Elementary music education is virtual, mobile due to COVID-19

Nicole Aimone, Editor-in-Chief

Photo via River Valley Elementary School Facebook

For just over a school year and a half, the River Valley School District has been faced with finding ways to provide education through virtual or socially distanced measures. The elementary music program has been no exception to that.

Since returning to in-person learning in the Fall, River Valley School District Elementary music teacher Nick Ehlinger has spent days rotating between up to 10 different classrooms per day, pushing with him a hand-curated music cart with a various musical instruments and different it items to keep young minds involved in the arts.

In a normal year, students would leave their classrooms to visit the music room, but because of COVID-19, they are required to stay within their own class, even for lunch. Ehlinger said this has changed how and what he teaches.

“We’re not allowed to use instruments, which kind of cuts back on a lot of things I like to do,” said Ehlinger. “Singing, which is usually a really big part of my program, we still do but I don’t really encourage them to sing out, because in general vocalizing isn’t really encouraged in this time.”

Ehlinger said keeping children engaged in music through virtual learning and when they are in the same classroom all day has been a struggle.

Despite the struggles he, the department and the district has faced, Ehlinger said he believes in the districts efforts to provide an education to it’s students. “Everything but the students themselves have been different this year,” said Ehlinger. “Our schools have given our 100% dedication to being here for students and families in person.”

Ehlinger himself has received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccines, and believes diligently in following masking and social distancing.