UPDATE: Greenbrier East High School Band Director reacts to WVSSAC, Gov. Justice’s announcement

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LEWISBURG, WV (WVNS) — 8/25/2020 9 p.m. UPDATE: Sports fans won’t be missing the literal sound of music this year.

On Monday, August 24, 2020, the WVSSAC announced marching bands will not be allowed to perform during halftime shows. This announcement was rescinded by Governor Jim Justice, but things will still look different.

Jim Allder is the band director at Greenbrier East High School.

“Instead of seeing the usual marching band style we usually do, what you’re going to see more is a block band set up with possibly some dance breaks in the middle of it,” Jim Allder said. “We’re trying to do some fun and innovative things.”

Allder said they were taking extra precautions with their safety even before any decision on marching bands was made.

“We have all of our players have masks they can wear while they use their instruments,” Allder said. “It keeps extra aerosols from coming out of the side. We also have belt covers and instrument covers for the woodwind instruments, saxophones, clarinets, etc.”

Guidelines released by the WVSSAC on Tuesday included separate seating areas for band members, parents, and family members not in the bleachers; and that band members and their families must enter and exit facilities separately from athletes and their families.

Another requirement stated “only the percussion section be permitted to play during the game.”

CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — 8/25/2020 2:55 p.m. ORIGINAL STORY: Gov. Jim Justice announced on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020 that high school marching bands will be allowed to perform at football games. This comes one day after an announcement from the WVSSAC stating bands would not perform at extracurricular activities.

“This decision was made without my input,” stated Gov. Justice in a release.

The Governor instructed medical experts to work with the WVSSAC and the Department of Education. They were told to find a safe way for marching bands to perform.

“Our medical experts evaluated guidelines from the National Federation of High School Sports, and the West Virginia Bandmasters Association and put a plan together that keeps our band members socially distanced and as safe as possible, while allowing them to perform in the stadium on game days and allowing their families to watch their performances,” said Gov. Justice.

New marching band guidelines from the WVSSAC are expected to be released on Tuesday afternoon.

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