With Thanksgiving Recess upon us, we want to take a moment to thank you all for the care you have shown the community, for undertaking remote work with excellence, and for adhering to the health and safety guidelines thus far for our work in-person.
As we are heading into a holiday period we are in an extremely dangerous moment in the COVID-19 pandemic. Yesterday saw yet again a new record high number of new virus infections in the United States, and that number is expected to continue to rise as is the tragic death toll from this global crisis. Given this, we want to remind you of the vital importance of the following:
- As you celebrate the holiday, we strongly encourage you to follow the protocols of Juilliard’s Community Pledge, as well as the CDC’s recommendations for staying safe during the holidays. According to the CDC, “postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year.” The CDC has also said, “People who do not currently live in your housing unit, such as college students who are returning home from school for the holidays, should be considered part of different households.” They also advise that celebrating virtually or only with the people you live with is the safest choice this Thanksgiving. If you do choose to attend a gathering against this guidance, you should keep your gatherings small, maintain physical distance, and keep up healthy practices like hand washing, gathering in well-ventilated spaces, and wearing a mask. We encourage you all to review the CDC’s guide to celebrating Thanksgiving this year. We remind you again that COVID-19 cases are currently rising, and as individuals, we are responsible for making sure we do everything possible to not contribute to that spread. It is vital that we all maintain our community safety standards while away from school in order to safely return.
- We strongly discourage travel at this time following the updated health guidance from Governor Cuomo’s office. However, if you must travel, be prepared to fill out the New York State Traveler Health Form on your return, and be aware that regulations are in flux as the virus infection rate rises, and that changes to government guidance may impact your ability to rejoin campus activities. Depending on your destination, you will also need to complete specific Juilliard and state-mandated testing and quarantine requirements in order to resume in-person activities following the break.
- For students who are traveling: In addition to the above state-mandated requirements, you must also fill out the Student Travel Form as soon as possible. Detailed information regarding testing and quarantine requirements will be provided to you after you submit this form.
We know that this guidance runs counter to Thanksgiving traditions and that these guidelines and restrictions may be very frustrating, yet it is even more critically important that we follow medical and governmental advice in this moment.
At the same time, we want to note that our Block 2 activities (through December 18) remain in place as previously planned, despite the announcement from New York City about the closing of K-12 public schools. Our plans are governed by the State of New York’s detailed guidelines for colleges and universities, and we are in regular contact with state officials. However, the city’s decision to close the public schools is a good reminder of the need to remain vigilant in our efforts to keep the community safe.
If and when there are positive cases within the Juilliard community, our Covid Response Team immediately begins their work contact tracing, notifying, and providing resources and support to those impacted. Please know that if you do not receive a call from our Covid Response Team, there is no further action you need to take. As a reminder, you can always see a report of cases within the Juilliard community by viewing the New York State School Report Card.
Despite the many challenges and uncertainty, there remains so much within the Juilliard community that we can all be thankful for this holiday. We want to take this opportunity to thank Juilliard’s staff and faculty for their dedication and tireless efforts in keeping us safe and enabling our work to move forward. And special thanks to those in the building regularly who are on the “front lines” including the facilities, public safety, health services, and Residence Life teams, and our new COVID response and testing coordination teams.
Thank you for your collective efforts to maintain the health and safety of our community. We wish you a safe and peaceful break.