Information for Staff

Please check back frequently for updates and additions throughout the spring semester.



Updated 1/15/2021

Are there any changes to COVID-related safety for Spring Semester?

With the start the spring semester, all of our COVID safety protocols remain in effect from the fall–including distancing, masking, bell covers, and room downtime.  With COVID-19 cases on the rise nationwide, and particularly in Monroe County, we do not want to change these protocols that worked so well for us in the fall.  As case numbers decrease, which we fully expect as the vaccine becomes more widely available, we will consider modifications to policies.


In addition, we will continue our practice room sign out protocols from the fall, including the use of our student practice room monitors.  As a reminder, all of our music-making safety measures can be found here:

This spring we will continue our prohibition on audiences in keeping with the most current New York State restrictions, and will also maintain the University’s prohibition on outside visitors for the foreseeable future.

Updated 1/15/2021

What is the schedule for the Spring Semester?

The spring semester begins on Monday, February 1 and the last day of classes is Friday, May 7.  Saturday, May 8 and Sunday, May 9 are reading days, and final exams run from Monday, May 10 through Friday, May 14.  The full spring semester calendar can be found on the Registrar’s website.

Updated 1/21/2021

Should staff continue to work from home?

Staff who can continue to work remotely, should continue to work from home. We are currently not permitted to exceed 50% of our normal operating capacity.

For more information see the University’s Return to Work Guide.

Updated 1/21/2021

Who determines which staff returns to the office who is allowed/must work from home?

Managers are having individual conversations with HR and leadership regarding staffing and all decisions regarding coverage for individual areas and offices will be communicated to employees by their managers.

Updated 1/21/2021

What is the University's plan for Vaccinations?

Information about the University’s plans for vaccinating can be found here:  We encourage everyone to watch their email, as additional information will be communicated via the daily @Rochester email newsletter as it becomes available.

With progress being made on vaccinating our community, we want to remind everyone that receiving the vaccine does not exempt anyone from our COVID safety protocols.  Until the all clear is given by University leadership, it is our expectation that all members of the Eastman community will continue to wear a mask, maintain appropriate distancing, and adhere to all other safety protocols that have been established by Eastman and the University.

The university continues to advocate for the designation of staff members with student-facing roles to be made eligible for vaccinations.

Updated 11/23/2020

If a staff member is not comfortable with their department of office’s plan for returning to onsite work, do they have any options?

Managers and directors should discuss guidelines and limitations with each of their employees. General guidelines are available here.  If individuals have questions and specific concerns remain, they can contact Elaine Tennity.

How should in-person meetings be conducted?

If absolutely necessary,  for in person meetings, all parties must maintain 6 ft between them and wear masks. If this cannot be done due to space constraints, the meeting should be done via zoom. All meetings should have option to participate via zoom and not require in-person attendance.

What if I don’t feel comfortable returning to the office?

Individuals should have conversations with their manager regarding return-to-work and individual department or office requirements for staffing.  Employees should consult with their manager and Eastman HR to review specific concerns about resuming on-site work.

For offices/suites- will there be guidance as it refers to physical spaces/limitations?

Facilities and Kevin Gibson will reach out to any department or office where spacing concerns or challenges apply to individual office suites or locations. All employees should maintain 6 ft distancing at all times and be wearing masks. To accommodate density requirements, we are operating at 50% capacity. More formal guidelines will be forthcoming from University of Rochester.

What is the policy for visitors and guests to offices and office suites?

All offices are given flexibility to determine their comfort level with locking office suites or offices to outside “guests” or members of our Eastman faculty/staff.   An office may choose to lock their suite and only allow entrance to those with an appointment, and who are wearing masks, so long as there is at least one person available for meetings during the core office hours.

Restrictions on outside visitors coming to campus

In order to limit campus density, only essential visitors with formal appointments in units and invited guests with prior approval will be allowed to visit any facility at the River Campus and the Eastman School of Music Campus. Formal visitors and invited guests should have an obvious and documented relationship that overtly furthers the University’s academic and/or research mission. All approved visitors and guests will be required to complete the University’s COVID training and conduct daily symptom tracking. Casual guests and non-essential visitors are prohibited from these locations. Students may not host visitors or guests during fall semester.

All formal visitors and invited guests must register with the University to ensure that COVID-related training and University expectations regarding PPE is conveyed. Visitors and guests arriving from locations requiring quarantine by NYS or other health agencies must adhere to these quarantine requirements before coming onto campus.

Admissions tours will be adapted to maintain physical distancing for spaces on campus and student and guest numbers will be capped. Records will be kept regarding the staff and visitors in each session each day in the event that information is needed for subsequent contact tracing.


Updated 11/23/2020

Can you clarify the 50% occupancy? How will that be controlled or monitored to ensure the building/campus will be at 50% occupancy at all times?

50% occupancy will be achieved through a variety of means.   As a first step, The University continues to require the majority of employees to work remotely, by indicating that all work that can be done remotely should continue remotely for the foreseeable future, which will significantly lower our campus density.  Managers will need to work with their staff members to reduce the normal physical capacity in offices by 50% in the common areas and ensure a 6 foot distance from others. Finally, all staff members reporting to campus have been asked to notify Kevin Gibson so he can monitor numbers, providing a final level of oversight.

Will there be any objectively measured methods to screen people as they enter the campus? Non-contact thermometers, for example?

Consistent with what is being done on River Campus, we will be relying on the university’s health screening app (Dr. Chat Bot) and not checking temperatures or otherwise screening individuals.  Additionally, signage and sandwich boards will serve as a prominent reminder to the critical importance for those exhibiting symptoms to not enter our buildings.

Will we continue swiping IDs for entrance to the main building?

The policy requiring students and employees to enter the school through Lowry Hall and present their UR ID, adopted in February as a security measure, will continue.  It will not be necessary to swipe ID’s at the entrance for entry to Lowry Hall.

Who will be monitoring member of the community congregating and/or who will be ensuring that everyone follows physical distancing protocols?

The University of Rochester has rolled out the “COVID-19: Community Commitment” for students, and a similar document will be available for employees very soon.  These documents will require all members of the community to pledge that they will follow appropriate physical distancing and other COVID/PPE guidelines. There will also be a central website where community concerns can be shared, which will be rolled out shortly.

What is the process if a member of our community tests positive for COVID? How are we notified, or not, as members of the community?

Please refer to this page.

What safety precautions and changes will we see in our buildings?

Changes include directional signage and distancing markers along with general signage; the disabling of water fountains; reductions in seating in common areas; the reduction of sinks in restrooms (to promote distancing); the disabling of restroom hand dryers (replaced by touchless paper towel dispensers); and added hand sanitizer/cleaning supplies/PPE throughout our buildings. As a reminder regarding PPE, the University’s policy on face masks states:

Procedural or cloth face masks are required in all common areas (hallways, restrooms, break areas). Face masks must be worn in indoor public spaces any time there is more than one person in a given space, including times of brief interaction between co-workers or friends, and anytime another person is within six feet. Masks must be worn outdoors when 6-foot separation is not feasible. Employees working alone do not need to wear a mask.  Masks will be provided to all students, faculty and staff.

Will the University/Eastman be providing masks?

Masks will be made available on an ongoing basis as needed to all faculty, staff and students in alignment with University of Rochester guidelines.  In addition, we will be issuing cloth masks with the Eastman logo to all undergrad and graduate students and all full time faculty and staff on a one-time basis.

What kinds of PPE will be distributed to offices/suites?

Basic supplies in each suite will be provided from facilities. Should you need more, please contact facilities to request. During off-hours, facilities customer service number will be available and campus safety officer will be able to provide materials.

For equipment that is not easy to clean such as control rooms- will gloves be used, or UV lights to clean those?

UV light will be implemented in some instances as a component of portable air purifiers.

What kind of mechanical aspects have been done as far as air filtration? Specifically, regarding the annex?

Ventilation will be maximized where possible, as well as improved filtration where possible, with limitations due to the age of our systems. Individual concerns should be addressed to Kevin Gibson.

Will stairwells be specific to which direction they are to be used for?

We’ve reorganized entry to the main building- similar to Kilbourn (direction signage for one way on and one way out). Bridges to Annex will be one way. We don’t currently have other accommodations in our stairwells, as for brief periods of passing this should not pose a safety risk with everyone wearing masks.

What is the policy about access to testing?

All undergraduate students living on campus this fall will be tested upon move-in. Optional testing for graduate students and off-campus undergraduates will be available at University Health Service (UHS) after August 26.  Students and employees may also take a test at any time, free of charge, at a New York State-administered testing site. See Monroe County COVID-19 Testing Informationfor details.

If a University student or employee tests positive, what happens next?

Contact tracing after any confirmed positive cases of students or employees will be done in coordination with Monroe County health officials. University Health Service (UHS) will conduct contact tracing for on-campus students, Monroe County will conduct contact tracing for students off-campus as well as for employees, and the two units will coordinate.  Contact tracers will follow tracing protocols and utilize tools developed by New York State officials.

Is the University taking into account the most recent studies being published on the aerosol spread of the virus? (A recent study suggested 12 to 16 feet distance between people rather than 6 feet.)

Facilities is receiving updated information as it comes out, and we will be updated accordingly.


Are there guidelines for reimbursement for expenses incurred teaching/working remotely (such as telephone bills)?

Each department has an Office Supplies line in its budget that can be used. Contact Jennifer Horn for specific reimbursement questions. In addition, employees who remain working remote, will need to sign another Remote Access User Agreement and should review it for the requirements of working remotely. Specifically, items #9 and #10 address equipment & utility questions: 9. I will support the cost of Internet access from home during the time that this agreement is in place and will make sure that the service level is appropriate for the type of work being performed as well as to support the video conferencing service used by the University. In addition, I understand I am responsible for the cost of all other utilities associated with my remote work space.  10. I may be provided reasonable office supplies, as needed, in order to perform my University work. See full policy here.

How will the copy center be monitored?

Plans are currently being developed.

Will any programming that staff assist with be cut for fall semester, such as recording sessions or Jazz media, due to space limitations?

At this time, no changes have been finalized.

Will all employees at Eastman be brought back from furlough by the end of August?

Yes, all employees will return from furlough by the end of August. The date identified for individual employee for return to work will be honored, if not occurring sooner. Individual concerns should be addressed to your individual manager and/or also Elaine Tennity in HR.

Are we planning to have our student workers continue their work as planned this fall?

We are moving forward with student workers assisting individual offices. Guidance will be forthcoming to managers regarding hiring as well as specific protocols for social distancing and changes to any current physical locations.

Remote Work Guidelines

As of 6/26/20 the Finger Lakes Region is scheduled to start Phase 4 of New York State’s regional reopening plan. This is the final phase of the state’s reopening process, however many operating and activity restrictions are still in place to contain the spread of COVID-19 in our region.

The University continues to require that those employees working from home continue to do so unless approved to return by leadership. Essential staff in areas including public safety, facilities, dining services, residential life, and in some research facilities who are approved to restart or who are responsible for continuing operations at the University may be working on campus. Read more.


  • If returning, employees need to screen themselves using Dr. Chat Bot prior to coming to campus.
  • All employees on University (non-Medical Center​) campuses need to complete the COVID-19 Safety Training available in MyPath. This mandatory training should be completed even prior to having plans to return to campus.

With the exception of University medical and clinical care facilities, the University continues to be closed to outside guests or visitors until further notice. Those who must visit campus—vendors and service personnel who are essential to campus operations, for example—must wear masks when in public spaces and maintain social distancing of at least six feet.

Have questions about working remotely? View this FAQ for answers.

Vacation Policy: Updates on Accruals

In light of work disruptions caused by the crisis, the University wants to ensure that faculty and staff maintain access to earned vacation time so that it is available when they are able to use it. The following changes have been made to the accrual policy:

  • At the beginning of the first full pay period on January 1, 2021, a maximum of one and a half year’s (1.5 year’s) accrual may be carried forward. During the year, vacation accruals will continue.
  • At the beginning of the first full pay period on January 1, 2022, a maximum of one and a quarter year’s (1.25 year’s) accrual may be carried forward.  During the year, vacation accruals will continue.
  • At the beginning of the first full pay period on January 1, 2023, the University will return to the standing policy which allows for a maximum of one year’s accrual to be carried forward.