Acalanes High School choir students slowly return to campus amid pandemic: 'Good to come back and hear music'

"It was exciting."

ByMatt Boone KGO logo
Saturday, October 31, 2020
East Bay high school choir students return to campus amid pandemic
Acalanes High School in the East Bay is starting to slowly welcome students back to campus, and Friday was the first day a group of choir students were able to sing together.

LAFAYETTE, Calif. (KGO) -- One high school in Lafayette is starting to slowly welcome students back to campus, and Friday was the first day a group of choir students were able to sing together as COVID-19 cases spike in other parts of the country.

Even with masks on and plenty of social distance, it's the closest a group of choir students have been in-person in months.

"Up until Wednesday, I hadn't heard my singers sing in person and they hadn't heard each other," said Bruce Lengacher, choir director at Acalanes High School.

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For Katie Bettencourt, a senior at Acalanes High School, she says, "It was exciting, it was especially good to come back and hear music."

"We went into a "phase-in" model towards reopening in a full hybrid," said Aida Glimme, Acalanes district associate superintendent, who says it's not a full reopening, but it's a start.

She says they have learned from other high schools that have opened too early and says they are closely eyeing the surge in cases in other parts of the country.

"Safety and health has to be priority. We are looking at those numbers, really concerning to see what is happening," Glimme says.

Contra Costa County COVID-19 numbers still look good. In Alameda County, more schools are planning some type of reopening next week as well.

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Acalanes high says they don't plan on bringing all students back until January.

Lengacher says even as they increase the number of students on campus, he thinks they can make singing safe.

"With masks on with social distance outside, we can sing for about 30 minutes, then we need to clear the area and come back," he said.

Students are eager to let the music play, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It's a worry, definitely a worry, but I'd say the risk is worth it for me personally," said Bettencourt.

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