March 17, 2020
I am writing at this time with important updates about the remainder of the semester. As you know from reading the news, additional information about the COVID-19 pandemic is coming in at a rapid pace, and our medical professionals at the University of Rochester are reacting as quickly as possible to ensure the safety of our community. You received a message last night from Provost Clark, extending our Spring Break until Monday, March 23 to give additional time for planning and transition.
Given the increasing number of coronavirus cases globally as well as locally, the university is taking additional steps to maximize social distancing and de-densify our buildings as quickly and efficiently as possible to prevent the spread of the virus. In response, Eastman is implementing several revised policies around access to our facilities, degree-required recitals, and student employment.
Access to the Eastman Campus
Effective on Monday, March 23 access to the Eastman School of Music, including the Annex practice rooms and the Sibley Music Library, will be restricted to essential personnel. This restricted access will be available to all faculty and staff, and to a small number of students who receive formal approval. Swipe card access will be enabled for all entries for faculty and staff members, but limited to Gibbs Street for approved students.
Our expectation is for all students to leave by March 22 and stay home for the remainder of the semester, including students who are currently living off-campus. The only students who will be granted access to the facilities are those who meet one of the following criteria:
- International students who are experiencing either:
- Immigration, travel, and/or visa restrictions; or
- Have a home country currently designated at Warning Levels 2 & 3 and USDOS Levels 3 & 4 for COVID-19.
- Any student who faces housing insecurity at their permanent home address (homelessness or a precarious living situation)
- Students who have already received permission to remain in the Student Living Center for the duration of the semester.
Students must submit a request to obtain permission to access the facilities after March 22. To request permission, complete this online petition.
All students are strongly urged to return to their permanent home address. As has already been communicated, all instruction (including private lessons) will occur online, even for students in Rochester. The only students who will have access to Eastman’s practice rooms will be those who meet the criteria listed above. All other students should use the rest of this week to empty their lockers and clear out their assigned practice room. Information about locker checkout and key return will be sent out very soon.
Degree-Required Recitals and MM/DMA Oral Exams
With access to the building significantly restricted, we have made the decision to cancel all remaining degree recitals for the remainder of the semester. Due to the emergency situation created by the coronavirus pandemic, the degree recital requirement will be waived for all students planning to graduate in May 2020 or August 2020. All other students will have their degree recitals rescheduled for the 2020-2021 academic year.
Given the close association of MM orals to degree recitals, all MM oral exams for graduating students will also be waived. DMA oral exams will continue as scheduled, now in a completely online format.
We recognize that this news will be extremely disheartening for our graduating students who have been looking forward for years to performing their final recital at Eastman. While it is likely of little consolation, please know that the entire administration and faculty share in this disappointment. We will seek ways to help celebrate and support our graduating students and will share more information as we are able to do so.
Student employment should not be a factor in the decision to return home. Until further notice, student positions at ESM are suspended, with very limited exceptions for positions deemed critical to virtual instruction (you will be notified separately by your supervisor if you fall into this category). Information will be forthcoming to actively working Federal Work Study students and their supervisors regarding the semesters remaining balance of their available earnings. Please contact Eastman Human Resources if you have questions or concerns regarding your position.
My friends, our top priorities during these challenging times continue to be 1) the health and safety of our community, 2) offering the best possible teaching we can in an online environment, and 3) ensuring that our graduating students complete their degrees without delay. It is regrettable that so many important events such as the upcoming degree recitals cannot occur. However, please keep this in the perspective of trying to keep ourselves and our friends free from this very dangerous coronavirus. As ever, please accept my sincere appreciation for your understanding.
With best wishes that you stay safe and healthy,