As we mark the end of this first school week, I am writing to thank you for the personal accountability and care for our community you have demonstrated. Already, with the start of online classes, a stirring virtual convocation, limited student and faculty use of the building, and the first small group of students moved into the Residence Hall, I am proud of the way everyone has rallied together to start this academic year.
Your well-being and that of our entire community are of the utmost importance. So as we move forward into the school year, I want to provide you with an important reminder about our health and safety expectations. I am sure you have all seen the unfortunate reports from other college campuses around the country that point to a sharp rise in infections, in many cases due to some students’ disregard for health requirements and social distancing guidelines on and off campus—especially concerning are the reports of unsafe gatherings. I want to stress that our health guidelines and the Community Pledge apply to all. Faculty and staff are receiving their own communications regarding this extremely serious issue which has grave health implications for individuals and for the entire community. We rely on each other for our mutual well-being, and reckless behavior by any community member cannot be allowed. In this crisis, irresponsible behavior at other institutions related to COVID safety guidelines has resulted not only in disciplinary action for those involved but also in many schools being forced back into remote learning for the safety of their communities.
This potential reality has been underlined by the New York State Department of Health in their recently announced strict guidelines for college campuses, which would require us to move to a fully online learning environment for a minimum of two weeks should cases at Juilliard reach certain thresholds. These guidelines leave little margin for error, and appropriately so.
Thanks to a sustained period of low positive test results, New York City continues to open up in a variety of ways. As it does, and especially as we head into the holiday weekend, it’s vital that each of us takes steps to ensure that we are part of the solution. While we have full faith in the Juilliard community to act responsibly and in consideration of one another's health and safety, and have thankfully thus far received no reports suggesting otherwise, we must continue to impress upon everyone the importance of strictly abiding by our Community Pledge. This is essential whether you are on campus or off campus, and applies to all members of the community: students, faculty, and staff.
To quote our Community Pledge: “Any disciplinary actions to address violations will be administered in accordance with our Student Code of Conduct.” To be completely clear, violations of the Community Pledge will result in disciplinary action which may range from restricting certain school activities and access to the campus, up to suspension or dismissal from the School for serious offenses. While we hope that our commitment to one another's well-being—and to the school remaining open for everyone—is reason enough to abide by the Community Pledge, please be very aware of the seriousness of these consequences and act accordingly both on and off campus.
As always, students may report concerns, including violations of the Community Pledge, by filling out this form.
I would also encourage you to watch this wonderful video on the importance of wearing masks, put together by Juilliard students on their own initiative, and previously shared with all incoming students during orientation. Also, be sure to take advantage of the many ways you can interact with your peers by checking out the weekly e-blast from the Office of Student Affairs. The e-blast, which is sent on Sundays, highlights upcoming programs and includes other important announcements, resources, and support services.
As we have said many times, we are in this together—we will thrive together if we each take seriously our individual responsibility for the collective group. Your actions affect not only your own health but the health of everyone in our school community.
Have a restful—and socially distanced—holiday weekend.