ECMS COVID-19 Updated 8.26.21

August 25, 2021

Dear Students and Families,

With the recent decision by the University to reinstate the face-masking requirement for all individuals regardless of vaccination status, we are also going to update our music-making protocols as we start the new academic year.  These new protocols go into effect immediately and will be in place until further notice.
For information about the general face-masking requirement, please see the most recent announcement from the University here. These rules apply to students, employees, and visitors in all our classrooms, and other public spaces on campus.  It is important to note that this revised policy differs from policies in place during the last academic year in that physical distancing is not currently part of the requirement.  As part of the new mandate, the following rules will apply to music-making at the Eastman Community Music School:
Physical Distancing

  • There is no physical distancing requirement for musicians who play a non-aerosol producing instrument (strings, percussion, and keyboard instruments), regardless of vaccination status.
  • There is no physical distancing requirement for vaccinated musicians who play an aerosol-producing instrument (brass, woodwinds, and voice).
  • Students participating in ensembles that would normally have a majority of players age 12 and up must be vaccinated in order to participate.
  • Unvaccinated musicians who play an aerosol-producing instrument in mixed-age ensembles (12 and younger) must be distanced at least 6’ from others at all times.


  • All members of an ensemble or chamber music group must wear a mask and, if appropriate, a bell cover.  Musicians who play a wind instrument will be expected to cut a small slit in their mask to allow for their mouthpiece, but this slit must be modest so that the majority of the mask is left intact.  The sides of the mouth and chin must remain covered by the mask at all times.
  • The conductor/coach of an ensemble may be unmasked when leading rehearsals as long as they remain 6’ away from all members of the ensemble.  If the layout of the room prevents the conductor/coach from maintaining appropriate distance then a mask must be worn.  We will not be able to accommodate requests for a new room assignment solely to meet this requirement.
  • For performances and dress rehearsals ONLY, a musician may be unmasked in the following situations:
    • The musician is performing alone on stage,
    • The musician is performing on stage with a pianist (the pianist must be masked and the soloist must be at least 6’ away), or
    • The musician is a soloist with an ensemble (the ensemble members must be masked and the soloist must be at least 6’ away).

Private Lessons

  • In an applied lesson, a vaccinated teacher may remove their mask as long as 6’ of distance can be maintained from the student(s) in the room.  Students must leave their mask in place at all times.

Proof of vaccination verification

  • All students must be registered in order to start with lessons, classes, or ensembles.
  • Students need to bring vaccination card for verification to the ECMS office before your first rehearsal or lesson. 
  • Students who show proof of vaccination will receive a sticker for their ID.
  • New Horizons members can bring their vaccination card to the first rehearsal for verification.
  • Accepted proof includes NYS Excelsior Pass or CDC card (hard copy or photo.)

There are no other restrictions on music-making at this time. As we have done since the start of the pandemic, our guidelines will continue to be informed by and subject to change based on information from the University’s medical experts, the current state of COVID-19 on campus, any additional state and federal guidelines, as well as the commitment to the University community’s health and safety.
Thank you again for your continued flexibility as we work to successfully launch the 2021-2022 academic year.  As always, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out to one of us.
Dr. Kodzas & The ECMS Staff