Guidance is provided within this document for each of the arts education disciplines typically found in Ohio schools. The recommendations have been provided by the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education and Ohio’s statewide professional arts education associations for each discipline in consultation with their national organizations and thoughtful consideration of (CDC, Ohio Department of Health, and others) health and safety recommendations. These recommendations are designed to help administrators, educators, parents, and students discern how to create a balanced Arts Education program that weighs both safety and health along with best practices in creation, performance, and/or production in a classroom, rehearsal, or performance setting.

We have borrowed substantially from the document Pandemic Recovery Considerations: Re-Entry and Reopening of Schools created by Missouri School Boards’ Association’s Center for Education Safety whose arts discipline guidance was assembled by a similar coalition of professional arts education organizations in Missouri and the North Carolina Arts Education Leadership Coalition (AELC): Arts North Carolina, North Carolina Arts Education Association, North Carolina Dance Education Organization, North Carolina Music Educators Association, North Carolina Theatre Arts Educators, and the North Carolina Theatre Conference. Ohio’s arts education community thanks our colleagues for their professional courtesy and generosity.


On May 19, 2020, the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education, OhioDance, Ohio Music Education Association, Ohio Art Education Association, and Ohio Thespians/Ohio Educational Theatre Association adopted and released a unified statement entitled – Sustained Relevance for Arts Education: A Shared Vision (for arts education): Acknowledging the public health and economic realities of the current global pandemic and safety recommendations from health officials, the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education (OAAE) is joined by thousands of statewide members to present core beliefs for sustained arts education. Together with arts education professional associations, colleges and universities, K-12 schools, non-profits, arts educators, administrators, parents, and students, OAAE presents a shared vision for future planning:

  1. All PK-12 students must continue to have access to a sequential, standards-based arts
    education taught by certified/licensed arts educators as an essential part of all curricular
    formats, including in-person learning, blended learning, and online learning.
  2. Arts education addresses key components of social-emotional learning, allowing students
    to process complex emotions in these uncertain times.
  3. Arts educators are committed to collaboration with state and local leaders to find creative
    and safe ways to continue learning in and through the arts in all areas of Ohio.
    We must do what is best for the well-being of the whole child, which includes physical health
    and mental health, so that equal access to equitable learning opportunities can continue
    regardless of location, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status.

We know that the arts are a relevant, key component of every child’s education and are as important as ever in our new, evolving reality. On May 27, 2020, fifty-three national arts and education organizations across the United States joined together in a statement to Support Arts Education as Essential for Students during the COVID-19 Pandemic. We stand with our national leadership to support the Arts Education Is Essential unified statement as applicable for Ohio schools. It is imperative that schools continue to offer Dance, Music, Drama/Theatre, and Visual Art education in Fall 2020 as stated by the three principles outlined in the Arts Education Is
Essential unified statement:

• Arts education supports the social and emotional (SEL) well-being of students, whether
through distance learning or in person.
• Arts education nurtures the creation of a welcoming school environment where
students can express themselves in a safe and positive way.
• Arts education is part of a well-rounded education for all students as understood and
supported by federal and state policymakers.

As is true of the rest of this document, when new information becomes available these recommendations should be revised, added to, or eliminated. We encourage strict adherence to laws, restrictions and guidance issued by public health officials or governments at the federal, state, and local level. We also strongly encourage educators and administrators to do additional research through other resources, to determine the best methods that reduce risk to provide a safe and healthy educational environment for everyone. When in doubt, seek the advice of legal counsel, local/state/national health directors, and/or insurance providers.

Organizations that have contributed to this document are:
Arts Education Is Essential
Pandemic Recovery Considerations: Re-Entry and Reopening of Schools created by Missouri School Boards’
Association’s Center for Education Safety
Ohio’s Sustained Relevance for Arts Education
Recommendations for Arts Education as North Carolina Reopens Schools

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