Sing Ireland says it’s safe to sing in schools again

Sing Ireland, the Irish choral association, has called for the return of group singing in Irish schools following comments from the Irish Prime Minister.

Announcing the relaxation of Covid rules on 21 January the Taoiseach, Micheál Martin T.D. said, ‘We need to sing again’, acknowledging group singing’s loss to society during the pandemic and its importance to leading a fulfilled life.

Sing Ireland welcomed the announcement, stating, ‘We look forward with great anticipation to the certain reopening of the group singing sector across Ireland in the coming months. Whilst we have repeatedly seen an opening up and closing of Irish society in the past two years, this easing of restrictions sits against a backdrop of a highly vaccinated population and a variant that is showing a milder effect upon public health.’

Sing Ireland was established as the Association of Irish Choirs in 1980 to lead, enable and connect communities of singers. Now based at the University of Limerick, Sing Ireland argues that the continuing ban on group singing in schools may be causing more damage than it is avoiding.

In a statement, it says, ‘Sing Ireland advises that the previously necessary restrictions on singing, given low vaccination rates in society and a previous paucity of data on the way that singing spread the Covid-19 virus, are now unnecessary and should be reversed.

‘Singing in the school environment is a fundamental element of social and educational development and its loss during the pandemic has been challenging for staff and students alike. In schools, right across the world, we are seeing a consistent return to singing. We are recommending that schools in Ireland follow suit and look to ways that they can safely sing together this academic year.’

Although it agrees that schools should follow current regulations, it suggests, ‘Group singing is an essential aspect of musical learning and a vital contributor to the social development, health and well-being growth of young people’.