Important Change in Spring Semester Planning – Eastman Specific Information for Students

January 7, 2022

Dear Eastman Students,

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 also plan to hold an online town hall meeting on Friday, January 7 at 7:00 pm EST where my colleagues and I will be available to answer your questions directly.  The Zoom link for this session will be sent out shortly via email and will also be posted on the Eastman home page tomorrow.

Spring Semester Teaching
Classes will begin at Eastman and the University of Rochester 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 being strongly encouraged to stick to their regular meeting patterns, but we are asking that they 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 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.

Concerts and Events
All concerts, master classes, and special events scheduled through January 31 are cancelled or postponed.  Students with degree recitals will be contacted by the Concert Office regarding options. 

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 have a specific concerns, please contact Academic Affairs for additional guidance.

Dining operations will open as planned beginning Friday, January 7 for students currently on campus. The full list of hours for each operation can be found on the Dining website and are posted in our locations. Any changes to hours of operation will be posted on the Dining website; students are encouraged to check for the most current information.  The Eastman Dining Center will be open and will provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner options, seven days a week.

For students who have not returned to campus and all commuter students, meal plans will be paused until further notice. Additionally, for students currently on campus we have temporarily extended the ability to use declining balance for GrubHub purchases at off-campus restaurants.

Room and Board Charges
Room and board charges will be adjusted on a pro-rated basis for students affected by the request to delay returning to campus, and financial aid will not be reduced. The University will apply the pro-rated amount to student accounts once the official return-to-campus date is determined; no action is needed on the part of students and their families at this time.

 Facilities Access
Our facilities will remain open during this time, but students should expect limited in-person services as many faculty and staff will be working remotely.  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 in groups of any size.

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

Student Work
Students should not make plans to return for campus just for an on-campus job.  We are awaiting guidance from Student Employment, but we hope students will be able to continue their work online if the job lends itself to remote work.  All other student employees should expect to hear from the supervisors with a plan to resume working once we have the all-clear to return to campus.

All graduate students will receive a separate communication with additional information as soon as it is available.

Basic Needs Hub
We understand the hardship this rapid transition places on some students, so if you are in need of additional support please 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. 

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 your fellow classmates and your 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 evening at 7:00 PM as we will make every effort to answer other questions you might have.

Kind regards,

Dean Rossi