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Coronavirus: Get complete details about the university's response to COVID-19.

School of Music

For All Incoming and Returning School of Music Students

Please read our COVID-19 Q&A

We at the School of Music hope you are all safe and healthy, and we look forward to seeing you at the beginning of the Fall 2020 semester. As you may know, the university is taking great care to ensure your safety while on campus and has implemented a number of specific steps including guidelines for indoor classrooms and other aspects of university life.

What you may not know are some of the steps beyond the general university policy that the School of Music is taking to further accommodate the type of teaching we do that is significantly different than the typical classroom learning environment.

Rest assured we are taking COVID-19 very seriously. There is a task force meeting weekly throughout the Summer to determine best practices for the safety of all students, faculty and staff. While there have been relatively few hard decisions made due to the fluidity of the situation, we are currently able to indicate some actions we will take for certain.

A. Large ensembles are likely to be very different this semester (and probably for the year) The large ensemble directors are currently planning how to divide up into smaller chamber groups, among other options, to keep the aerosol production controlled for rehearsals and concerts. Research is currently being conducted that will give a lot more information on aerosol production when playing wind instruments and singing. That information should be available in a few weeks and will give us more information as to whether our current plans will be safe or not.

A. Many of our concerts will happen at the scheduled times and dates, but large ensemble concerts will likely be very different from past years. It is also very possible that our normally busy concert schedule will be substantially reduced, depending on the risk calculations that are ongoing. Additionally, audience size will be limited based on recommended guidelines, and many concerts will be simulcast and live-streamed.

A. We are constructing a large number of 4’x8’ clear, vinyl shields for offices, so that any aerosol production is kept separated from student to teacher, and vice versa. Also, the filters used in our HVAC system are being upgraded to provide more efficient removal of potentially harmful particles. Some faculty are considering face shields for lessons.

A. Some ensembles are purchasing face shields that can be modified to wear while playing or singing to further protect each other, while still allowing for adequate breathing to sing or play a wind instrument.

 A.  We are looking at all of our larger spaces (we have 27 larger rooms that will be available at times) to use instead of private offices for faculty and students who wish more separation than is possible in their office. This would allow 8-10’ or more of space between teacher and student, and coupled with face shields, where desired, should allow for all of us to be and feel protected.  For those who are still worried about aerosol contamination, there will be accommodations to provide online lessons.
A.  We are installing cleaning supplies in the practice room area, and will attempt to limit the number of people who use each practice room. If we can limit how many different people use the same room, it will help.  We will also likely have scheduled “down time” to allow all the aerosols to settle. It will likely be on the order of 30 minutes every few hours, when nobody will be allowed in that area. This will cause some inconvenience but is necessary for the safety of everyone. We are also looking at how to best clean the pianos, etc.

All classrooms in the building have been reconfigured to allow for 6’ spacing while in a class. Some of our academic classes have moved to online formats to facilitate this, which gives us a lot more classroom space for the individual lessons and chamber music rehearsals.

 We are looking into configuring practice rooms in pairs electronically for video and audio, so that you could rehearse live with a pianist, while occupying separate practice rooms. There would be no issues with regard to aerosol production, because there will only be one person in each space or room.
We are assembling a Student Advisory Council to make sure student concerns are addressed efficiently and in a timely manner.

Sincerely,
Tayloe Harding, Dean
Clifford Leaman, Associate Dean
Tina Stallard, Associate Dean
Jacob Will, Associate Dean


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