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Volunteers sew bell covers for band students to stop the spread of COVID-19

Band students at LPS will now need to have a bell cover for their instruments, so volunteers are helping sew them.
Band students at LPS will now need to have a bell cover for their instruments, so volunteers are helping sew them.(KOLN)
Published: Aug. 7, 2020 at 9:18 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Lincoln Public Schools students will be back in classrooms Wednesday, Aug. 12. Many will also be back in extra curricular activities, like band and choir.

The music department is helping keep kids safe from COVID-19 with a little creativity.

LPS said a recent study shows COVID-19 spreads easily through particles in the air, and since band instruments, especially woodwinds and brass make music by pushing air through them, the district’s solution is stopping those particles from leaving the instrument.

“We’ve never used anything like this before,” said LPS Supervisor of Music, Dr. Lance Nielsen. “These bell covers are really like a mask for your instrument.”

Christy Young has three daughters who attend LPS schools, two are in band.

“Gabriella, my 11-year-old, is going into seventh grade and she plays the tuba,” Young said. “And her sister Eva plays the trumpet.”

They’re just two of many kids eager to pick up their instruments again.

“Between estimating the kids who will be starting in fifth grade up to the seniors, we probably have thousands of kids,” Nielsen said.

Thousands of kids means thousands of instruments, all spreading music and a lot of particles through the air. Cloth bell covers are the district’s solution to stop the spread.

“A light bulb went off, like ‘Wow, what a great idea,’ because I was wondering how that was going to work, because obviously they can’t wear their masks,” Young said.

Now, Young is hard at work sewing as many bell covers as she can.

The covers are either circular or square pieces of fabric sewn together, that can be attached to the bell of an instrument either by rubber band or drawstring.

“I have very limited sewing ability, but these are actually pretty easy compared to the mask that I’ve been making,” Young said.

LPS said every instrument, with the exception of percussion, will need a bell cover.

“From flute to clarinet, up to trombone and even tuba with those bigger bells,” Nielsen said.

Nielsen said students should plan on taking the bell covers home weekly to wash them and reuse them again the next week.

Young said her goal is to sew 20 to 30 bell covers this weekend, along with masks for teachers and students.

Nielsen said the district still needs several bell covers made. You can find a pattern here.

Copyright 2020 KOLN. All rights reserved.

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