Important Change in Spring Semester Planning – Eastman Specific Information

January 7, 2022

Dear Colleagues,

As you know from messages sent the past two evenings from President Mangelsdorf and Interim Provost Peyre, the University of Rochester will begin the first three weeks of the spring semester completely online [January 5 message, January 6 message]. Last night’s announcement represented a sudden change from what had been communicated earlier in the week, but, as we’ve done throughout the pandemic, we are following the guidance of our medical professionals at the University and the Monroe County Commissioner for Public Health when it comes to making pandemic-related decisions.  Given the rapid increase of COVID cases in our area, along with concerns about managing the expected quarantine and isolation needs of our community, their recommendation was to quickly pivot to online instruction. 

While none of us would choose to be in this situation, we have been here before, and I am extremely confident in our ability to successfully handle this latest challenge. 

I am very grateful to the members of the Eastman COVID Management Team for working through many logistical issues throughout the pandemic, but in particular, over the last 24 hours.  It is our hope that the following Eastman-specific information will provide guidance and assistance as we prepare for this sudden transition to being online. In addition, we have scheduled a Special Staff and Faculty Meeting for tomorrow (Friday), January 7 from 1:00-2:00 PM.  (Zoom link: to answer your questions.

Spring Semester Teaching
Classes will begin at Eastman as scheduled on Monday, January 10, but we will be entirely online.  It is anticipated that in-person instruction will resume on Monday, January 31.  A decision to continue online instruction or return to in-person instruction will be made by January 26.

Until further notice:

  • Instructors of classroom-based courses are strongly encouraged to stick to their regular meeting patterns, but we ask that you show some flexibility for students in alternate time zones. 
  • There is to be no in-person teaching, including applied lessons.  All applied lessons are to be taught online, even for those students who might be in Rochester, until the University resumes in-person instruction.
  • Students enrolled in ensembles and chamber music should expect to hear from their instructors with information about plans for the next three weeks.

Technology & Media Production is available to provide support for instructors but cannot guarantee availability of Zoom carts and laptops.  Specific information about Zoom Carts and other T&MP support can be found at the conclusion of this message.

Student Return to Campus
Per President Mangelsdorf’s directive, students who are not currently on campus should not travel to Rochester.  However, we recognize that some students, especially those arriving from international locations, may not be able to change their travel plans. We will accommodate students who must arrive on campus early as long as they have a negative COVID test result. Additionally, the University’s International Services Office (ISO) stands ready to answer questions and provide additional support to international students or scholars who need assistance during this time.

If you know of students with specific concerns, please have them contact Academic Affairs for additional guidance.

Facilities Access
Our facilities will remain open during this time, so faculty may teach remotely from their office or regularly-scheduled classroom.  Additionally, the practice rooms will remain open, but we are asking students to limit their time making music with others.  Given that the Omicron variant is so contagious, we are asking everyone to make smart choices about gathering, and anything faculty can do to discourage students from rehearsing in groups would be much appreciated.

As of right now, we expect the Sibley Music Library and the Eastman Media Lab to remain open and maintain their regular hours.

Masking Protocol
Wearing a mask is required at all times when indoors.  The only exception is when an individual is alone in their own office/studio, a practice room, or a classroom.  Whenever two or more people occupy the same space, masks must be worn.

Concerts and Events
All concerts, master classes, and special events scheduled through January 31 are cancelled or postponed. Julia Ng from the Concert Office will reach out to everyone who is impacted by this.  We will work out the details in coming days, and a revised concert calendar will be available on the ESM website as soon as dates are finalized.  All guest artists and masterclasses scheduled for January must be moved online or rescheduled for later in the academic year, if possible.

Faculty Searches
Candidates scheduled to come to campus for vacancies in Music, Teaching and Learning; Vocal Coaching; and Jazz and Contemporary Media will be rescheduled to February.  Candidates for the Director of Equity and Inclusion vacancy will be shifted to online interviews in January.

Remote Work
Essential personnel are expected to report to work on campus, and all others are asked to work with their managers to make a plan for remote work.  As we did last year, all offices should make arrangements to be available, either in person or remotely, during normal business hours in order to support our students as best we can during this time.  We also understand that the expected spike in cases may lead to disruptions as employees or family members get sick, so managers are asked to make contingency plans in case an office needs to temporarily close due to a staff shortage.  Any questions regarding remote work and staffing planning should be directed to ESM HR at

Basic Needs Hub
We understand the hardship this rapid transition places on some students, so if you learn of any students in need of additional support, please direct them to submit a request through the University’s Basic Needs Hub.  The hub provides urgent, essential student necessities, such as food, clothing, housing, and access to academic tools, and we are usually able to respond very quickly to any requests. 

Student Booster Mandate
For the spring 2022 semester, as a condition of enrollment all students must receive a COVID-19 booster when they become eligible. Eligibility is determined by CDC guidance, and all students currently eligible must submit proof of their booster shot by February 1, 2022, and instructions for sharing this information will be announced shortly.  Students who are not yet eligible will have 30 days from becoming eligible to receive their booster shot.  Anyone with a previously approved medical or religious exemptions will continue to be exempt, and all other are expected to receive a booster to remain enrolled at the University. 

Faculty and Staff Booster Guidance
The University strongly encourages all faculty and staff to receive a booster shot when eligible, but a booster is not required at this time.

I am sincerely grateful to every member of our community for the tremendous efforts that have been invested over the past two years of COVID challenges.  Knowing of your tremendous dedication to our students and commitment to our school, I have every confidence that we will fare well during this temporary period of disruption. Thank you for your continued adherence to all of our COVID-19 safety protocols, and for your flexibility as we enter this next stage of the pandemic. 

We look forward to seeing those of you who can join us tomorrow at 1:00 PM as we will make every effort to answer other questions you might have.

Best regards,



Technology Support:

T&MP will have two spare Zoom carts available for loaner or permanent location, plus twelve Zoom carts permanently located in ESM 209, ESM 305, ESM 404, NSL 404*, OSL 101, ET 603, Ray Wright Room, Howard Hanson Hall*, Ciminelli Lounge*, Messinger 1*, Hatch Recital Hall*, and Schmitt Organ Hall (those rooms marked with an asterisk have a cart that can project as well as Zoom).  If you do not have a classroom with a Zoom cart, an ESM-issued laptop, a personal laptop, or a cell phone, Computing Services will have a limited number of laptops, desktops, or iPads available on request as temporary loaners. The quickest response for assistance will be achieved by writing to as this email address will be actively monitored by Helen Smith and Nana Stotz to identify immediate requests for AV assistance, and they will work alongside Computing Services and the rest of T&MP to respond promptly to requests for in-person support and/or equipment delivery.  Please provide as much notice and as many details as possible when contacting T&MP for support.