School of Music's COVID Protocols

Dear School of Music,

As we prepare to open Baylor's campus and welcome back students for the Fall/2020 academic semester we share with you the School of Music's COVID Protocols. This document is intended to help promote understanding on how we will work together to mitigate the most serious health crisis the world has known in our lifetimes.  This webpage will contain our most current protocols, and it will be updated whenever necessary.

Associate Dean Randy Umstead has overseen the creation of this document with input from School of Music administrators, faculty, and staff; advice from administrators and offices all across Baylor; and through research-based knowledge shared across the nation and world. Covid Protocols represents our best effort to understand the current knowledge being disseminated on how music can be safely made at this point in time. As future developments become known to us we will communicate them to all members of the School of Music.

Please read this document with great care and attention. These guidelines provide our best chance at staying open to in-person instruction. It will take our collective efforts to reach our common goal to make music together this semester.

With warm regards,
Gary Mortenson,
Dean, School of Music
Baylor University

Updated September 9, 2020 (Originally posted August 13, 2020)


General Information

Singing and the playing of brass and woodwind instruments generate aerosol particles, particles smaller than respiratory droplets, in some cases at a comparable level to speaking.  In other cases, musical activity can produce aerosols at a much greater level than speaking or normal breathing.  While all Baylor University policies apply to the School of Music, the administration of the School of Music and Baylor University have developed policies specific to activities within the School of Music because of this particular aspect of our discipline.  These policies have been developed through a detailed review of the available scientific research, coordination with facilities management, and involve the collaboration of the dean, associate deans, division directors, and area coordinators.  We intend to begin this semester cautiously and safely.  As the situation on and around campus evolves, this guidance may also change, either to become more permissive or restrictive.  Please check our website for updates to these policies.

Some of our activities generate aerosol particles which may be infectious, are invisible, and are why we must adhere to more restrictive policies than the campus at large.  For the purposes of these guidelines, aerosol-generating activities include singing, woodwind, and brass playing. 

Each day, every member of our School of Music family should complete a self-screening here before entering a campus facility or participating in musical activity with others.  Faculty, staff, and students should not enter any School of Music facility or participate in any School of Music activity if they are symptomatic, have an active coronavirus infection, or are under investigation for a coronavirus infection until they have met Baylor’s criteria to return to campus.  For students, that means they must be cleared to return by Baylor’s Health Services, and faculty and stuff must follow Baylor’s Return to Work/Fitness for Duty Policy.

While this guidance is directed specifically toward music activity, students, faculty, and staff should follow all university, state, and local guidance at all times to minimize the spread of COVID-19 within our community. It is important to recognize that any one person’s choices may have a profound impact on others, and the Christian value of placing others above oneself is paramount at this particular moment in our school’s history. 

This document cannot address every instance where aerosols might be produced.  If you have a question about your activity, please ask. Any exceptions to this policy must be approved by the dean’s office.

Building Use

  • Building use is restricted to current Baylor students registered for music courses, faculty, and staff ONLY.  School of Music facilities may NOT be used for teaching private lessons or lessons to minor children.  These lessons can instead be taught virtually. Freelance pianists are a potential exception to this policy, and each pianist must be approved by the dean’s office before they may enter School of Music facilities.
  • Classrooms, performance halls, and sectional rooms may only be used if reserved in Astra.  If a room is vacant during the day, it is likely intentionally left vacant to allow for air exchange. Space usage without reservation is prohibited.
  • Students, through faculty, may reserve spaces from 6pm-11pm, Monday through Friday, for faculty and/or student use, per our interim room reservation policy.  Any room reservation during the day, whether related to a class or not, must be approved by Dr. Jacobson or Dr. Umstead before being scheduled in Astra. 
  • Reservation requests must include a list of participants and the type of activity involved.
  • When students are playing inside our performance halls and classrooms, they should be masked, using bell covers on wind instruments, and collection devices for brass instruments.
  • Rooms should be returned to their original condition as a courtesy for those using it after, particularly with the time constraints we have under our Covid-19 precautions.

Ventilation/Mechanical Systems

  • All campus spaces will be reviewed by Aramark for ventilation to ensure adequate air exchange and increased input of fresh air.
  • Supplemental mechanical solutions such as air purifiers, and air filters will be installed where necessary.  These air purifiers must be kept running continuously and should not be moved from their assigned location.

Cleaning and sanitizing

Practice Rooms and Pianos:
  • There will be routine daily cleaning by Housekeeping.
  • The practice room area will be supplied with disinfecting wipes. Please do not remove these wipes from the practice room hallway.  Students will be responsible for wiping down surfaces, doorknobs, light switches, and other high-touch areas before and after use. 
  • It will be the student’s responsibility to clean piano and organ keys in practice rooms and faculty’s responsibility in studios, piano maintenance staff will ensure that keys are wiped down after their work on instruments. 
Teaching studios and office spaces:
  • There will be routine daily cleaning by Housekeeping.
  • Facilities will provide hand sanitizer to occupied offices as available.  We encourage faculty and staff to bring their own to supplement university efforts. 

Density and Building Traffic

  • Each instructional space should have a maximum capacity posted on the door by the beginning of the semester.  If it does not, please notify the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
  • Chairs that may not be used in order to maintain social distancing will be labeled.
  • Traffic patterns, directional stairways, and specific entrance and exit doors have been clearly marked.
  • Minimum 6-foot distancing required in all spaces.
  • Congregating before/after classes, lessons, or rehearsals is prohibited.  This includes (but is not limited to) the locker and lounge areas in McCrary Music Building.  Music facilities should be considered to be spaces for study, practice, rehearsal, and performance, rather than for socialization.
  • Faculty should account for the additional time it will take to follow directional exits when releasing classes.
  • Classrooms and performances spaces may only be used when reserved in Astra. The spaces will intentionally be left empty during portions of the day to allow for adequate air exchange. 

Face coverings

  • Face masks are required to be worn according to Baylor Interim Face Covering Policy.  School of Music activities will have additional face masking requirements, and they are listed in the relevant sections of this document.
  • Face shields are not an acceptable substitute for a facemask, per Baylor policy, but they may supplement a face mask.
  • All Baylor students will be provided with two facemasks as part of a welcome kit.  Surgical-style facemasks will also be provided by the School of Music.  Information on how to obtain these surgical-style facemasks will be provided later.  Faculty and students should not wear the same mask for playing or singing as they do for the remainder of their day.
  • Signage reinforcing the community of the masking requirements are posted at entrances and throughout School of Music facilities. 

TA Offices

  • Graduate teachings assistants who share offices must develop schedules with their officemates that allow for appropriate 6-foot distancing, and they may not exceed the posted occupancy on larger offices.
  • Baylor’s face covering policy must be followed whenever more than one person is in a TA office.
  • All rules below for applied lessons also apply to lessons taught by TAs.

Applied lessons

General
  • Unless designated as online, all applied lessons will be designated as hybrid courses.  Instructors will be given latitude within the safety guidelines below for the organization of the online vs. face to face components of each applied lesson course.  Collaborative pianists and applied students also retain the right to refuse to participate in face-to-face rehearsal for any reason, without penalty.
  • Within the hybrid approach, faculty should affirmatively seek out student preference for online vs. face to face learning.  If students prefer online applied lessons, the request should be granted without any penalty.  If faculty prefer to offer online lessons rather than face to face lessons, that request should also be granted without penalty.
  • By the beginning of the semester, the School of Music will have a variety of solutions for conducting virtual applied lessons with high-quality audio and low latency.  Additional information is available on our website at https://www.baylor.edu/music/index.php?id=971832
Private lessons for strings, harp, percussion, piano, organ, composition, and use of labs  
  • Masking for all participants at all times
  • Teaching studio must accommodate social distancing of 6ft
  • Lessons of no more than 50 minutes
  • 15-minute room vacancy between each lesson to allow for adequate air exchange
  • Daily disinfection following Baylor recommendations
  • Faculty/students responsible for cleaning of music stands, piano keyboards, and other surfaces via disinfectant wipes before and after each lesson.
Private lessons for Woodwinds and Brass
  • Surgical-style or dual-layer fabric masks required for all individuals.  Players must wear masks (fleece gaiters or bandanas are not sufficient indoors) with a slit for the mouthpiece as well as bell covers. Flute players can put the headjoint between their mouth and mask and use a “flute sock” attached to the foot, or a Win-D-Fender.  Bell covers can be made from pantyhose made of 80 denier in 2 layers or from surgical-style masks held tightly around the bell by a rubber band. These items will need to be provided by students who may consult with their applied teacher for further guidance.
  • Face to face lessons in MMB of no more than 30 minutes; remainder of lessons should be delivered virtually or scheduled as two separate face to face sessions of 25 minutes each
  • 20-minute room vacancy in the studio between lessons to allow for air exchange
  • Teaching studio must accommodate social distancing of 6’x6’ (9’x6’ for trombone) minimum
  • Daily disinfection per Baylor recommendations
  • Faculty/students responsible for cleaning of music stands, piano keyboards, and other surfaces via disinfectant wipes before and after each lesson
  • Practice condensation valve etiquette.  Each student must provide a small, absorbent pad that can be disposed of after each lesson.
  • Instrument bell should not be directed towards others 
Private lessons and coachings for Singers
  • Surgical or dual-layer fabric masking for all participants at all times
  • Face to face lessons of no more than 30 minutes; remainder of lessons should be delivered virtually or scheduled as two separate face to face sessions of 25 minutes each
  • 20-minute room vacancy in the studio between lessons to allow for air exchange
  • Teaching studio must accommodate social distancing of 6’x6’ minimum for all persons
  • Daily disinfection by Aramark per Baylor recommendations
  • Faculty/students responsible for cleaning of music stands, piano keyboards, and other surfaces via disinfectant wipes before and after each lesson 
Studio classes
  • Studio classes must not exceed the approved 6’ capacity of the assigned room (9’ for trombone)
  • Studio classes for voice, woodwinds, and brass are limited to 30 minutes of live music making, with 20 minutes left for proper air circulation before reuse.
  • Performers must remain masked at all times. 

Departmental Music Hours/Degree Recitals

  • These events must not have an audience, but they may be live-streamed and/or recorded for required viewing.
  • Performers should arrive backstage no more than one performance in advance of their own to prevent overcrowding
  • Performers must remain masked except while performing with appropriate physical distance (greater than 6’, if possible) and a portable HEPA air purifier placed near the performer. 

Ensemble classes and chamber music

General
  • With the exception of Marching Band, ensembles must meet virtually (and not in person) for the first week of class, and they are encouraged to meet virtually for the second week of class.
  • Indoor rehearsals may only be of 30 minutes duration, followed by 20 minutes to leave the space empty for air circulation.  Campus Orchestra will be allowed to rehearse for 45 minutes to reduce building congestion upon release from rehearsal.
  • For music majors who adopt an online-only schedule, students will not be required to participate in an ensemble.  Music scholarships will not be impacted by this decision. If students with an online-only schedule wish to participate in an ensemble, each possibility will be addressed on a case-by-case basis with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.  Each ensemble is different in nature, and some more readily facilitate remote participation than others.
  • For students who adopt an online-only schedule, chamber music, in nearly all cases, will only be allowed if needed to complete a degree requirement for a 2020-2021 planned graduation. 
Instrumental Ensembles and Chamber Music
  • Surgical-style or dual-layer fabric masks required for all individuals.  Players must wear masks (fleece gaiters or bandanas are not sufficient indoors) with a slit for the mouthpiece as well as bell covers. Flute players can put the headjoint between their mouth and mask and use a “flute sock” attached to the foot, or a Win-D-Fender.  Bell covers can be made from pantyhose made of 80 denier in 2 layers or from surgical-style masks held tightly around the bell by a rubber band. These items will need to be provided by students who may consult with their applied teacher for further guidance.
  • Social distancing of 6’x6’ for strings, piano, percussion, most brass, and woodwinds, and 9’x6’ for trombones
  • Rehearsals of no more than 30 minutes with 20-minute minimum room vacancy between each group to allow for adequate air exchange.
  • When using the MMB Tent, the vacancy period is a minimum of 5 minutes. Masks and bell covers are still required outdoors.
  • Daily disinfection by Aramark per Baylor recommendations
  • Wind and brass instrument bells should not be directed towards others
  • Practice condensation valve etiquette.  Each student must provide a small, absorbent pad that can be disposed of after each rehearsal.
  • Faculty/students responsible for cleaning of music stands, piano keyboards, and other surfaces via disinfectant wipes before and after each lesson 
Choral Ensembles and Opera classes
  • Medical or dual-layer fabric masking required for all individuals at all times, including while singing
  • Social distancing of at least 6’x6’
  • Rehearsals of no more than 30 minutes with 20-minute minimum room vacancy between each group to allow for adequate air exchange
  • When using the MMB Tent, the vacancy period is a minimum of 5 minutes. Masks are still required outdoors.
  • Daily disinfection by Aramark per Baylor recommendations
  • Faculty/students responsible for cleaning of music stands, piano keyboards, and other surfaces via disinfectant wipes before and after each session 

Practice Rooms

  • Practice rooms are for practicing ONLY.  Baylor has several tents on Fountain Mall that are air-conditioned, have power outlets, and high speed internet for students who need a space to join an online class.
  • Most McCrary practice rooms now have a sign affixed to the front of the door, detailing a two-step process.  Please do the following, in this order:
    • Review room availability: Use a smart phone or tablet to scan the first QR code using the device’s camera, or type the URL listed directly below the code into a web browser, to view the practice room’s Check-in and Check-out spreadsheet.  This spreadsheet will display, chronologically, all logged check-ins and check-outs from that room.  Wait a MINIMUM of 15 minutes after the last check-out before using the practice room.
    • Check-in and check-out:
      • Check-in: Before entering the practice room, use a smart phone or tablet to scan thesecond QR code using the device’s camera, or type the URL listed directly below into a web browser, to view the practice room’s Check-in and Check-out Form.  Select “Check-in” when entering.

      • Check-out:Check-out is completed using the same form used for check-in—scan the QR code (or type in the URL) for the practice room’s Check-in and Check-out Form.  Select “Check-out” when leaving and after sanitizing the room the keyboard and doorknob. 

  • Most practice rooms will only allow for one occupant; occupancy limits will be posted on practice room doors.
  • Please thoroughly wash hands before and after using a practice room; wipe keys with a disinfecting wipe before usage (do not use a bleach-based wipe)
  • HEPA air purifiers will be placed in practice rooms and must be left running at all times
  • Practice rooms must be vacated for 15 minutes between users to allow for proper air exchange 

Course modalities

  • No singing, wind, or brass playing activities should be done in a class situation without having prior approval from the dean’s office.
  • Courses will be taught in a variety of in-person, hybrid, blended and online versions this fall.
  • Students are welcome to reach out to their professors directly with questions re: the specifics of their courses as each professor is handling instruction differently.
  • Students who have adopted fully online only schedules will be moved into separate sections of existing F2F or hybrid classes.  These sections will be labeled online only. 

Recruiting activities

  • Baylor has moved all fall recruiting events online, and Baylor is increasing our efforts to recruiting using online tools.
  • To match Baylor’s actions regarding university-wide recruiting events, all School of Music recruiting efforts for Fall 2020 will be online only.  It is essential to minimize the introduction of people from outside the Baylor community to campus buildings during the Fall 2020 semester.
  • Sample lessons for prospective students may not be taught in-person.
  • Recruiting will remain online only until replaced by additional guidance from the dean’s office.
  • Baylor will be hosting virtual Invitation to Excellence and Distinguished Scholar Days specific to the School of Music, and faculty will be invited to participate in these events.

Meetings

  • All meetings must be held virtually and not in-person.  

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