/ COVID-19 Updates

COVID-19 Updates

This information will be updated as developments related to the COVID-19 health crisis arise.

From the Office of the President

July 14, 2020 Letter

 

Fall 2020 Semester FAQ

The below information is current as of July 14, 2020. Please plan to revisit this page frequently for updates. 

Students

A modified, virtual New Student Orientation is scheduled to take place from August 24 to 30. Should the academic calendar undergo further revisions, we will update this.

The fact that we will be working remotely makes real-time, synchronous group playing a challenge, but faculty members are designing learning opportunities for the fall semester that will enable students to work on ensemble-related skills. These classes, coachings, and rehearsals will most often be structured for smaller groups of students and allow teachers to offer significantly more individual feedback than in a traditional rehearsal format.

For chamber music, we intend to pursue the use of existing and emerging technologies in these areas and are in frequent dialogue with conservatory peers about low-latency, synchronous music-making hardware and software solutions. We are also exploring the possibility of regional “pods,” allowing students who are located geographically near one another to practice and coach together safely. Stay tuned for more information. 

The fall Curtis Symphony Orchestra concert will be postponed.

 

Yes, absolutely, although some may likely take place from students’ homes. Please be on the lookout, as we will share information on best practices for setting up a recital from your home. 

 

Some recitals may also be live-streamed for public enjoyment.

 

Students in the vocal studies department will continue to have remote lessons and coachings. Additional departmental projects are in the planning stages and will be announced in the coming weeks. Unfortunately, the November Curtis Opera Theatre production will be either postponed or canceled.

Yes. It will be possible for Curtis students to have the opportunity to engage and play/sing for guest artists.

The Department of Homeland Security July 6 ruling was rescinded on July 14. Nonimmigrant students currently in the U.S. are permitted to stay in the country while taking a fully online course load. 

At this time, students may not practice on campus. Some exceptions may be made, however, for percussionists and organists living off-campus. This policy may be updated.

Curtis will continue to make supplemental grant payments to qualifying off-campus students who have an approved and executed financial aid award for the 2020–21 school year. The fall semester portion of dining grants and on-campus employment will also be disbursed to off-campus students on a monthly basis. Loans will still be available. Housing and dining grants will not be disbursed to on-campus residents for the fall semester. Some remote employment opportunities may be available.

Please speak with Veronica McAuley about your unique situation.

The business office will begin sending these out at the end of August. Please make sure you respond to the upcoming survey, so we have your most current address.

The comprehensive fee and student health services fee will both remain in place. 

  • Any student residing in the U.S. during the fall semester must be covered by a health insurance policy and will, therefore, be billed for Curtis’s student health insurance. Those students who are insured through a parent or family member should complete the insurance waiver process (details forthcoming) to have that charge removed from their statement.
  • Students residing outside of the U.S. for the first semester will not be billed for fall health insurance coverage. Assuming a return to campus for the second semester, these students will receive a prorated health insurance bill for the spring.

If you already maintain an off-campus apartment, you are able to return to Philadelphia. Note, however, that for the most part students will not be allowed access to campus for practice. (See above, “Can I practice on campus?”)

The Lenfest Hall residences will remain closed for the fall semester, so on-campus housing is not available. If you are in the process of moving from being an on-campus resident to living off-campus, you might consider delaying choosing a place to live or signing a lease until a decision has been made regarding Curtis’s spring semester.

 

 

Guidance in this area will continue to change. For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 in Philadelphia, please visit phila.gov/covid-19.

At present, if you travel to Philadelphia from areas with high COVID-19 case numbers and transmission, self-quarantining for 14 days is recommended.

Consideration for enrollment in Curtis’s Bachelor of Music program requires:

  • A complete official high school or, if applicable, college transcript in English, with grades and graduation date
  • Official scores for the SAT—ALL PORTIONS OF THE EXAM ARE REQUIRED
  • Official scores for the TOEFL exam (for non-native speakers of English)

Curtis allows undergraduate diploma students to take up to two semester-long liberal arts courses prior to being considered for an official transfer to the Bachelor of Music program. Incoming students may register for one or two liberal arts classes for the fall.

Returning undergraduate diploma students may register for liberal arts classes if they have not yet exceeded the two-course maximum described above. Returning undergraduate diploma students who have reached the above course limit may take one liberal arts class in the fall.

We intend to maintain all academic courses as scheduled for the fall semester, so students in the final year of their programs will be able to complete their graduation requirements.

Performance faculty members will have the opportunity to nominate students for an additional year of study. The application/selection process will take place in October with decisions being made in early November.

Students wishing to discuss deferring their enrollment should contact Dean Bryan by Friday, July 24. Each student’s unique situation will be considered in making a determination.

The course guide will be released by August 1. Advising sessions will be held later in August and all students will be assigned an advisor.

Classes will feature a balance of synchronous and asynchronous models of instruction. Faculty may choose from among numerous methods to engage with students asynchronously including e-mail and posting materials, lectures, and homework to Canvas. 

Faculty members have been requested to teach or provide one session per week of “live” synchronous interaction via phone, Canvas Conference features, or an online platform such as Zoom or Google Hangouts. 

These one- to two-hour live classes will be scheduled via the registrar, and their day and time will be consistent each week.

 

The library and orchestra library are working on a number of options for access to music and other materials in the fall semester. The library recently subscribed to nkoda and Classical Scores Library for access to copyrighted music and is working with publishers to find additional ways to provide legal access to non-public domain music in the fall. For those living near campus, we are working on a way to provide access to physical materials from the collection. Librarians will be available at various scheduled hours during the week (morning, afternoon, and later evening) to assist with class help and library resources. Any student interested in an nkoda account should contact library@curtis.edu. New students now have access to all electronic resources available off-campus and will receive an instructional e-mail within the next day or so. See https://libguides.curtis.edu/az.php for the list of available resources.

This is still to be determined. Please revisit this page periodically for updates.

We are partnering with RedShelf to provide e-books for most classes. Other texts and resources for each course may be scanned and posted to Canvas.

There are various options available. Vince Ford, vice president of digital and strategic initiatives at the New York Philharmonic, will offer a 6-week course open to all students this fall. Please see the course guide when it’s released for further information on Digital Engagement for Artists. Drew Schlegel and Mickey Welde have also put together instructional guides and videos which will be available through the library.

Penn has announced that they have suspended the Quaker Consortium (reciprocal) program for the fall semester.

Curtis is exploring ways to provide students with the technological resources necessary to be fully engaged in their online lessons, coachings, and classes. As part of this process, we will be sending out a technology survey to inventory the needs and capabilities of our new and returning students. Please be sure to complete this survey promptly when you receive it.

Yes, Curtis students will still have access to members of the school’s mental health team. Information on sessions with other wellness providers will be available closer to the beginning of the school year.

We intend to continue to make the pantry available to off-campus residents. Details on procedures are still to be determined. Please revisit this page periodically for updates.

The move-in process will begin approximately one week prior to the start of the second semester. Additional details will be provided as they are available.

We anticipate making a decision about the spring semester by November 30.

Faculty

At this time, faculty may not teach from the Curtis campus, but some limited exceptions may be made. Please speak to Dean Bryan about your unique situation.

At this time, faculty may not use the practice facilities, but some exceptions may be made for extenuating circumstances. Please speak to Dean Bryan about your unique situation.

No. Non-Curtis students are not permitted on campus for any reason during the campus closure period. This includes prospective students, as campus tours will be conducted virtually.

Curtis is exploring a variety of ways to provide faculty with the technological resources necessary to be fully engaged in their online lessons, coachings, and classes. As part of this process, we will be sending out a technology survey to inventory the needs and capabilities of our faculty and students. Please be sure to complete this survey promptly when you receive it so we can have updated information about your specific situation. Training sessions for Zoom and Canvas will be arranged. Please be on the lookout for details.

Classes will feature a balance of synchronous and asynchronous models of instruction. Faculty may choose from among numerous methods to engage with students asynchronously including e-mail and posting materials, lectures, and homework to Canvas. 

 

Faculty members have been requested to teach or provide one session per week of “live” synchronous interaction via phone, Canvas Conference features, or an online platform such as Zoom or Google Hangouts. 

 

These one- to two-hour live classes will be scheduled via the registrar, and their day and time must be consistent each week. Students and faculty alike need regular, predictable times for online classes—as if we were teaching in person. Any request for an exception to the one synchronous meeting per week will be discussed and determined within the context of the overall school schedule.

 

The library and orchestra library are working on a number of options for access to music and other materials in the fall semester. The library recently subscribed to nkoda and Classical Scores Library for access to copyrighted music and is working with publishers to find additional ways to provide legal access to non-public domain music in the fall. For those living near campus, we are working on a way to provide access to physical materials from the collection. Librarians will be available at various scheduled hours during the week (morning, afternoon, and later evening) to assist with class help and library resources. Any faculty members interested in an nkoda account should contact library@curtis.edu.

We are partnering with RedShelf to provide e-books for most class needs. Other texts and resources may be scanned and posted to Canvas for each course. Contact Emily Waters if you have questions about textbooks.

Scanning capability will be available; details to follow. Prior to scanning materials for your class(es), please contact the library staff in order to ensure compliance with Fair Use guidelines.

We expect to make a decision about the spring semester by November 30.

Staff

We are finding that working from home benefits staff in many ways. Even after the pandemic is over, we will be an organization that encourages that staff work from home when possible. 

Curtis is exploring a variety of ways to provide staff with reasonable accommodations so that they may continue their remote work effectively. If you believe you require additional, reasonable accommodations to continue your remote work through the fall, please speak with Trisha Carpino about your specific situation.

 

Going forward, we expect that most staff will work from home all or most of the time. 

Staff who are currently permitted to come to campus for essential work functions may continue to do so during the fall; however, these staff will only be permitted on campus based on a predetermined schedule. This is being developed by Trisha Carpino, who will reach out to you about your availability. If you need one-time access, to retrieve items from your office, please contact Nan Alderson.

Anyone entering the Curtis campus is required to self-assess their own symptoms and is not permitted to enter the campus if they answer “yes” to any of the following questions:

  • Have you been within six feet of a person with a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 for at least five minutes, or had direct contact with their mucus or saliva in the past 14 days?

  • In the last 48 hours, have you had any of the following symptoms?

  • Fever of 100 F or above, or fever symptoms such as alternating chills and sweating

  • Cough

  • Trouble breathing, shortness of breath, or severe wheezing

  • Chills or repeated shaking with chills

  • Muscle aches

  • Sore throat

  • Loss of smell or taste, or a change in taste

  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

  • Headache 

Face coverings must be worn at all times while inside Curtis campus buildings, except when alone in your office. Face coverings can be any covering that goes over both the mouth and nose, including but not limited to cloth masks, bandanas, and disposable surgical masks.

You should also practice social distancing while on campus, maintaining the CDC-recommended physical distance of 6 feet between you and the nearest person, as much as possible.

 

If a staff member who has been on campus tests positive for COVID-19, they must report their positive test confidentially to Human Resources, who will ask contact tracing questions to determine if any other Curtis community members may now be at risk. When speaking with other community members as part of a contact tracing procedure, Curtis will not release the name of the individual who tested positive. Curtis will simply inform those on the contact tracing list that an individual with whom they may have been in contact with recently has tested positive, that they should be monitoring their condition for the next two weeks while working from home, and should practice aggressive mitigation.

At this time, the facilities are not available for practicing, but some exceptions may be made for extenuating circumstances. Please speak with Dean Bryan about your unique situation.

We will make a decision about the spring semester by November 30.

Audiences and Prospective Students

Throughout our remote operations since March, we have offered a multitude of new and favorite performance content on our social media channels, and we intend to continue these offerings throughout the fall. In addition, we are making plans to broadcast new recital performances during this time. 

Stay abreast of all Curtis performances by signing up to receive our This Week at Curtis newsletter. You may also wish to subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow us on Facebook

Unfortunately we must postpone the fall Curtis Symphony Orchestra and Curtis Opera Theatre performances. New dates and further details will be announced when they are available.

 

We expect to announce the status of our spring semester and performances by November 30. Please check this page again for this announcement, or sign up for Curtis’s e-News to receive the information in your inbox.

Yes. We understand, however, that much can change between now and the normal audition period next February and March. While live auditions are our preferred method of listening to applicants, Curtis (and our peer institutions) are exploring various ways to hold auditions through prerecorded submissions and/or low-latency connections.

The Curtis campus is currently closed to visitors, including prospective students, alumni, donors, and audience members. In addition to our website, we invite you to enjoy the Curtis experience on social media (@CurtisInstitute), or to sign up for our e-News or This Week at Curtis newsletters.

Other questions?

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