OCPS addresses football concerns
Posted on 08/28/2020
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OCPS addresses varsity football and extracurricular activity concerns

Parents have expressed concerns regarding the Superintendent’s decision to limit participation and attendance at varsity football games this year due to COVID-19. The district is following the schedule provided by the Florida High School Athletic Association.
Additional determinations were made in the interest of student safety while not hindering opportunities for athletes to receive college scholarships. It is important to note that competitive cheerleading is a winter sport. As explained in the Q&A below, band students achieve scholarships through other means and have not been preparing for halftime shows this year. The superintendent and staff also considered recommendations from the Medical Advisory Committee regarding cohort grouping of football players for maximum safety of the entire school. Half of the football players districtwide are already learning on [email protected]

Due to the current limitations being placed on attendance, several opportunities are being developed at high schools to promote school spirit and allow participation by bands, cheerleaders, dance teams, JROTC, etc. Thanks to principals, board members, band directors and others for developing creative solutions. Alternative opportunities at various schools will include:
•  Any pep rallies will be virtual and recorded in the stadium prior to each football game. Bands, cheerleaders, JROTC color guard and dance will perform in the stadium with a limited number of spectators/parents in the stands. The pep rally will be videotaped and broadcast to the student body on game day and enjoyed by face-to-face and LaunchEd students.
•  Band performances will be recorded and played over the loudspeakers during the game.
•  Video recordings of student performances will be shown on scoreboards during selected games.
Student leadership teams are engaged to help create other ways to showcase student talent and promote school spirit. COVID-19 data will be constantly monitored to inform any decision regarding adjustments to health and safety plans.

In response to some common questions about band, the OCPS performing arts director provided the following answers:
Did the band directors vote on this or make this decision?
Back in July, the band directors convened to discuss the 2020-21 marching band season and what it could look like during the COVID-19 pandemic. At that time due to the restrictions presented by the CDC and other related studies, they agreed that the best course of action would be to forgo putting together the traditionally large choreographed field productions that our programs are so well known for and parents enjoy watching each year. This also reflected a decision by the Florida School Music Association to cancel the 2020 Marching Band Assessments. In addition, the Bands of America Marching Band Championships have also been canceled for 2020. The marching band directors elected to shift gears and work towards providing musical entertainment for the games as an opportunity for their students to play in an ensemble from the stands in a pep band format. The Chief of High Schools will periodically evaluate health conditions and make recommendations for any changes to the current plan for student participation. 
Will students miss out on opportunities for scholarships if they are not allowed to have marching band?
OCPS Music students earn thousands of dollars in scholarships each year due to their hard work and excellent instruction by our music educators. The majority of those scholarships are earned because of the high level of proficiency demonstrated on their instrument based on an audition. To my knowledge, there are no scholarships that directly result from a student being recognized for their accomplishments in marching band. Marching band is a component of a more comprehensive music education that focuses on music literacy, foundational skill-building and independent musicianship.   
Is band canceled?
No, band is not canceled. OCPS Students continue to participate in band courses during the academic school day. High School band students are working towards proficiency under the guidance and instruction of our certified music educators on a daily basis. Marching band is one component of a comprehensive music education that includes many genres and musical styles. Marching band is an important element of our high school band programs and will continue to be included as part of the band curriculum as conditions allow.       
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