Contact the BW COVID-19 Response Team at the 24/7 helpline at (440) 826-7787 or send an email to

Updated January 5, 2022

We stand together at the boundaries between individual responsibility and institutional responsibility as we continue to meet the challenges presented by the pandemic. Our important work together must continue — safely. Spring semester 2022 challenges each of us to renew our shared commitment to safe music-making and to one another. Through our collective efforts, the BW Conservatory of Music will remain 99% in-person this term. Until further notice, the following will be our Conservatory COVID protocols.

Booster Shots

Because aerosol producing performance can be considered a high-risk activity, everyone in the Conservatory is eligible and encouraged to get a booster shot if they have been previously fully vaccinated.

BW will offer a Walk-in Vaccine and Booster Clinic on Monday, January 10 and Tuesday, January 11 in the Strosacker Union, Sandstone 2, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Open to students, faculty and staff. You'll need your picture ID for a booster and your COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card.

Local pharmacies, some grocery stores and local health systems offer booster appointments simply by scheduling a convenient time online:


At this time, the only time one can be unmasked in the Conservatory is when in a room alone. All aerosol producing performance (singing and wind playing) will be masked, preferably with N95, KF94 or KN95 masks. This includes private lessons, ensembles, and rehearsals with staff accompanists for both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. All BW students, faculty and staff may pick up two (2) KN95 masks on January 10 or 11 from the lobby of Strosacker Union. Additional KN95 masks are available for purchase from the BW bookstore, Home Depot, Lowe's, Amazon or other sources. No gators will be permitted on campus.

If N95 or KN95 masks are not possible for a particular activity, then multi-layered cloth masks with three layers of MERV-13 material should be used instead. MERV-13 material can be obtained at the Conservatory Main Office while supplies last. MERV-13 material can also be purchased at Home Depot, Lowe’s, or online through vendors such as Amazon. MERV-13 material can be re-used but should not be run through a washing machine. Instead, hand wash it apart from the outer cloth mask. All masks should cover the nose and mouth and seal against the skin--not have openings for air to escape.

Because wind instrument mouthpieces and/or reeds pass through an opening in the mask, these masks cannot seal as well as the other masks listed above. Because there is no better alternative at this time, wind players should continue to use the same type of masks that were used during fall term.

There will be a zero tolerance policy for being unmasked in the presence of others.

Surveillance Testing

During the month of January, all unvaccinated residential and unvaccinated performing arts students are required to complete weekly COVID-19 testing. Additionally, a percentage of vaccinated residential and performing arts students will be selected for weekly surveillance testing. Information on surveillance testing will be sent weekly to those required to complete testing.

Contact Tracing

The CDC definition of a close contact has not changed (15 minutes of contact within 6 ft.). Since BW no longer recommends formal distancing, students will be sitting closer than 6 feet to one another. If positive cases emerge, faculty may be approached by contract tracers to identify the students seated within 6 feet of the infected student during a class. To reduce large numbers of students being placed in quarantine, teachers may find it wise to use a seating chart for their classes. BW also expects faculty to maintain hybrid or blended instruction for students in quarantine or isolation. Everyone is encouraged to respond promptly to contact tracers.

De-Densifying Conservatory Spaces

People should reduce in-person non-academic congregating in public places within the Conservatory. Students, staff and faculty should consider holding meetings and non-instructional meetings online. Faculty may wish to consider meeting in small in-person groups when instructionally appropriate to meet learning outcomes.

Faculty may wish to consider offering studio classes online to de-densify our spaces and also to avoid the potential infection of multiple students within a single studio. Students living in off-campus housing are advised to practice and take remote lessons from their residence when possible. This opens campus facilities for other students.

Class Attendance Expectations

Students do not choose how to attend classes. Class attendance policies are established by faculty. Students who are symptomatic will be provided access to instructional materials. Students or Faculty who wish to study or teach remotely for the entire semester must receive written approval from the University Provost. Faculty will be monitoring attendance in both in-person and hybrid settings.

Delivery of Instruction

Faculty who teach aerosol producing activities (choirs, wind bands, wind chamber groups, classes with any singing or wind playing) should consult with Associate Dean Young about the safety thresholds for those activities, using the MIT software. Projections are made based on a positive student in the room and can be estimated for multiple positive students in the room. This MIT software has recently been updated to include the Omicron variant. If you have questions about your courses and available facilities, please contact Associate Dean Young. Instructional questions should be directed to the appropriate Department Chair and/or Associate Dean Young.

All practice rooms now have network jacks which allow students to plug in their phones or devices into the campus network using an appropriate adaptor. This means private lessons can potentially be done via ZOOM with a hard-wired connection that was impractical in previous semesters.

Office hours can be held online and/or in-person.

Remote Instruction for Those with Symptoms

No one in our community should come into physical contact with others if you have symptoms or are under isolation/quarantine. This includes classes, lessons, rehearsals, and performances. Communicate clearly and promptly with all faculty and classmates if you are unable to attend class in-person. Public performances rely on a shared safety commitment from all involved. If one person in a performance attends a rehearsal or class while symptomatic, it puts the entire class, ensemble, or cast at risk.

Wind Player Rehearsals

Because their masks cannot seal as tightly, wind players are strongly encouraged to rehearse with other musicians in large spaces, not practice rooms. Staff accompanists and brass faculty have the right to request a classroom or larger space when having lessons or rehearsals with wind players. No staff accompanist should be compelled to rehearse in a practice room with a wind player. Staff accompanists will also not rehearse or perform with an unmasked student performer. Kulas 227, Kulas 322, Kulas 306, Kulas 308 and BMAC 006 have been mostly cleared of classes to assist in scheduling.

Bell covers will continue to be required (for brass players only) and will be enforced by the other musicians present.

Practice Rooms

Students must leave all internal practice room doors closed at all times to maximize the efficiency of the air cleaning systems.

All practice rooms now have network jacks which allow students to plug in their phones or device into the campus network using the appropriate adaptor. Since not all phones or devices are alike, you will want to find the appropriate adaptor for your phone.

Classrooms and Studios

1-2 inch openings in outdoor windows or doors can significantly reduce infection within a classroom space—particularly in the Kulas building. However, please close windows in BMAC teaching studios when alone in the room and open them only when more than one person is in the room.

Cleaning and changing filter in HEPA air cleaners around the Conservatory is continuing. If you see a red light on your HEPA purifier, please contact Joe Mijailovic at 440-826-3208.

Timers for all ionization units are being re-set.

Hand sanitizing stations are being refilled.

Practicing in Residence Halls

Music practicing should be prioritized in Conservatory designated spaces whenever possible. However, when access to Conservatory practice facilities is not possible, students who live alone in a BW residence hall can softly practice or record assignments in their rooms provided they open the windows and do not disturb neighbors more than two doors away (in keeping with residence hall quiet hours policy). For students who have roommates in BW residence halls, the roommate must first agree before any practicing can take place in the room. If the roommate agrees, then the noise must not disturb neighbors more than 2 doors away. Wind players and singers must also open the windows during the practice session, make sure the roommate is not present during the practice sessions. Please allow 30 minutes of silent ventilation time after each practice session. If the roommate does not agree, then the Conservatory student should instead consider recording in another designated practice space and then sending the recording to the professor later from another location with wireless or network access. Repeated complaints from the residential community could curtail this policy, so be wise about how you treat your neighbors. Students in Davidson Commons, Ernsthausen, and Carmel are not allowed to open windows due to the HVAC system in those spaces.

Shared Equipment

Other than keyboards (or occasional percussion instrument), no one should share instruments or mouthpieces. For information about the cleaning and sanitation of Music Education Instrument Room protocols, contact Dr. David Pope ( For information about the cleaning and sanitation of Percussion instruments, contact Professor Josh Ryan ( For information about the cleaning and sanitation of Music Therapy instruments, contact Professor Kara Caine ( For information about the cleaning and sanitation of school-owned guitars, contact Professor Bryan Reichert ( For information about Reed Room protocols, contact Professor Jeffrey Rathbun ( For information about Fine Instrument Room instruments, contact Destinee Siebe (

Food and Beverages

Since it requires the removal of a mask, no eating in public or academic spaces within the Conservatory is permitted. You are encouraged to dine outside or while alone in a private room in the Conservatory with the door closed. Drinking from water bottles in public must be done discretely, turning away from others.

What to do if You Become Ill

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been in direct contact with another individual who has COVID-19, please contact our COVID-19 contact tracing and management team at for direction. Notify your supervisor or department chair that you are ill. Employees who have a positive COVID-19 result will be subject to BW COVID-19 protocols:

  1. Faculty and staff who test positive for COVID-19 are required to isolate for five (5) days. If they are asymptomatic or their symptoms are resolving (without fever for 24 hours), they may follow isolation with five (5) days of strict wearing of a mask when around others to minimize the risk of infecting people they encounter.
  2. Individuals in isolation will complete a health review on the fifth day, which may include a COVID-19 test.
  3. Individuals identified by contact tracers as having risk due to close contact with those who have tested positive will follow the direction of contact tracers.
  4. Employees are expected to update their supervisor with their isolation status and expected date of return to work. Remote work modifications must be approved by their supervisor.

Outside Visitors and Audiences

Outside visitors and audiences will be welcome to attend events in the Conservatory based on the capacity of the room they occur in. All visitors are required to be masked and strongly encouraged to be vaccinated and boosted.

External visitors are encouraged to attend performances and large events via livestream when possible.

In addition to Gamble auditorium, we are continuing to expand our livestreaming capabilities into Fynes, Fynette Kulas, Kadel, and the Mainstage Theatre in Kleist. All visitors must follow Conservatory protocols.

Community Arts School instructors for aerosol producing instruments and voices are being encouraged to teach virtually during January.


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Questions about these protocols can be directed to Dean Susan Van Vorst at 440-826-2362 or Associate Dean Charles Young at 440-826-2373.

Closing Thoughts

Individual responsibility is the single most important aspect of these protocols. Protocols will not minimize our risk, only our actions will. All Conservatory community members are responsible for each others’ wellbeing, and every member of the community should feel obligated to offer respectful corrections to others who are not complying with the safety strategies, regardless of others' roles or positions. And, when receiving corrective feedback, one should accept it with genuine appreciation. These protocols must still be followed until further notice, even after recovery from a positive COVID case.

Open PDF to print Conservatory protocols.