Fall Restart Plans

We are so happy to welcome students back to campus this fall but that does not mean business as usual. There are several changes to our procedures due to COVID-19. Your health and safety are top of mind as we plan for activities to resume using the best available guidelines to reduce the spread of disease. Our plans are still in flux and will be influenced by the governor's orders and industry best practices.

College of Fine Arts Students and Families:

I want to share with you a few thoughts about our plans for your return to college this fall, or your first days joining us as new students. This site should be one of your primary sources of information until you arrive on campus. I understand you have many questions. I share your feelings. Although we do not have all of the answers yet, we will update the information here regularly. Please check this page frequently for the most current information. 

You see in the daily news many of the changing reports that we are reading and the differing guidance on best practices for safely returning to school. Add to that the very unique nature of the many experiential opportunities we have in the College of Fine Arts, and you have a complex problem to resolve. Good news–we are creative people and you are resilient students, or you would not have been accepted into one of our nationally ranked programs. Together, we will figure this out. 

Faculty and staff in our college have been working many hours every day, meeting, researching, talking to colleagues nationally and even internationally, and planning for our Restart Plan. This includes five different options for class delivery (see details below) that best deliver content safely while covering everything you need to grow. We are determining the right sized classroom, the right social distancing (this is not 6 feet for dancers, who need nearly twice that, or singers who need up to four times that space, given current data!) for your program. We are planning how we will interface with our patrons safely so you can still perform and exhibit your work. Life will clearly be different on campus, but your experiences will be just as profound and as important in your educational development.

Please contact us if you have questions that you can't find answers for here, but keep looking at this page. Soon you will see a simple sheet detailing the key factors about life on campus this fall. Over the next weeks, you will find detailed plans that cover every aspect of your classes, activities and what to expect this fall at WMU.

I look forward to seeing you this fall and the creative masks I know you will all be wearing. The College of Fine Arts awaits your arrival!

Dan Guyette, Dean

Illustration of two dancers in studio wearing masks.

What will fall look like?

When you return to campus, you will do so to smaller in-person class sizes while practicing physical distancing, using face coverings and studying in indoor spaces that are maintained using heightened sanitation procedures. 

Read the Safe Return Plan

Class formats

All courses at WMU are offered in five formats: in-person, hybrid, asynchronous online, fully synchronous online and partially synchronous online. You will now be able to see these designations when you register for courses so you can choose classes that will best support how you learn.

In-person Traditional classroom work that meets at certain times and locations. Undergraduates billed at the main-campus tuition rate.*
Hybrid A combination of classroom and online work and meeting times.
Asynchronous online Online classes that do not require you to meet at scheduled times. Undergraduates billed at the online tuition rate.*
Fully synchronous online Online classes that meet at scheduled times like an in-person class.
Partially synchronous online Online classes that have some synchronous and some asynchronous instruction.

Wondering about the format of your classes? Check out the dance classes offered this fall with detailed information about how they will be delivered. Art class formats are now available. For other majors, ask your advisor.

*Graduate tuition is based on resident status and assessed at the same per-credit-hour rate for all semesters, summer sessions, and regardless of the student’s primary registration location (main campus, regional site or online). 

Students social distancing in a classroom with masks on.

Academic calendar

Classes begin on Sept. 2. In-person instruction for most classes will end on Nov. 20 and distance education will resume. Final exam week will be online from Dec. 14 through 17 and the semester ends on Dec. 19.

Plans by area

  • Art

    This is a draft pending University approval. Changes will be made as more information is available.

    Art class formats Product design procedures

    Procedures for ceramics students

    • The ceramics area will be limited to 10 non-Ceramics BFA students at a time to allow for social distancing and movement.
    • Students will use MS Bookings to schedule outside-of-class work time in 2 hour periods - 10 student limit per period.
    • We will be working on the wheels as well as handbuilding.
    • Students will be assigned individual space and equipment that will be cleaned after use.
    • Returning Ceramics BFA students will have socially distanced studio spaces.
  • Dance
    • Masks will be required for all dance faculty, staff, and students including for dance technique classes and rehearsals. 
    • In addition to employees, students will be asked to complete a daily health screening through the GoWMU portal prior to entering dance spaces and will not be allowed to participate in in-person classes or activities if they answer yes to any of the following questions:
      • Have you been advised to quarantine by a health care provider or public health professional and still under that advice?
      • Do you have a fever of 100.4 F or higher?
      • Do you have symptoms of respiratory infection (cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing)?
      • Have you had a sudden loss of taste or smell?
      • In the last 14 days, you have been in close proximity to someone who is confirmed to be COVID-positive?
    • Hand sanitizer will be available in all dance studios and locker rooms.  Students and faculty will “pump-in” and “pump-out” of dance studio spaces. 
    • In addition to thorough cleaning by the custodial staff, which includes the use of hospital-grade disinfectant, dance studio floors will be cleaned with isopropyl alcohol or alcohol-based disinfectant between dance classes, and touch-surfaces such as ballet barres and equipment will be cleaned with alcohol wipes between every class.
    • A minimum of 10’ of social distance will be maintained during all movement experiences in dance studios.
    • Studio entrances and exits will be marked to provide one-way flow patterns to minimize congestion points.
    • Lockers in locker rooms will be assigned to provide a minimum of 6’ social distance

    Dance faculty and staff have reviewed all dance spaces to establish COVID-capacities for dance studio spaces based on recommendations by National Dance Educators Association, Dance USA, and best practices being used by the industry at this time. A minimum of 10’ of social distance will be maintained for all movement practice with an additional perimeter maintained around the edges of the studio and space for instructor and musicians as appropriate. Studio floors will be taped to indicate 10’ spacing and perimeters. COVID-capacities for dance studio spaces are as follows: 

    Rm# 

    Common Name 

    Square Footage 

    COVID-capacity for dance 

    1006 Dalton 

    Multimedia Room/MMR 

    4071 

    2000 ft. of danceable space 

    20 students/dancers 

    1 instructor, 1-2 musicians 

    3118 Dalton 

    Studio A 

    1904 

    12 students/dancers 

    1 instructor, 1 musician 

    3116 Dalton 

    Studio B 

    2719 

    15 students/dancers 

    1 instructor, 1-2 musicians 

    3110 Dalton 

    Studio C 

    1324 

    8 students/dancers 

    1 instructor 

    3115 Dalton 

    Studio D 

    498 

    1 student/dancer 

    1 instructor 

    3129 Dalton 

    Conditioning Room 

    429 

    Faculty-use only, 2 persons 

    Locker rooms will be limited to use by dance majors only, lockers will be assigned to students in advance of the start of the semester to ensure no two students are using lockers within 6’ of each other at the same time based on class registration for in-person classes. Students are encouraged to arrive wearing dance clothes under street clothes to minimize the time in locker rooms. 

    One-way flow patterns for entrance to and exit of dance studios and locker rooms will be taped and indicated with signage. For example: students will enter Studio A from the clean foot corridor and exit from the east end hallway door. Faculty will enter/exit through the west end door closest to Studio B. 

    At this time, we anticipate that dance students WILL be able to reserve and use dance studios. Students will be required to follow all studio safety guidelines outlined above. Additional details on use and safety measures are in development. 

    Class Information

    The practices above were developed by dance faculty and staff following guidelines of the CDC, the Michigan Safe Start Plan, MIOSHA, Dance/USA and National Dance Educators Organization guidelines, Event Safety Alliance and the Kalamazoo COVID-19 Public Health Guidance to Reopen Workforce and will be modified in accordance with any and all protocols developed by the University at large.

  • Music

    Bands

    The Bronco Marching Band has submitted a separate restart plan to cover the large number of

    Concert bands

    Maximum allowed students (+ 1 conductor) in Rehearsal B, Recital Hall, or comparable large spaces is 4-16 people at one time. Maintain six-foot spacing or 10-foot spacing for certain instruments.

    1. Arrangement of musicians in straight-line rows, not arcs, to avoid direct spread to other musicians.
    2. Use of nylon bell covers and screens to reduce aerosol buildup.
    3. Remaining members of ensemble watching/listening online during relevant portions.
    4. Shorten in-person rehearsals to limit aerosol buildup.
    5. No talking without a mask. Masks must be replaced when performers are not playing.
    6. Performers will bring their own music stands.
    7. Some rehearsals may move outside if allowed.

    Rotate sections throughout portions of each rehearsal.

    For example, a week in Wind Symphony might look like the following:

    Monday
    11:00-11:45 flutes/oboes/clarinets (11-16 players)
    11:55-12:40 saxophones/bass clarinets/bassoons (7-10 players)

    Wednesday 
    11:00-11:45 trumpet/horns (7-12 players)
    11:55-12:40 low brass (5-9 players)

    Friday 
    11:00-11:50 percussion (4-8 players)

    Ensembles may or may not give live performances, depending on restrictions determined by the university.

    Orchestra

    Strings do not cause significant spread of aerosol, masks and 6-foot distancing are sufficient. If winds are included, they will be used in smaller numbers (8-10 max). Rehearsals will be 30 minutes of playing, 30 minutes break outside the room, and 30 minutes playing to reduce aerosol buildup.

    Choirs

    Choirs will make use of hybrid instruction. Rehearsals will be limited to sectionals and chamber ensembles of 4-12. Repertoire will be a combination of chamber music, amplified music for choir, latency-driven premieres online, and full-ensemble pieces to be performed in the spring and recorded as a “virtual choir.”

    Sample Schedule for University Chorale:

    M, 11-11:45am: Octet #1 (or sopranos)
    T, 11-11:45am: Octet #2 (or altos)
    W, 11-11:45am: Octet #3 (or tenors)
    Th, 11-11:45am: Octet #4 (or basses)
    F, 11-11:50am: Online discussion

    Sample Schedule for Anima/Collegiate Singers:

    WEEK 1

    Each student chooses one rehearsal to observe that isn’t their own and chooses one special topic to complete through online learning.

    M, 12-12:50pm: Octet #1
    T, 12-12:50pm: Octet #2
    W, 12-12:50pm: Octet #3
    Th, 12-12:50pm: Online discussion

    WEEK 2

    Each student chooses one rehearsal to observe that isn’t their own and chooses one special topic to complete through online learning.

    M, 12-12:50pm: Octet #4
    T, 12-12:50pm: Octet #5
    W, 12-12:50pm: Octet #6
    Th, 12-12:50pm: Online discussion

    Full class meetings with proper social distancing of 6 feet between students and no singing (listening and discussion only) if the class size falls within university limits. Students submit practice recordings to be graded by GAs on non-rehearsal dates.

    Safety Recommendations:

    • Regular testing for students and teachers.
    • Temperature taking and symptom evaluation before each meeting.
    • Rehearsals in large rooms with good airflow.
    • Staggered entry.
    • A minimum of 15-25 feet between singers should be allowed.
    • Rehearsals should not exceed 45 minutes.
    • Sanitization before and after rehearsal.
    • Chairs removed from the room to limit surfaces needing to be sanitized.
    • Microphones covered with filtering fabric and sanitized and/or individual mic kits (with cables) for each singer.
    • Monitors away from singers.
    • Performances would be live-streamed or pre-recorded and live-streamed.

    Ensemble topics as lectures, readings, and assignments taught online:

    • Vocal pedagogy for the ensemble
    • Tone flexibility and technique
    • Ensemble diction guidelines
    • Mock auditions for professional choirs (with online feedback from real directors.
    • Guided listening assignments, discussion, and performance reviews.
    • Skype sessions with composers of the repertoire.
    • Premiere latency-driven compositions by the composition studios so that “large ensemble live performance” is included in curriculum

    Convocation (weekly seminar for all undergraduate music majors)

    Convocation will take place using live-streaming technology to eliminate or reduce (whichever is appropriate given phase) the in-person audience. Students will view the live stream through eLearning and take a short quiz to show attendance/comprehension. Live streams will be recorded and stored for students that need to access the convocation in an asynchronous manner.

    Jazz Ensembles

    Jazz ensembles will use guidelines similar to band for reducing the number of students in a rehearsal and shortening rehearsal times. Bell covers and screens will also be used.

    Vocal jazz will use larger spaces for rehearsal, large distance spacing with amplification and personal monitoring.

    Applied Instruction (one on one instruction in voice and instruments): Voice and wind-driven instruments will use hybrid instruction, with each student having no more than two in-person lessons per month (instead of one per week). Remaining weeks will be online instruction or the submission of high-quality recordings for evaluation by faculty.

    In-person instruction will take place in classrooms for instruments that spread aerosol heavily (larger than private studios usually used). In-person instruction will be limited to 30 minutes for voice, 45 minutes for other wind-driven instruments (clarinet, trumpet, etc.). Lessons will be spaced to allow for aerosols to clear the room between lessons. HEPA filtration units will be used as available. Masks will be worn when not playing/singing, and especially when talking.

    Bell covers and nylon screens will be used as appropriate.

    High-quality microphones for online lessons will be available to students and faculty.

    Low latency technology will be used as possible.

    Applied Instruction for Strings, Piano, Percussion: These instruments do not spread the virus through aerosols while performing. They will still use hybrid instruction to reduce the in-person contact between a large number of students and one (or two faculty). In-person instruction will take place with masks worn at all times, and with appropriate social distancing.

    Shorter time periods (than winds) will be allotted between in-person lessons to clear aerosols from room.

    Multimedia Arts Technology (MAT) Classrooms and Studios and Piano Classrooms

    Computer labs will follow the restart protocols included in the Office of Information Technology restart plan. Workstations will be reduced to allow for social distancing in all labs. Cleaning of surfaces/equipment will take place by students after using them.

    Many subjects in MAT will be taught online using free/inexpensive available tools. A smaller number of courses require in-person instructions (Recording and Live Sound being two examples). Those courses will employ mask usage, social distancing, and disinfecting of surfaces and equipment after use. Computers and audio equipment require special cleaners without bleach. Those have been identified and ordered.

    Computer classroom and group piano classroom are having equipment co-mingled to allow for both rooms to be used for one in-person class with social distancing and mask usage.

    Practice Rooms

    Practice rooms are an area of particular concern, as they are small, usually highly used by a number of people within a single day, and do not have great ventilation for clearing of aerosols during and after usage.

    Practice rooms will be color-coded either gold or brown. Half the rooms will be available to use for one hour, with the other half having doors propped open to ventilate. Usage will switch on the hour throughout the day. Trolls (students working in the Concerts Office) will monitor the hourly switching of rooms, and disinfect shared keyboard surfaces and doorknobs.

    Students are being encouraged to practice at home when possible. Not all students will be able to do so, but we are confident that enough students practicing at home will reduce the number of students in the building using the practice rooms throughout the day.

    Professional Education (Music Education and Music Therapy)

    Courses will follow hybrid course models similar to classroom and applied instruction similar to their delivery. Students use school instruments in these courses. Checkouts will happen by appointment. Students keep instruments by unit, turning in at end of unit. Normal cleaning after a sufficient waiting period (72 hours) will take place. There will be no sharing of mouthpieces.

    General music methods and music therapy practicum courses use shared instruments (percussion, shakers, etc.). These instruments are mostly plastic, and they will be cleaned by students after using them. When possible, gloves will be used by students, supplied by the faculty.

    Shared instruments checked out by music staff will have a 72-hour waiting period between different people checking out the instrument.

  • Theatre
    • Masks will be required for all Theatre faculty, staff, and students including for classes and rehearsals. 
    • In addition to employees, students will be asked to complete a daily health screening through the GoWMU portal prior to entering Theatre spaces and will not be allowed to participate in in-person classes or activities if they answer yes to any of the following questions:
      • Have you been advised to quarantine by a health care provider or public health professional and still under that advice?
      • Do you have a fever of 100.4 F or higher?
      • Do you have symptoms of respiratory infection (cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing)?
      • Have you had a sudden loss of taste or smell?
      • In the last 14 days, you have been in close proximity to someone who is confirmed to be COVID-positive?
    • Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the building and frequent use is expected.
    • Every class, shop, theatre and office will have specific disinfecting protocols that will be shared with students, staff and faculty.  Strict adherence to these protocols are expected of everyone.
    • A minimum of 6’ of social distance will be maintained during all classes.  If there is any work that requires less than 6’ of social distancing, additional precautions (e.g. face shields) will be employed
    • Classroom and theatre entrances and exits will be marked to provide one-way flow patterns to minimize congestion points wherever possible.
    • All classes in Gilmore will be modestly shortened to ensure that there is no congestion at class passing time and to allow for cleaning in between classes.

    Performance classes:  We will not hold acting classes in the acting studio.  All acting classes scheduled for the studio will be moved to Williams Theatre or the Atrium Lobby.  York classes will remain in York with seating units removed to increase available space.

    Design, and Mgmt classes:  Only every other computer station will be available in the computer lab.  Thus professors may choose to split the class into groups who will meet on alternate days in the studio. The number and size of groups will depend on the number of students registered.  On alternate days, learning will be virtual. 

    Stagecraft:  Professors will split the class into smaller groups for work in the shops. The number and size of groups will depend on the number of students registered.  A rotating schedule will be established and part of the course will be online.

    History and script classes:  Music Theatre History will be online with some synchronous meetings.   Theatre History and Script Analysis will both be fully online classes.  Development will be delivered face to face in a sufficiently large classroom to allow for social distancing.  At this juncture, Script Analysis for Production will be a hybrid, with some online components and either synchronous meetings or face to face meetings.

    Musicianship and Vocal Ensemble:  Professors will split the class into smaller groups for work; groups will depend on the number of students registered.  May include some synchronous, virtual learning.

    Voice lessons:  Considering the small space in which lessons are scheduled, to ensure safety voice lessons will continue online.  Your professors expect to meet with you face to face for some organization and prep at the beginning of the semester to ensure everyone is all set for the semester.

    The practices within this document have been developed following guidelines of the CDC, the Michigan Safe Start Plan, MIOSHA, A.E.A Guidelines, Event Safety Alliance and the Kalamazoo COVID-19 Public Health Guidance to Reopen Workforce and will be modified in accordance with any and all protocols developed by the University at large. 

Events

  • The health and safety of patrons, performers and employees is always our priority.
  • This plan was created using Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s MI Safe Start Plan enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, incorporating the phases of that plan and their stated conditions as guiding principles.
  • The procedure can move back to any previous phase if an outbreak occurs.
  • All recommendations contained herein are subject to university, local, state, and national regulations and policies.
  • Outdoor experiences will be prioritized when possible.
  • Seating or audience participation will ensure that persons not part of the same household maintain at least six feet of distance from one another.
  •  All live performances are live-streamed or recorded and edited for presentation later, when possible, based on licensing requirements. Gallery exhibitions will also be shared in online formats when reasonably possible.
  • Tickets/reservations will be required for all events to control audience seating and social distancing, through Phase 5. All tickets are sold in advance only and will include a time when the patron is to arrive. There will be no onsite ticket sales. Tickets also provide a mechanism for contact tracing should a patron be positively diagnosed.

 

Phase 1: Uncontrolled Growth and Phase 2: Persistent Spread

  1. No live performances.
  2. Events are pre-recorded video presentations provided by artists or virtual events produced by departments.
  3. Patrons access free content via department websites or other streaming and/or social media platforms.
  4. If an event has an admission charge, patrons purchase tickets through departments, and ticket contains event-specific information for online access.

Phase 3: Flattening

  1. Live performances permitted in some spaces and to include a small group of performer(s) only, with restrictions based on the art form. Only the necessary production or management staff are present. No live audience is present.
  2. Performer(s) and employee(s) must wear face masks and face shields when appropriate, and observe social distancing at all times, even during the performance or event. No props or materials would be shared by performer(s).
  3. Performer(s) and employee(s) to complete self-screening health evaluation no earlier than one hour before scheduled performance time.
  4. Patrons access free content via department websites or other streaming and/or social media platforms.
  5. If the event has an admission charge, patrons purchase tickets through departments, and ticket contains event-specific information for online guest access.
  6. Program information made available online for patrons to access on their personal electronic devices.
  7. All university-owned equipment left onstage following a performance will be cleaned by CFA appropriately trained personnel.
  8. Only one event per day will be permitted in any venue.
  9. Prerecorded events will continue to be made available online.

Phase 4: Improving

  1. Live performances permitted in select venues. Small audience permitted adhering to state limitations.
  2. Performer(s) and employee(s) must wear face masks and face shields when appropriate, and always observe social distancing, even during the performance or event. No props or materials would be shared by performer(s).
  3. Performer(s) and employee to complete self-screening health evaluation no earlier than one hour before scheduled performance time.
  4. Patrons access free content via department websites or other streaming and/or social media platforms.
  5. If event has an admission charge, patrons purchase tickets through departments, and ticket contains event-specific information for guest access.
  6. Program information made available online for patrons to access on their computers/tablets or mobile devices.
  7. Traffic flow will be managed, when reasonably possible, to ensure that guests are moving one-way through all spaces. Enough staff, properly trained, will be necessary to assist in managing social distancing among patrons. House Managers in area to check social distancing and face masks, distributing masks to those without. Infection Mitigation Coordinator is on-site to reinforce policies.
  8. To facilitate a no-contact environment, tickets will either be scanned or patrons will show tickets on their phones. Events may also utilize a door list.
  9. Program information made available online for patrons to access on their personal electronic devices.
  10. All university-owned equipment left onstage following a performance will be cleaned by appropriately trained personnel.
  11. Only one event per day will be permitted in any venue.
  12. Prerecorded events will continue to be made available online, based on licensing restrictions.

Phase 5: Containing

  1. Live performances permitted in select venues. Larger audience permitted adhering to state limitations.
  2. Performer(s) and employee(s) must wear face masks and face shields when appropriate, and always observe social distancing, even during the performance or event.
  3. Performer(s) and employees to complete self-screening health evaluation no earlier than one hour before scheduled performance time and take temperature at the door.
  4. Patrons access free content via department websites or other streaming and/or social media platforms.
  5. If event has an admission charge, patrons purchase tickets through departments, and ticket contains event specific information for guest access.
  6. Program information made available online for patrons to access on their computers/tablets or mobile devices.
  7. Traffic flow will be managed, when reasonably possible, to ensure that guests are moving one-way through all spaces. Staff will assist in managing social distancing among patrons. House Managers in area to check social distancing and face masks, distributing masks to those without. Infection Mitigation Coordinator is on-site to reinforce policies.
  8. To facilitate a no-contact environment, tickets will either be scanned or patrons will show tickets on their phones. Events may also utilize a door list.
  9. Program information made available online for patrons to access on their computers/tablets or mobile devices.
  10. All university owned equipment left onstage following a performance will be cleaned by appropriately trained personnel.
  11. Only one event per day will be permitted in any venue.
  12. Prerecorded events will continue to be made available online, based on licensing restrictions.

Phase 6: Post-Pandemic

  1. Live performances permitted in all venues. Audience size limited by venue capacity only.
  2. The number of performers limited by stage size only.
  3. Performer(s) and employees not required to wear face masks nor observe social distancing guidelines.
  4. Performer(s) and employees to complete self-screening health evaluation no earlier than one hour before scheduled performance time.
  5. Patrons wishing to attend remotely access content via the department websites if event is free admission or through dedicated paywall sites.
  6. Stanchions and cords removed from lobby. Open access to venue entrances and seating, unless event has reserved seating. Relaxation of social distancing guidelines and the use of face masks, and employees not tasked with enforcing either.
  7. Program information can be available in printed form for patrons attending event in person and online for patrons attending remotely.
  8. Multiple events will be permitted per day in some venues on all days of the week, as was the procedure before the pandemic.
  9. Prerecorded events will continue to be made available online, based on licensing restrictions.

Drafted July 16, 2020