to the band program to try to hold on to having a competitive season will nearly triple our budget due to transportation costs, PPE needed, etc.
While the MP Band will not participate in a fall competitive season, make no doubt that the MP Band will thrive and evolve its offerings to serve our students and community. We may be disappointed that there won’t be a competitive season this fall, however, the band staff and I are extremely excited to, once again, reinvent the MP Band this fall. Even if a competitive marching band season is off the table, there are still lots of things we can do and I plan to explore all options. My goal is to ensure our kids have the greatest possible experience, even during this time of uncertainty. I see this as a great opportunity to make this program stronger than ever so that when we are able to get back to doing competitive marching band we are a healthier, stronger program. This will give us time to possibly explore avenues that this program has never explored. A time to get creative. The band programs that survive this are the ones that did not wallow in pity and went head first to create solutions. This is going to be hard work (probably the hardest we have ever worked before), but I feel confident with smart planning and programing, we can come out of this strong. I look forward to working with our staff, our student leadership, and our booster board to explore things we can do to make this a great experience for all.
The MP Band program measures success in gaining meaningful student experiences, the pursuit of excellence, the value of hard work, the lessons of teamwork, by empowering students to express themselves through music and the life lessons we learn through band. Competition does create an external sense of motivation, but is never the goal of the MP Band or our activity. All of our goals are still very much attainable this fall.
In the coming days we will begin to share much more detail to the adjustments made to the season and share exciting new opportunities for our students and our parents. These adjustments will include:
- What will the rehearsal schedule look like?
- Marching band fees (refunds, etc.)
- Performance opportunities (football games (?), winterguard, WGI winds / winter percussion (?), community performances, etc.)
- Continued student leadership training
This is a very busy week for myself due to military obligations that I have. If you contact me with questions, etc., please know that I will respond as soon as I can, but a response may not be as quick as you may be accustomed to from me. I want to thank you for all of your continued support. I know for many of you, this is not what you had hoped for. I promise that we will do our very best to ensure you have the best experience possible.
Keith J. Lee
Director of Bands
Mount Pleasant High School
Office Phone: 704.260.6690 ext. 76707
Cell Phone: 704.224.4695
Address: 700 Walker Road, Mount Pleasant, NC 28124-9596
NCBA Marching Band 2020 Announcement