2020-21 Academic Planning Update

Thursday, Jun 18, 2020
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Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

This summer is a time of great change in our nation and in the world. We are all experiencing the effects of a health crisis and great uncertainty as to what the future holds. In addition, we have once again been tragically reminded of how imperative our community’s anti-racist work is for all of us as artists and as citizens. We are encouraged by the work of so many who are engaging in and contributing to these urgent issues, and we are grateful for your steadfast work in continuing to build our community.

As we move forward with our planning for the 2020-21 academic year, we want to update you on the progress that has been made so far. While a great deal of uncertainty remains about what the next few months will look like in terms of public health, New York City has made remarkable progress, and we believe we can meet the many challenges we face in safely restarting in the fall.

In this email, we want to share the guiding principles that we will follow as we finalize our plans, and solicit further input and feedback from you, our community. We know you are eager to hear the full details of our reopening plans; our goal is to share more details by the end of June.

The plans we are working on now are being created with input from 14 working groups comprising over 70 members of our staff and faculty, taking into account feedback from student and faculty surveys as well as input from Juilliard Student Congress representatives.

As we shared in our recent college summer term announcement, we are fully committed to delivering the highest quality educational experience possible. To do this, we are reinventing the academic calendar and reimagining how our educational content can be delivered with maximum flexibility, all with an eye toward meeting or exceeding the guidelines recommended by policy and public health experts.

Through a mix of both online and in-person learning, our goal is to offer a full Juilliard curriculum of performances, academic courses, skills-based courses, and group/studio work. Determining which activities should occur on campus, and under what social distancing guidelines, will be driven by governmental and public health expert guidance tailored to Juilliard’s unique environment.

While many unknown factors remain outside of our control at this time, we are proud of the plan that is taking shape and committed to operating at the point where the highest safety standards meet the highest excellence in educational experience. Our guiding principles are listed below, and we will email you as our plans develop.

Our sincere thanks to everyone who has provided valuable input, comments, questions, and feedback during the planning process. If you would like to send further thoughts, please write to [email protected] by Monday, June 22. Juilliard students, faculty and staff members can also refer to the list of working groups on MyJuilliard to reach out to working group chairs.

Our planning process and these outcomes are once again demonstrating the strength and resilience of our community, and we will continue to work together as we plan for the year ahead.

With gratitude,

Adam Meyer
Provost Designate

Ara Guzelimian
Provost and Dean


Student Learning:

  • Through a mix of both online and in-person learning, we are building multiple on-ramps toward reoccupying the building as we strive to offer a full Juilliard curriculum of performances, academic courses, skills-based courses, and group/studio work. We aim to provide access to classrooms, studios, theater and concert spaces, the library, practice rooms, and large instruments (pianos, harpsichords, harps, organ, percussion) as health guidelines permit. In many cases, we will expand what we have traditionally offered, through opportunities such as the summer term, virtual projects, and other enhancements to the curriculum.
  • Flexibility is key. We are reimagining the academic schedule in a new format that breaks up the year into smaller blocks. This will spread coursework over an extended academic calendar stretching into June. This will allow everyone maximum flexibility and make it possible to quickly and easily adapt as needed to changing health requirements.
  • Throughout the year, we will strive to offer performance opportunities led by our world-class faculty and guest artists. We will perform for live audiences if and when possible as well as through high-quality livestreaming, recording, and virtual projects.
  • We are working to support faculty in effectively delivering online and hybrid classroom experiences that do not simply "transplant" in-person courses but also reflect Juilliard's standard of excellence.
  • We are also developing a technology plan to provide faculty and students with equipment support to aid in online teaching and learning.

Health and Safety

  • In consultation with health consultants, we are designing new protocols for building access, including entry, queuing, health screening, and testing methods. Although details about which screening and testing methods (such as temperature checks, apps, self-certification, and/or others) have not yet been specified by governmental authorities, we are planning to meet or exceed local health and safety guidelines. Once our spaces are ready and equipped for reoccupancy, we will fully communicate how and when students, faculty, and staff may use the building.
  • We are studying the logistics of combining in-person and remote classroom learning, studio instruction, and performance experiences. These may include changes to physical spaces, such as using larger rooms to assist in social distancing, installing Plexiglas partitions, or adopting improved technology for remote teaching and group learning.
  • We are carefully following the emerging professional literature regarding higher risk activities such as singing, playing wind instruments, and taking part in dance, drama, and large ensembles. We will also follow best practices for technical staff working in back-of-house areas.

Engineering and Logistics

  • Our Facilities working group, aided by outside expert engineering advice, is preparing plans to reduce the density in the Diamond Building and the Residence Hall. They are taking many factors and spaces into consideration, including circulation paths, elevator and stair usage, common spaces, teaching and rehearsal studios, practice rooms, classrooms, restrooms, administrative offices, sleeping spaces, and more.
  • We are being guided by Centers for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and other authoritative guidance for improved air quality, including filtration, ventilation, humidification, and building controls. We will continue intensified building cleaning and provide cleaning materials for those in the building to maintain the cleanliness of shared spaces, equipment, and instruments between users.
  • We are also reviewing technology needs for scheduling software in order to best manage occupancy, room assignments, and other scheduling and space allocation matters in a dedensified setting.

People, Places, and Practices

  • The health of our community depends to a great extent on everyone's understanding and embrace of good hygiene practices. We will follow governmental guidance about social distancing, mask requirements, and other behavioral protocols, and we will communicate these expectations clearly. Everyone will need to make these practices a regular part of how we each contribute to the health and safety of the community.
  • The faculty and administrative staff will continue working remotely until health safety conditions allow for a return to the building. As the year unfolds, clear guidance will be provided about when they need to work in the building and when they should work remotely. Scheduling will also optimize building usage to reduce density and to make accommodations for those facing health challenges.
  • Meetings between and among faculty, staff, and students will be done remotely or in meeting rooms with reduced capacity to accommodate 6-foot physical distancing.
  • We will have a clear and restricted guest policy, and all meetings with guests such as acquaintances, alumni, donors, vendors, or consultants will take place remotely. Guest artists working in-person with students will be permitted pending health and physical distancing guidelines.
  • The Library will support online learning through a robust collection of digital resources and will offer curbside pick-up for physical materials. Access to reading rooms, special collections, and the media center will be provided as conditions allow.

Rose Building and Residence Hall

  • Following the advice of medical professionals and applicable state guidance, we are looking at making all Residence Hall rooms single occupancy and developing procedures for shared bathrooms. We will also provide additional cleaning supplies and trainings, professional cleaning, and improved air quality in the Residence Hall. The Residence Life team is working on a new room reassignment plan and will provide additional housing guidance to those who are unable to live in the Residence Hall due to the reduced occupancy.
  • We are studying changes that may be necessary for other spaces, such as our cafeteria, gym, laundry, and health suite. We are also reviewing emergency protocols, trainings for residence life staff, and other procedures based on guidelines provided by the CDC for group living facilities.
  • Juilliard shares the Rose Building with other Lincoln Center constituents, and we are working closely with Lincoln Center to agree on a set of operating principles that prioritize our student and staff safety.

Budget Planning

  • Through the budgeting process, we have prioritized resources so that we can increase financial aid, add a summer term, improve online learning delivery, enhance livestreaming capabilities, improve classroom technology, eliminate doubles in the residence hall, provide grab-and-go meals, and make other additions to the student experience, consistent with the overall long-term financial health of the school.