Post-Thanksgiving, Winter Break and Spring 2021 Planning Update

October 19, 2020

Dear faculty and staff,

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) we expect the majority of students to return home – and stay home – until the spring semester begins.  We understand, however, that some students 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 students have access to the practice rooms.  But, we do expect all faculty to abide by the University’s decision to end in-person instruction and move all teaching online from right after Thanksgiving break through the last day of classes on Wednesday, December 9.

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, but we will continue to prohibit in-person teaching.  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.  Faculty, of course, may continue to access their office during winter break, and Sibley Music Library will be open with modified hours. 

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.  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.  Many of you have already worked with your department chair to choose whether or not you wanted to teach asynchronously or synchronously, but if you have questions about your teaching schedule please contact your department chair immediately.  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. 

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 our students, and for all of the work you are doing to make this academic year a success.

All the best,

Donna and John