Spring 2021 and Winter Break Plans for faculty and staff

November 23, 2020

Dear faculty and staff,

As we approach Thanksgiving break and the end of in-person instruction on Tuesday, November 24, and in the interest of keeping you up-to-date with our latest plans, please see below for important information about the conclusion of in-person instruction, the post-Thanksgiving period, winter break, and the spring semester.

New York State Precautionary Zone designation

On Monday, November 9, Gov. Cuomo designated parts of Monroe County as a Yellow Precautionary Zone, which is a measure to address the micro-cluster of COVID-19 cases in our region.  This brought a set of new restrictions, all of which are detailed here: https://www.rochester.edu/coronavirus-update/what-the-nys-yellow-precautionary-zone-means-for-the-university/

You may be reading in the news that it is likely our region will move to an Orange Warning Zone designation in the next few days, but at the current time we do not know how that will impact our operations here at Eastman or the broader University.  Please watch your email for information, but in the meantime continue to follow best practices for containing the spread of the virus by wearing your mask, washing your hands, distancing whenever possible, and getting a flu shot. 

On-campus students are required to receive a COVID test prior to their departure from campus for Thanksgiving break, and off-campus students may schedule an optional departure test any time between now and November 20.  Departure tests are free for students, so please encourage them to take advantage of this service from UHS.  More information is available here: https://www.rochester.edu/coronavirus-update/update-all-residential-undergraduate-students-to-have-pre-departure-covid-test/.

Post-Thanksgiving Period

As a reminder, the last day of in-person instruction is Tuesday, November 24, Thanksgiving break runs from November 25-29, and classes resume in a fully online format on Monday, November 30.  As was communicated earlier, faculty are reminded that there is to be no in-person instruction offered after the 24th

The Student Living Center will close on Wednesday, November 25, and any students currently living there who wish to remain in Rochester will be transferred to a residence hall on the River Campus.  Shuttles will be operating to transport students between Eastman and River Campus during the reminder of the semester, likely using the orange line schedule with the final determination being made in coming days.  Students who are choosing to live on the River Campus for the entire Winter Break will continue to have shuttle access to Eastman.

All students will continue to have access to our facilities for practicing, as the Annex practice rooms and classrooms, OSL 101, and EEW 415 will be available to sign out using the same room reservation protocols we have had in place all semester.

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 continue to be open for student practice (with reduced hours) but we will continue to prohibit in-person teaching.  The only exception is for ECMS instruction, which is approved to continue in person because their academic calendar is slightly different than the collegiate calendar.  Faculty, of course, may continue to access their office during winter break, and Sibley Music Library will be open with modified hours (see below for more information).

The Eastman Office of Student Activities is partnering with colleagues on the River Campus to provide limited programming for students who remain in Rochester over the winter break as the well-being of students is a top priority during the extended break period, particularly with the prohibition on travel outside of 100 miles from campus.  Faculty and staff are encouraged to submit a CARE report if they have any concerns about a student over the long winter break and our Student Support Team will follow up immediately.

Building Hours

Beginning Wednesday, November 25th, card access will be implemented at the entrance to the Main Building.  Access to the Main Building, Annex and Eastman East Wing will be as follows:

Students: access from 8am to 6pm daily until the beginning of the Spring Semester. 

Faculty:  access from 7am to 11pm daily until the completion of the Fall Semester on Sunday, December 13th.  Beginning Monday, December 14th, access will be from 8am to 6pm daily until the Spring Semester.  Please contact Kevin Gibson with special access requests if it is impossible to work within this schedule.   

Staff: access during the break will be based on operational need and coordinated with ESM managers and supervisors. 

As a reminder, faculty and staff are still asked to contact Kevin Gibson (kgibson@esm.rochester.edu) when planning to come to campus so that density levels may continue to be monitored.

Messinger Hall will be transitioning to full card access beginning Wednesday, November 25th.  Normal building access will remain over the majority of the collegiate winter break because ECMS courses continue during this period.

The Sibley Music Library’s hours for the winter break are as follows:

November 30th-December 13th 9:00 am-5:00 pm M-F
December 14th-16th 9:00 am-12:00 pm
December 17th-January 3rd Closed
January 4th-24th 9:00 am-1:00 pm M-F (Closed Monday, Jan. 18th)
January 25th-29th 9:00 am-5:00 pm
January 30th-31st Closed
February 1st Resume same schedule as Fall Semester

Miller Center hours will be 6:45am – 9:30pm M-F, 10:00 am – 9:30 pm on Saturdays with card access only on Sundays.


Quarantine for Returning Students in January

We fully expect that New York’s quarantine order will remain in place for students returning to campus for the spring semester, so we are actively working with our partners on the River Campus to implement plans for a safe and smooth reentry for everyone traveling to Rochester in January.  The current quarantine order requires anyone entering NY from a non-contiguous state to (1) have a negative COVID test within 3 days of leaving home, (2) quarantine for 3 days upon arrival in Rochester, and (3) get a second negative COVID test after their 3-day quarantine.  For students living on campus, we will provide a space for the 3-day quarantine in a local hotel and UHS will provide the 2nd COVID test.  Students living off-campus will need to arrange for their own space for their 3-day quarantine (likely their personal apartment) and UHS will administer the 2nd test.  All students will be responsible for obtaining their COVID test before leaving home, as failure to get this test will lead to a full 14-day quarantine upon arrival in Rochester. 

Quarantine for on-campus students will begin around January 20th, with the goal of getting all students who reside in the Student Living Center out of quarantine in time for the start of the spring semester.   

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).  The University is designating two days as “wellness days” for the spring semester: March 3 and March 30.  All classes, lessons, rehearsals, and performances will be canceled on those two dates.  Like fall break or reading day at the end of the semester, the expectation is that students will have the day off with no required engagements.  As you prepare your syllabi for the spring semester, please be sure to work these days into your schedule.   If you had already scheduled events on these two dates, you will hear directly from the Concert Office about adjusting your arrangements.

Students received a survey last week, asking for their plans for the spring semester, either in-person or remote; and they were given a deadline of January 10 to provide this important information.  Until that date, we will not have final accurate information on student status.  If students communicate with you about changing their status from this current fall term, please encourage them to complete this survey.  Like we did in the fall, your spring course rosters will reflect the status of each student.

There will not be a single week devoted to spring juries where there are no classes scheduled.  This is due to the timing (contraction) of the spring semester and the expected large number of degree recitals required in the spring semester.  Instead, juries will be organized into a different schedule throughout the month of April and classes will continue during that time.  The Office of Academic Affairs will work with the relevant department chairs to identify appropriate times and rooms for in-person juries.  These arrangements will be determined after we have more information about how many students will be in-person this spring.  We expect students studying remotely will also perform a jury for your review; details on those online jury protocols will be communicated in the spring.

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, vocal coaching, and chamber music.  Given the recent rise in COVID cases we are pausing any review of our safety protocols for now, but we have confirmed with Dr. Manchester that we will connect with him in January to determine whether conditions have changed enough to consider any revisions to our policies.  For now, faculty should assume that all policies and protocols currently in place will be in place for the spring. 

Classroom-based courses will continue to be online in the spring semester, with limited exceptions, and the schedule for the spring is now available in UR Student for your review.  Instructions on viewing the course schedule in UR Student can be found here: https://tech.rochester.edu/wp-content/uploads/QRC-Find-Course-Section-students-general.pdf.   

We pledge to do our best to keep everyone up-to-date over the next several weeks as conditions continue to be fluid.  Because we do expect things will change as we get closer to the start of the spring semester, everyone is encouraged to watch the Eastman COVID-19 Resource Center website for the most recent communications, policy updates, and FAQs. 

Although we have said it many times before, our deepest thanks to all of you for your support throughout this semester.  We know that many of the safety protocols we implemented this year have been challenging for everyone, but we sincerely appreciate your dedication to the safety of our community above all else.  We hope you all have a safe and relaxing Thanksgiving break, and that the remainder of the semester goes well.  As always, please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns about the plans we have outlined here.


All the best,

Donna and John