Post-Thanksgiving, Winter Break, and Spring 2021 Planning Update

October 15, 2020

Dear students,

We have reached the mid-point of the fall semester, and, while we know you are all deeply involved in the day-to-day activities of the current semester, we are writing here with an update about our planning for the post-Thanksgiving period, the December/January intersession, and the spring 2021 semester.  While things continue to change rapidly, we want you to know about planning for the coming months so that you can be as prepared as possible for what will be certainly be an unorthodox winter break and spring semester.

END OF SEMESTER:  As we communicated earlier, the last day of in-person instruction for all classes, lessons, and rehearsals is Tuesday, November 24.  During Thanksgiving break (Wednesday, November 25 through Sunday, November 29) it is our expectation that the majority of you will return home – and stay home – until the spring semester begins.  We understand, however, that a small number of you will elect instead to stay through the end of the semester in mid-December, or to stay through the entire 9-week winter break, so we anticipate keeping the main building and Annex open during that full winter break period, likely with adjusted hours, so that you have access to the practice rooms.  But, even though the building is open, in-person instruction ends at Thanksgiving and teaching will move online from right after Thanksgiving break through the last day of classes on Wednesday, December 9.  For students living in the Student Living Center, information about move-out procedures prior to Thanksgiving break will be communicated via email very soon.

WINTER BREAK: Starting with the conclusion of final exams on Sunday, December 13, we will begin the winter break period that will extend from Monday, December 14 through Sunday, January 31.  During this period our facilities will open to students for practicing only, as in-person teaching, coaching, and/or rehearsing remains prohibited.  The only exception is for ECMS instruction, which is approved to continue in person as their academic calendar is slightly different than the collegiate calendar.  Sibley Music Library will also remain open during the break with modified hours.  For students living in the Student Living Center, information options for remaining on campus during the winter break will be made available shortly, as students will need to register their plan to remain on campus.  We expect there will be a modest fee to cover the required on-campus meal plan over the break, but we do not expect any additional charges for housing.  Students who opt to stay on campus over the break must also agree to abide by the University’s current travel restrictions, meaning you cannot make plans to travel more than 100 miles from Rochester during this time. 

SPRING SEMESTER: The spring semester is scheduled to resume on Monday, February 1 and will continue, with no spring break, through the last day of classes on Friday, May 7 (the full 2020-2021 academic calendar can be found on the Registrar’s website).  There will not be a single week devoted to spring juries where there are no classes scheduled, but instead juries will be organized into a different schedule throughout the month of April and classes will continue during that time.  Our plan for spring semester instruction is to keep all the COVID-related safety modifications and policies in place, and we will largely keep the same policy of prioritizing our physical space for the in-person instruction of lessons, ensembles, and chamber music.  Academic courses will continue to be online, with limited exceptions, but the big change for spring is that faculty have an option to move online courses into a synchronous schedule.  The Registrar’s office is currently working on developing the spring semester schedule, and our hope is to have it finalized and posted online in UR Student by Monday, November 9, when you will be able to see the modality (in-person, synchronous online, or asynchronous online) for all of your course options.

One important piece of information that must be kept in mind as you make your plans for the upcoming winter break is that we fully expect the New York State quarantine order to remain in place.  This means that anyone traveling out of the country or to a NYS-designated “hot spot” state must plan on a two-week quarantine upon arrival in Rochester.  We are working on plans for University-supported quarantine housing for on-campus students, similar to what was provided last August, but all students should plan accordingly before making any non-refundable travel arrangements.  Also, students living on campus should expect to be tested for COVID-19 prior to move-in (and post-quarantine, if applicable). 

We expect more detailed information to be shared in coming weeks, but in the meantime if you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact us right away.  Thank you, again, for your continued commitment to keeping our community safe, and for all of the hard work you are dedicating your classes, lessons, and rehearsals this semester.

All the best,

Dean Fox and Dean Hain