November 20, 2020

On Tuesday of this week, WYSO made the decision to return to virtual programming for all members.

The decision was approved at the November Board of Directors Meeting just ahead of announcements by Governor Tony Evers and Public Health Madison and Dane County to limit the size of gatherings. While PHMDC Public Health Order #10 did not change the guidelines for “Youth Settings,” under which WYSO’s small cohort program featuring groups of 15 or fewer, masked, socially-distanced students was designed, in the interest of safety for all members, WYSO decided to pause in-person programming until the weekend of January 9th and 10th, hoping for a better health situation by that time.

Music Director Kyle Knox wrote to members and families, “In light of recent developments with the COVID-19 virus, Executive Director Bridget Fraser and I have decided to pause our in-person services until after the holiday season.  Naturally the next six weeks are a time when people will want to be together with family and friends. Such gatherings increase the possibility of community transmission, as case numbers continue to rise across the nation. For these reasons, and in response to the recent health recommendation from Governor Evers, we believe that now is the right time for this pause.”

In the email, Mr. Knox continued, “A tremendous amount of work has gone into making our in-person programming as safe as possible . . . Nothing was guaranteed when we developed the plan in August, and nothing is guaranteed moving forward. But we take tremendous pride in the fact that over the past 11 weeks, WYSO has provided roughly 350 students (93% of our membership) with weekly in-person services with zero reported incidents of COVID-19.”

The WYSO Team loved hearing the many supportive comments from WYSO families regarding the decision and you can see a few of the comments in the box below.

Thank you to Mr. Knox and all the administration and board at WYSO for handling the pandemic with grace and good planning. Our family is so happy to be part of WYSO, and we look forward to being involved in-person again once it is safe to do so. 

Thank you for this update.  I appreciate how thoughtful everyone has been each step of navigating this situation.  Stay well, everyone.  We’ll hope to see you in the New Year. 

Thank you all– I appreciate that WYSO is keeping a close eye on the safety of our community, and I absolutely agree with this decision, I sincerely appreciate the close attention the artistic and administrative team have kept on the public health developments this fall.  While I felt comfortable with the small groups and indoor masking 4 weeks ago, the infection rates now are really alarming.  I think WYSO has made the right decision. 

My son has truly enjoyed the in-person rehearsals this fall and he’s looking forward to coming back in the new year.  Wishing everyone at WYSO a safe holiday. 

You guys are doing great things in hard times.

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