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MSM 2021-2022 COVID-19 Guidelines

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The latest information about COVID-19 protocols for the the 2021-2022 academic year at Manhattan School of Music

Updated Mask Policy on October 18, 2021

Please scroll down to read our full policy located further down this page.

In order to maintain and provide these updated guidelines, we need your cooperation. By practicing the protocols outlined in the bullet points below, you will help make sure that we keep the Community as safe as possible and provide all of you the opportunity to do the best artistic work possible:

  • Communicate with the Covid Response team (covidresponse@msmnyc.edu) if you have delayed PCR results due to backlogs at testing centers. Staying on top of this communication is vital to us moving forward in our masking policies. Students who fail to follow the protocol will be required to wear a mask until their next testing cycle.
  • We’ve had reports that individual room air filters are being turned off. Air filters must remain on at all times. DO NOT under any circumstance turn them off. If you are having issues with the air filters, please email Bryan Greaney (BGreaney@msmnyc.edu)
  • Voice groups over 5 people must be masked. This applies to Junior Opera Theatre, Senior Opera Theatre, Opera Scenes, Opera Theatre, and Musical Theatre Productions.
  • Fully vaccinated Staff and Faculty members must continue to mask in all areas while on campus except when actively eating or drinking. Unvaccinated students, faculty, and staff are still required to wear masks at all times.

Only remove your mask when actively participating (see full policy below).

Full Policy as of October 3, 2021

The following guidelines only apply to fully vaccinated College students who choose to participate (students in the majors referenced above may choose to remain masked and forego testing). Students who obtained exemptions or who have not reached fully vaccinated status must continue to wear a mask at all times, with no exception.

Musical Theatre 

Performing without a mask is allowed only under these conditions:

  • While actively participating in scene work during an acting class
  • While actively singing in voice lessons
  • While actively performing during rehearsals and performances
  • During all rehearsals where hair/makeup/microphones are used for the duration of rehearsal

Masking is still required in the following settings:

  • Dance and other movement classes
  • Ensemble voice classes
  • All academic classes where performance is not required
  • During an acting class while not actively participating
  • In rehearsals and lessons when not actively participating

Vocal Arts 

Singing without a mask is allowed only under these conditions:

  • While actively singing in voice lessons
  • While actively participating in diction, song literature, and performance classes
  • While actively participating in scene work during an acting class
  • While actively performing during rehearsals and performances excluding choral ensembles
  • During rehearsals where hair/makeup are used during the duration of rehearsal

Masking is still required in the following settings:

  • Dance, movement, and Alexander technique classes
  • Ensemble performance classes, including choral ensembles
  • During diction, song literature, and performance class while not actively participating
  • In rehearsal, while not actively participating
  • All academic classes where performance is not required

Brass and Woodwinds (Jazz, Classical, OP, and CPP) 

We will no longer be requiring the use of bell covers for fully vaccinated students. Playing without a mask is allowed only under these conditions:

  • While actively participating in lessons
  • While actively participating in chamber music ensembles
  • While actively performing during performance classes
  • While actively performing during orchestral rehearsals and performances

Masking is still required in the following settings:

  • During class, while not actively participating
  • In rehearsal, while not actively participating
  • All academic classes where performance is not required
  • Masking is also expected during extended periods of rest or tacet movements


Updated Mask Policy Effective August 24

Masks required indoors

All faculty, staff, students, and approved vendors/guest artists must wear masks when indoors through at least October 1 in all settings, including lessons. A faculty or staff member may remove their mask only when:

  • Alone in a teaching studio/office;
  • Eating and drinking in designated areas like the cafeteria, personal office, or studio.

No member of the MSM community, regardless of vaccination status, may remove or be asked to remove their mask during class or performance-related activities.

Mask Materials

Masks must be made of suitable material: fabric, KN95, N95, KF94, or surgical masks are all acceptable;

Neck gaiters, scarves, or masks with vents in them are not acceptable.

Area Specific Mask Requirements

Voice/Musical Theatre

All voice and musical theatre students and faculty must wear a mask when in auditions, rehearsal, lessons, or performances.

Winds, Brass Players

All winds and brass players must utilize both a mask designed for playing AND a bell cover when in auditions, rehearsal, lessons, or performances.

  • The mask may have a single, straight slit of approximately 1-3 inches to allow the mouthpiece/reed to pass through. The slit must close around the mouthpiece/reed when it passes through. Larger slits, cutouts, or holes are not acceptable.
  • Masks may be either surgical masks with an appropriately sized slit cut in them, or commercially available masks designed for playing that meet the above requirements.
  • Students are responsible for procuring masks that meet our requirements.
  • Performance venues will have surgical masks and scissors available if needed.
  • Anyone observed in violation of this mask policy will be subject to disciplinary action, including expulsion or termination.

Campus Improvements since March 2020

As a majority of faculty have not been on campus since March 2020, I want to provide a summary of important environmental improvements made as we prepared for the last academic year, when more than 500+ students and approximately 85 faculty were on campus for instruction.

  • In Summer 2020, MSM consulted with a mechanical engineer who evaluated all our various HVAC setups on campus. The engineering firm provided recommendations that aligned with industry guidance to reduce the risk of airborne exposure.
  • We implemented mechanical equipment to improve fresh airflow and filtration. In instances where that was not possible (primarily some practice rooms, teaching studios, and offices in the main building), we invested in air filter units for those rooms.
  • 150 air filtration units from AtmosAir have been installed. These units are primarily located in the Main Building, specifically in teaching studios, practice rooms, and offices.
    • The units incorporate a multi-layered filtration system, which includes HEPA, UV sterilization, and an ionizer.
    • These environmental elements are still in place and will be utilized through this year.
  • 21 studios/classrooms have Zoom and WiFi capabilities. The equipment, viewable in one of the attached photos, will be available for use along with our permanent audio cabinets installed in most classrooms.