Conservatory interim policy for Fall 2021

James Day, Director of the Sunderman Conservatory of Music, updates the Conservatory community regarding guidelines for the Fall 2021 semester.

Dear Sunderman Community,

I hope this finds you well as you prepare to begin the Fall 2021 semester. We are excited about the many things we will achieve together this year!

In light of the College’s new interim policy effective August 23 requiring all individuals—regardless of their vaccination status—to wear a mask while inside campus buildings, I am writing to share some important updates regarding additional guidelines for Conservatory activities this fall.

In consultation with members of the College administration and our health consultants, Keeling & Associates, we have determined that it is prudent to add some additional levels of mitigation for activities involving singing and the playing of wind instruments—activities that produce high levels of bioaerosols and, therefore, higher risks of transmission compared to most other activities.

Effective Monday, August 30, all individuals participating in a music related activity on campus, including Gettysburg College students, faculty, and staff, as well as contractors, vendors, visitors, and guests, are expected to abide by the following policy while inside campus buildings. The following policy also applies to official College activities off campus, such as a performance by a College ensemble in the community, so long as the activity itself is permitted under College policy:

  • Masking: Consistent with College’s interim policy, all individuals—regardless of their vaccination status—must wear a mask while inside campus buildings, including while singing or playing their instrument. This policy applies to all activities, including lessons, rehearsals, performances, and when practicing alone in College facilities.
    • Wind players should wear a modified mask (with slit for mouth piece) while playing and a standard mask when not playing. Flutists may use an air deflector attached to the head joint while playing, but return to masking when not playing.
    • The only exception to this policy, in addition to those listed in the College policy, is when a student is practicing alone in their assigned residence hall room, apartment, or off-campus housing unit as long as practicing is permitted in these residential spaces, or when an employee is alone in their personal office or workspace.
  • Bell Covers: In addition to masking, wind players must use bell covers when playing indoors in ensemble settings involving 12 or more persons.
  • Distancing: In addition to masking, all vocalists and wind players must maintain physical distancing of at least 3 feet from others while playing or singing indoors, including in lessons and ensemble settings.
  • Airtime: Activities, such as rehearsals and performances, involving more than 12 persons singing and/or playing wind instruments, should be followed by a vacancy to allow for at least one full exchange of fresh air in the activity space (a minimum of 1 hour for most large ensemble spaces, such as the Majestic main stage and Paul Recital Hall).
  • This policy may be relaxed if early cycles of surveillance testing of unvaccinated/exempted students do not show positives and the conditions in Adams County (vaccination rates, case numbers, etc.) improve.
  • In activities and settings not involving singing or the playing of wind instruments indoors, no additional airtime or distancing is required and only the College’s masking mandate applies.

Please keep in mind that these policies and guidelines are subject to change as circumstances evolve and new information becomes available. If you have questions about any of the items specific to the Conservatory covered in this email, please email sundermanreturn@gettysburg.edu. More general inquiries may be directed to covidupdates@gettysburg.edu.

Thank you for your ongoing cooperation and flexibility during these challenging times. Let’s create great music together at Gettysburg College!

With best wishes,

James M. Day, DMA
Director, Sunderman Conservatory of Music