Metro music store taking extra steps to help schools get COVID-free instruments

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As some students are returning to school, one of the most challenging classes for educators to figure out how to do safely in the pandemic is band. 

Whether it’s for in-person classes or virtual education, parents are still at Kansas City-area music stores like B.A.C. Music Center renting instruments for students. 

“We constantly monitor what’s going on with the school districts, seeing what’s going to happen when band programs are going to start,” said Charles Pridgen, B.A.C. Music Center’s director of operations support.

Hoping band continues to be part of the curriculum, the National Association for Music Education released guidelines for in-person practices, including bell covers and masks with slits for blowing. But the guidance didn’t really address the fact most instruments are rented and often need repair.

At B.A.C.’s Kansas City warehouse, they’ve repaired 1,700 instruments so far this summer and processed countless new rentals through the nationwide website RentMyInstrument.com.

Hoping to keep music programs running after they begin, they’re taking extra steps to make sure any instruments are disinfected before they get to students. 

“The virus and microorganisms live on surfaces that’s called biofilm. So we’ve been looking for a way on what can we do to reduce the biofilm on musical instruments,” Pridgen said.

Instruments and cases are sprayed inside and out with Danolyte, a multi-purpose disinfectant produced in Lenexa. Then the instruments and the mouthpieces are bagged and vacuum sealed.

From there the instruments go into a room with a hospital-grade UVC germicidal machine. Ten minutes later, the process the company says has been clinically tested is complete, and the instrument is ready to be shipped off.

“This gives confidence that you can social distance yourself and get a musical instrument that is disinfected clean — 99.3% removal of the biofilm and 100% COVID-free,” Pridgen said.

B.A.C. Music said it plans to continue the process after the pandemic and is also working on creating disinfectant bell covers. 

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