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Community updates: Thursday, Aug. 19

Kent District Library launching streaming platform for local musicians; Grand Rapids Public Schools requiring face coverings for all students, staff.
Kent District Library's Service and Meeting Center in Comstock Park.

Kent District Library's Service and Meeting Center in Comstock Park. /Brett Townsend

Kent District Library launching streaming platform for local musicians

Kent District Library (KDL) has announced it will be launching a new streaming platform featuring West Michigan musicians, set for later this year.

Called KDL Vibes, the platform’s online collection will share and showcase local music for free to the public. It will also support local musicians through payments to those selected to be featured.

Submissions are now being accepted for the platform, with interested musicians being able to do so at According to KDL, musicians are invited to submit a sample track from their album using its online form. After submitting, a jury of music community leaders and library staff with music backgrounds will review and select 40-50 albums per submission round.

“The Vibes platform is a great way to celebrate our local music scene,” said Stacy Schuster, KDL’s Collection Development Librarian. “Musicians will have the opportunity to share their songs and music lovers will have access to the amazing talents of musicians in the West Michigan area.”

In addition to anyone being able to stream the albums during their one-year run on the platform, KDL cardholders can download and keep anything in the Vibes collection.

The collection criteria for KDL Vibes is designed to be broad and inclusive, according to its site, with the aim of “reflecting the diversity and abundance of the Kent County music scene.” There will be two submission periods per year.

A full list of curators for KDL Vibes is available on its website. A FAQ page is also available, providing answers to questions around the submission process, streaming features, and more.


Grand Rapids Public Schools requiring face coverings for all students, staff

Face coverings are now required at all Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS), effective since Tuesday. The district’s mandate applies to all students, staff, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status.

Changing course from its announcement two weeks ago of a “recommendation” only, GRPS’ latest decision is based on new guidance from the Kent County Health Department (KCHD). On Aug. 13, the KCHD issued its “highest recommendation possible” for face covering use in the classroom based on increased frequency of the Delta variant in positive COVID tests in Kent County.

An exception to GRPS’ new face covering mandate is students and staff with medical conditions that impede their ability to wear them.

GRPS will revisit its face covering mandate on or before Sept. 20, GRPS Superintendent Leadriane Roby said in a Monday statement. The first day of school for GRPS students is Aug. 24.

We will continue to work closely with our county health officials throughout this time and monitor the data to determine if [revisiting the mandate] will be extended further,” the superintendent noted.

Kent Intermediate School District, for its part, has not issued a face covering mandate. As of its own Monday statement, face coverings are “strongly encouraged” for all staff, students, and visitors within its buildings.


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