If you are a band director and ARE NOT aware of ESSER funding, please see this fantastic webinar with time code references from Be Part of the Music.
If you ARE already aware of what ESSER funding is, you know what a gamechanger it could be for your program. The time to ask for whatever you need to safely and effectively teach music and rehearse your bands is NOW. For review, here is a handful of questions to ask yourself to determine whether something is eligible for ESSER funding.
1. Will the purchase “prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus?”
2. Is it reasonable and necessary?
3. Does it promote equity?
4. Does it support returning students to the classroom?
If you’re answering yes to any of these, the purchase is eligible. Here are some Vandoren items to consider including in your admin proposal.
The days of sharing reeds for instrument recruitment trials are over! Any equipment students need to prevent sharing is considered an eligible use of ESSER funding, including reeds! Be sure to include extra reeds on your ESSER proposal so that you can conduct trials in a hygienic and safe way.
In addition to making sure students aren’t sharing reeds, purchases made to promote equity may also be considered eligible for ESSER III funding. So, if you supply reeds at no cost to ensure students are able to participate in band, consider asking your admin whether those purchases may qualify.
Don’t forget about the mouthpiece! If you have students sharing instruments, most likely they’re also sharing mouthpieces. Sanitizing spray is not enough anymore. As mentioned above, purchases made to avoid students sharing equipment are qualified uses of ESSER funding. Time to start that mouthpiece wish list!
One more time! Shared equipment is now a no-no. If you’re buying new mouthpieces, you also need new ligatures! These are also eligible for purchases using ESSER funding.
Swabs, Reed Cases, and Other Accessories
Yes, your school has many needs to address, but this is NOT the time to be shy. Your students and your programs depend on your ability to ask for what you need to resume normal activities as safely as possible. Take stock of the items your woodwind students typically share and include them in your proposal. You might be shocked (or horrified) by what you discover.
Teaching band safely in a post-covid world is not cheap or easy. Chances are your school is getting, and already spending, ESSER money today. Make sure your voice is heard sooner rather than later, and make sure you’re thinking of your woodwinds along the way!