Important ESM spring semester return information

January 27, 2022

Dear members of the Eastman community,

By now we hope you have seen the message from President Mangelsdorf about the University’s plans for returning to in-person instruction next week, but if not you can find the message on the University’s COVID Resource Center website.  We are writing here with information about our Eastman-specific plans, so please review the below information carefully.

Student Living Center Move-In
Students living on campus may return to the Student Living Center beginning on Thursday, January 27.  All SLC residents are required to upload a negative COVID-19 test prior to returning to campus, and this requirement can be met with either a PCR test or rapid home test. All students who have received their COVID test should upload proof of a negative test result—or proof of having COVID within the past 90 days—to UHSConnect.

Eastman-Specific Mask Policy
As announced by the President earlier, effective immediately the University is requiring surgical or KN-95 masks (non-cloth masks) to be worn by all students, faculty, staff, and visitors—including those who are fully vaccinated—while indoors on any of the University’s campuses and properties. Cloth masks are acceptable only as a second/outer layer when paired with a surgical, N95, or KN95 mask, with one exception for the use of a clear face mask when necessary for communication with individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.

At Eastman, however, we will also allow musicians to continue using cloth masks if they require a hole for their mouthpiece.  As we’ve been doing for almost two years now, the hole is expected to be as small as possible to allow for the mouthpiece but must still cover the nose and sides of the face.  And, these masks are only acceptable when making music, as at all other times – in class, in the hallways, backstage, in the Student Living Center, etc. – everyone is expected to comply with the updated mask rules described above.

Mask Distribution at Eastman
As has been the case from the beginning of the pandemic, surgical masks will continue to be available for everyone at the Officer’s Desk in Lowry Hall.  In addition, ESM has purchased a supply of KN95 masks that will be made available to our community at the following locations:

  • ESM Faculty and Staff – Welcome Center in Lowry Hall (faculty masks will be placed in mailboxes)
  • ESM Students – Student Living Center front desk
  • ECMS Faculty – ECMS Office, 3rd floor of Messinger Hall

At this time, it is necessary to limit our KN95 mask distribution to just one complimentary mask per individual.  Please note that these masks are readily available through pharmacies and online outlets, such as Amazon.

Recitals and Performances
All other safety rules from the fall semester remain in place with no changes.  This means that we will allow for a single unmasked musician to perform from stage, but only if the performer is fully vaccinated with a booster and can remain at least six feet of distance from all others.  As it was in the fall semester, this means there may only be ONE unmasked individual on stage at time with no exceptions. 

At the current time we expect no other restrictions on audience size, and our concerts remain open to all visitors.  We reserve the right to change these policies at any time should COVID case numbers rise, but we continue to hope that these drastic steps will not be necessary.

In the Classroom
As we did in the fall semester, we will continue to allow a single instructor to be unmasked when teaching as long as that individual is fully vaccinated, including their booster, and can maintain six feet of distance from the students at all times. 

Online Learning
While in-person instruction resumes on Monday, January 31, we expect there will be a small number of international students who may arrive a little late due to travel issues.  Therefore, we are asking instructors to provide an online option for these international students for an additional week, but after February 7 we expect all students to be on campus.  Domestic students and international students who are already in the United States are expected to return to in-person classes on Monday, January 31.

As we have previously communicated, we expect that students will continue to require short periods of quarantine or isolation throughout the remainder of the semester should they get exposed to the virus.  Instructors should make plans to provide additional flexibility, as needed, to students who are ordered to quarantine or isolate at any time this spring.

Thanks to everyone for your flexibility during these last few weeks of online learning, and we look forward to welcoming everyone back to campus next week.  As we have said many times, our ability to remain open for in-person music making and instruction is in your hands, and we ask for continued adherence to all of our COVID-19 safety protocols so that we can keep our community safe.

All the best,

Donna Brink Fox
Senior Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs

John Hain
Associate Dean of Academic and International Affairs