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Coronavirus / COVID-19

Coronavirus / COVID-19 Communications

Please watch this page for updates from HYS.

March 25, 2020

Aloha HYS Ohana,

Thank you for your support of HYS. You have made it possible for HYS to develop youth to their fullest potential through music, and you are the reason we are able to continue during these unprecedented times. I am especially grateful to our staff and faculty for their care and dedication to our students.

Given the Governor’s broad “stay-at-home” mandate to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and in order to protect our students, faculty, families and community, Hawaii Youth Symphony is cancelling all concerts and all in-person programs, rehearsals and activities, at least through May 15, 2020. Additionally, the Boys & Girls Club has indefinitely paused activities by all of its external partners, including HYS. (Please visit the BGCH website for more information about their COVID-19 response.)

  • Music in the Clubhouse (M4K, Band, and Nanakuli Violin) is cancelled
  • Academy Strings (BSE, ISE, SOE, CSO) is cancelled
  • Jazz (Combo I & Combo II) will have alternate programs online
  • Symphony (CO, YSII, YSI) will have alternate programs online
  • All Spring Concerts, Jazz concerts, and the CO Windward Mall concert are cancelled
  • The Aloha Concert Luncheon is cancelled

Having a shared community for friendships, learning and the joy of music is a big part of what HYS is about, and I know that we will continue to connect even while social distancing measures are being taken. We are looking into other distance learning activities for parents, all students, and the community at large, and will share opportunities with you as they emerge.

Students, please continue to make music, both for personal practice and creative enjoyment. To aid you in your learning and discovering, HYS is in the process of developing online and digital content as an alternative for our rehearsals, and we will provide updates on these options for keeping connected very soon.

I also realize this may be a particularly difficult time for our graduating seniors. Please know how proud we are of your inspiring tenacity, talent and accomplishments. Nothing can take away from your own musical journeys and personal growth. HYS will also look at other virtual channels and meaningful ways for us to come together and recognize the incredible Class of 2020. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to let us know.

Reservations that have already been made for the Aloha Concert Luncheon will be refunded. Online transactions will be refunded to the purchaser’s credit card, and those who have paid with a check, a refund check will be sent by mail.  If you have any questions, please email us at

Although the HYS offices are closed during this period, the staff is working remotely and available by email. Our team will do their best to answer questions and continue to provide a high-level of service; we simply ask for your grace and understanding during this time, as responses might take longer.

For those of you whom rent instruments from HYS, we will be in touch with you regarding return dates and procedures. To comply with the Governor’s order, we will delay any instrument returns after the stay-at-home order is lifted. We will also be in touch later with information about this summer and next season.

Finally, I wanted to take this opportunity to publicly thank all of our concert parent volunteers, whom have already given hundreds of hours of their time this season! We would normally recognize them at each program’s season-ending concert, and I’m sorry that we won’t be able to do that. Thank you for your time and dedication.

Music will always unite us and makes us stronger human beings. During this temporary intermission, please follow the recommended precautions, keep safe, and let’s all keep the joy of music thriving!

Mahalo nui loa,

Randy Wong

March 12, 2020

Dear HYS Community –

As mentioned previously, we here at HYS are taking every precaution towards this global pandemic. After rapidly changing circumstances in the news, consultation with the Board of Directors, other youth orchestras, and other health professionals, HYS has made the following decisions:

  • ALL HYS activities from 3/12/20 through 3/31/20 are cancelled.
  • Rehearsals are cancelled through 3/31/20.
  • The CO, YSII, & YSI Concert on April 5th is cancelled.
  • The April 6th YSI Listen & Learn Concerts are cancelled.

We will apprise you as to our plans for the rest of the season.

I know this is heart-wrenching for many students because concerts are what HYS is all about. But, these are precautions that must be taken, and I am hopeful that you will continue to practice and make music while HYS is out of session. May your individual music-making be a healthy, and welcome, distraction while you are staying home.

Thank you for your attention, and please stay safe out there.


Randy Wong
HYS President

March 11, 2020

Dear HYS Students, Household Members, Employees, and Volunteers,

As the COVID-19 situation in Hawaii continues to develop, please be assured that HYS is staying abreast of the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), local reports, and those from around the world. The health, well-being, and safety of our students, staff, faculty, and volunteers is of the utmost importance.

Following up on my communication to you on 3/6/2020, I wanted to touch base about some further precautions and procedures. In addition to what HYS will do as an organization, it is especially important for each of us to individually take responsibility for our own health. Elderly and immune-compromised individuals are most susceptible to “community spread” and infection, and even if you personally don’t have daily contact with them, surely someone you know does.

HYS has published a page on its website which will be updated as needed:


  • If your child, or any household member tests positive for COVID-19, you must immediately notify HYS. Your child will be required to observe a 14-day self-quarantine from HYS and secure medical clearance prior to returning to our programs.
  • Level 3 countries: China, Italy, Korea and Iran – All nonessential travel to these countries should be avoided. Students or household members traveling to a Level 3 country will be required upon their return to self-quarantine for 14 days and be cleared by a physician before returning to HYS.
  • Level 2 country: Japan – All nonessential travel to this country should be avoided. To be safe, for students or household members traveling to a Level 2 country, a 14-day self-quarantine is recommended upon return.
  • Given the fast-changing nature of the COVID-19 epidemic, if you are planning to travel to the U.S. Mainland or to a Level 1 country, please continue to monitor the CDC website as classifications may change. If/when classifications change, HYS will respond accordingly.
  • Household members might wish to reconsider all non-essential travel, particularly to areas of heightened concern, such as the Seattle area of Washington state.

Keeping the HYS Community Safe

In addition to the procedures outlined above:

  • Staff and volunteers will send students home from rehearsal if a student is coughing, sneezing, or exhibiting other symptoms.
  • We will be providing hygiene kits to each orchestra and program. Because supplies are limited, students should also bring their own hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, and cleaning materials.
  • All players should wipe down and clean their instruments after each use. Brass players will be required to bring their own spit containers—newspaper/paper towels are no longer sufficient.
  • We will utilize Remind (text messaging system) for any urgent news or activity cancellations.
  • We will be providing office staff with the ability to work remotely, and have flexible work schedules, should social distancing become necessary.

Thank you for your attention. I hope you will be able to find time to relax over the next few weeks, and know that we can get through this, together!

Randy Wong

HYS President

March 6, 2020

Aloha to our HYS families,

The welfare of our students, volunteers, and employees is always our top priority. Given the recent headlines regarding COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), we wish to assure our HYS Ohana that we are carefully monitoring the situation and tracking key updates from the CDC. As of today, March 6, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hawaii.

Our current HYS classes and concert plans will continue as scheduled at this time, and we will vigilantly evaluate the situation on a daily basis.

The CDC has travel advisories posted for Level 2 (practice enhanced precautions) and Level 3 (avoid non-essential travel) countries. Please adhere to their advisories with regards to upcoming travel, or if you will be coming into contact with persons traveling to those countries. These advisories can be found here:

According to the State Department of Health, the best way to prevent transmission of the coronavirus is to:

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched items and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
    • Stay home when you’re sick!

We encourage everyone to take the recommended precautions.  HYS will additionally be putting these same guidelines into practice with our team and throughout our practice and performance areas.

To further limit the risk of infection, students should not share instruments or accessories (such as bows, mouthpieces, mutes, etc.). Cold and flu virus-laden respiratory droplets may remain infectious for several hours, and viruses generally remain active longer on stainless steel, plastic, wood, and similar hard surfaces than on fabric and other soft surfaces.

The CDC has specific guidelines for personal hygiene, prevention, identifying symptoms,  guidelines, and travel restrictions. These can be found at Today, the CDC also issued a “social distancing” recommendation for people over the age of 60 and/or with pre-existing conditions. We ask that you review these guidelines and adhere to them.

It is always important for individuals to assess and follow what they feel is best for their own particular health needs and those of their family. For more information and to stay current on all COVID-19-related news, the Hawaii Department of Health website is an excellent resource. We will also stay in touch with the HIDOE and CDC and advise you should a change to these procedures become necessary.