June 3, 2020

Dear students, conservatory faculty and staff,
One of the hallmarks of the CIM experience is the sense of community – the “something special” here in Cleveland – where we have an enviable mix of competitive spirit and supportive encouragement. The events of the past semester were truly like no other in CIM's 100-year history, and it was inspiring to see students, faculty and staff colleagues come together with such purpose and thoughtfulness. As we look toward fall, we build on that same foundation with this breaking news:
The fall 2020 semester will start with music! We will begin, in person , on Monday, August 10 , primarily with lessons, chamber music, orchestra and opera activities. We will forgo October's fall break and conclude on-campus instruction on Friday, November 20. Classroom instruction will follow a slightly different calendar, in order to create the most performance opportunities possible, while reducing the risks associated with travel to and from campus.
In consultation with faculty division heads, the deans and senior administration have crafted a student-centered plan that uses time in shared spaces to make music, maximizes performance opportunities while observing best practices in physical distancing, minimizes interactions outside of the CIM community, and creates safeguards to curtail potential disruptions. It also preserves the 15-week semester, albeit in a non-traditional configuration.
This plan reflects our current understanding of the best practices for distancing, and follows the guidance available from our state health department and national health agencies. There are still challenges to overcome, but we want to be as forthcoming as possible so that you can plan for the 2020-21 academic year.
Making music
  • Studio instruction (applied lessons) for conservatory students will take place in person. Individual faculty members and students with health concerns may choose to conduct virtual lessons. Students unable to be in Cleveland on August 10 may start lessons virtually, delay some lessons to December, or use a combination of both, as determined in consultation with their teacher.
  • Chamber music and New Music Ensemble rehearsals and coachings will take place in person. Rehearsal spaces will be clearly marked with occupancy limits, and appropriate safety precautions should be used at all times.
  • Orchestra placement auditions will take place in person. There will be several chamber orchestra concerts plus additional programming to ensure a musically rigorous experience.
  • Opera auditions will take place in person. We are planning to begin with an opera scenes program this fall, stage a full production in February and conclude with two additional special projects in the spring.
  • Student recitals, especially those that were rescheduled from spring, can occur. It is not yet clear when visitors and concert audiences will be welcomed to campus, so students should plan for their friends and family to attend virtually through CIM’s Livestream platform.
Classroom instruction
  • CIM classes (music theory, eurhythmics, pedagogy, lit, etc.) will begin August 24. Although in-person instruction will conclude on November 20, these classes will shift online for two final weeks after Thanksgiving.
  • CIM and our educational partner CWRU plan to offer classes as “dual delivery,” meaning that students may attend the same class section either in person or online. This allows students who are not yet in Cleveland to access their coursework virtually.
  • CIM students should plan to attend their CWRU classes online (with some specific exceptions) – this reduces both the personal risk of exposure and the risk of carrying the virus to other members of the CIM community. These classes will follow CWRU’s academic calendar, which is expected to be announced later this week.
Residency & Returning to Cleveland  
  • All students are welcome to campus starting Monday, July 27; those living in the residence hall will move in August 6-9. (Please note that CIM’s building is not currently open to students.)
  • International students who are waiting for visa appointments or facing other travel restrictions should stay in touch with International Student Advisor Kristen Zalar. Based on the individual situation, she will help construct an academic plan.
  • All students – regardless of when they arrive on campus – will have full access to all of CIM’s services, including the health and mental health services provided by CWRU, career advising, academic advising, the library and more.
  • Most importantly, all enrolled students will be able to take lessons and attend classes no matter their physical location, backed by our assurance that we will be flexible and creative about ensemble participation requirements.
Campus preparations
  • A variety of measures are being put in place to help protect the campus community, including: application of a medical-grade disinfection treatment that provides six months of protection from the transmission of 99.9% of germs and viruses on treated surfaces (read more); additional cleaning focused on commonly touched surfaces, as well as the regular nightly building cleaning; building and installing clear plastic shields for offices, studios, security desks and classrooms; and installing additional permanent hand sanitizer stations throughout the building. More details are in the online Safety Measures FAQ.
  • All students will be expected to comply with CIM’s health and safety protocols, and those of CWRU when on their campus.
  • Safety protocols are subject to change at any time, but for planning purposes, anyone in CIM’s building must wear a face covering (mask, bandanna, etc.) over the nose and mouth in all shared or public spaces (with specific accommodations made for wind players), and complete a temperature and health screening upon entry each day. All CIM community members should expect these measures will be necessary for some time.
Over the next 2-3 weeks  
  • We will share more details with you about specific topics, including residence life, class and ensemble schedules, placement auditions, new student orientation and our response plan for a positive or suspected COVID-19 case, as well as dates for some online student forums to discuss outstanding questions.
  • Studio faculty will be reaching out to new and returning students to begin planning for the fall.
Please consult the extensive FAQ at cim.edu/return-to-campus/conservatory for more information; if you have questions that are unique to your personal circumstances, please be in touch with the Dean’s office (students and faculty) or your supervisor (staff). Our aim is to create an environment that is as safe and comfortable as possible for the entire CIM community, and craft solutions that provide as much peace of mind as possible. As we’ve learned in the past months, this will require us all to remain somewhat flexible, as conditions change.
It is also our intention to set the academic calendar for Spring 2021 by September 1. (In a typical year, classes would start on January 11, but we are considering shifting that date, also.)
While none of us can predict what the future holds, we eagerly await the return of music and musicians to CIM. It is our fervent desire to see you all soon, and, until then, we wish you and your loved ones good health.
Paul W. Hogle, President | CEO
Judy Bundra, PhD, Chief Academic Officer and Dean