Remainder of Semester

Message from the Dean

March 17, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

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 resumption of classes, “essential employees,” access to our facilities, and degree-required recitals.

Resuming Classes

As per Provost Clark’s email message last night, he indicated that the University will extend spring break by one week, and resume “spring semester classes for AS&E, Eastman, and some other schools on Monday, March 23.”  Later in his message, he indicated, “Graduate classes at Simon, and classes that are already in progress online at other schools, for example, Warner, are not affected and are proceeding as originally scheduled.”

Faculty members who have already started or were prepared to offer online lessons this week, may continue to do so, assuming you have a definitive answer that your students will be willing and available to do so.  Otherwise, all classes will officially start on Monday, March 23 and you should utilize this additional time to take advantage of the assistance offered from T&MP/ IML and other resources, to aid in your online learning transition.

Essential Employees

It goes without saying that everyone’s work is critical to fulfilling the mission of Eastman.  However, effective this Thursday, March 19, the Eastman School of Music will be staffed only by those individuals who must work on site in order to maintain the operation of the school in the current environment.  All other staff members are directed to conduct your work remotely.  Please complete the following forms, have them approved by your manager, and filed with ESM Human Resources.  Additional information will be forthcoming from Human Resources within the next 24 hours.

Access to the Eastman Campus

Effective on Monday, March 23 access to all Eastman facilities will be restricted to essential personnel.  Additionally, 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.

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.   As I wrote to the students, “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.”

Message to Students

In the student updates page, please find a message that was just sent to our students.  In it you will see the criteria that will be applied to approve students to access Eastman facilities.  Students who do not meet the criteria are being strongly urged to return to their permanent home addresses.

As I summarized in my message to the students, 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.  Please know how deeply and sincerely I appreciate your understanding of the challenges we face, your patience as we deal with constantly-changing directives, and everything you are doing in support of our students and each other.

With best wishes to you all,