March 12, 2020
The following was distributed to the Yale-New Haven Regular Singing mailing list:
Dear friends of the Yale-New Haven Regular Singing,
Like many universities around the country faced with the prospect of large numbers of students dispersing around the world for spring break in the midst of an epidemic, Yale is taking extreme measures to ensure that its campus in New Haven does not become an epicenter of Covid-19. The university has asked its students to remain home after spring break until at least April 5, and has left open the possibility of extending this deadline further. Many other measures are being taken to ensure the physical safety of the extended Yale community (including us singers), most of which involve moving the university’s operations into virtual spaces.
Music presents a special problem, since it tends to bring people into close contact with each other, which is especially hazardous in the case of singers and wind/brass instruments. There is a significant risk of aerosolized respiratory fluids being exchanged in the air and deposited on hard surfaces where they can linger for up to a week. Yale has therefore decided as a matter of policy that musical gatherings of more than two people, whether for performance or rehearsal, should not take place on campus until at least April 15.
Yale’s buildings will be disinfected over the coming weekend, and after that time, I’m afraid, we won’t be able to sing in Stoeckel until the situation is better understood. I realize this is very unhappy news, and it pains me as a member of this community to deliver it, because our weekly gatherings are an important source of spiritual sustenance to me, and it seems we are entering a time when we will need more of that, not less.
Let’s see what we all can do to keep our fellowship alive between now and the return to normalcy: check in on each other, be kind to each other, support each other. We have a lot of practice in this, of course, and we will “antedate the day,” hopefully soon, when we can return to our weekly singing practice in Stoeckel.
I will write with more news as it develops; we at Yale are promised an update on plans for the rest of the semester by April 5, understanding that we are all watching and waiting to see what happens with Covid-19 over the next weeks.
No decision has yet been made about our All-Day Singing on April 19, but we resolved at this week’s singing to make that call no later than April 7.
Wishing you all as much peace and joy as you can muster.