On June 30, when we announced our plans to begin the fall semester with a mix of in-person and online classes, lessons, and ensembles, critical data measuring the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic were trending in a positive direction, supporting the idea of a cautious return to campus that would include applied and performance-related activity. In the weeks that have passed, the public health situation in Maryland and across the country has deteriorated, with worrisome signs that community transmission could accelerate in the weeks ahead, leading Peabody to now revisit these plans.
Accordingly, after much consideration, we have made the determination to return to fully remote instruction for the fall 2020 semester. We have come to this decision in consultation with leadership and public health experts across Johns Hopkins, with the health and safety of the Peabody community as our top priority, and in recognition of the unique challenges inherent in the Conservatory’s instructional model, including but not limited to recognizing that a preponderance of our inter-state commuting faculty would face significant challenges to being on campus. Please know that the different plans you may hear announced by Johns Hopkins University’s Homewood campus schools are driven primarily by differences in the size and nature of programs, classes, and activities between our schools and campuses.
While we are certainly disappointed not to be returning to campus in the short term, our preparations for the coming academic year have included a strong focus on strengthening our capabilities and infrastructure for remote instruction, given that under our previous plan all classroom instruction was slated to remain online and that most of our international students would be participating exclusively online. With this level of preparation, I am confident that our students and faculty together can now maximize the potential for artistic and educational advancement during these exceptional times.
If you have any questions that are not answered here, please contact the Office of Student Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org or 667-208-6700.
Our plan for a completely remote program includes applied lessons, chamber music and other ensembles, technique courses and repertoire studies – all areas we had previously planned to be able to offer in person. As noted, academic courses for this fall were already planned to be delivered in a fully remote format. Across the curriculum to prepare for this, faculty have been configuring courses which can be taken asynchronously, to accommodate students in all time zones.
With the very sudden move to remote teaching and learning last spring, we had to adapt very quickly to an unexpected reality. While there were some challenges in such a swift transition, many discovered surprising advantages to teaching and learning remotely, inspiring a fresh approach and new energy. Over the summer, building on those initial adjustments, faculty and staff have devoted more than 1,200 hours to learning best practices for remote instruction and course design and exploring a broad range of technology teaching tools through The Peabody Digital Teaching Collective. Peabody also shared its newly developed expertise with more than 3,500 artists and educators from around the globe in a series of Lunch-and-Learn webinars spotlighting innovative pedagogy. Additional trainings for applied faculty are ongoing even now.
Since spring, we have seen countless examples of artists both within and beyond the Peabody community harnessing technology to realize new levels of artistic achievement and inspiration. As we translate that creativity into our curriculum, students will be challenged to complete new performance-based projects rooted in technology. Ensembles will continue to offer a broad range of meaningful experiences for 21st-century artists. With many virtual opportunities available to us, students will engage in small and large group projects that build ensemble skills and community. Work will include virtual performance and collaborative ensemble projects; hands-on experience in recording for musicians; partnership with creators from across disciplines; conversations and workshops with esteemed musicians, dancers, composers, and conductors from across the country; and deep listening and diverse repertoire study.
The office of Academic Affairs continues to offer academic advising and tutoring services by phone or Zoom, and has updated the policies outlining options for deferred enrollment, part-time enrollment, and an alternative capstone project, very much in the spirit of finding creative performance modalities. While our faculty have spent the summer preparing courses to be delivered online, the Conservatory will extend the spring grading policies through December. Classes will automatically be graded without a letter grade, but students will have the option of selecting letter grades for some or all of their classes.
It is of course critically important that students and faculty have the proper technology resources to be successful in a remote education environment. To that end, Peabody offers detailed recommendations for computers, peripheral devices, and minimum network connectivity standards for students. JHU student discounts are available for some of the recommended devices, and financial aid may be available to ensure students have the tools they need this fall.
Beginning August 31, students will be granted limited access to campus practice rooms and dance studios for the sole purpose of solo practice. Practice Rooms will be available to students from Monday through Saturday between 12:00 pm and 6:00 pm and must be booked in advance. The maximum number of students on the campus at any time is 37. Under no circumstances will more than one person be permitted in a practice room at any time. Please read the full policy for details on procedural guidelines and required health and safety practices. Additional details about reserving rooms will be shared soon.
The Arthur Friedheim Library continues to make arrangements for remote access to its collections and materials, and LAUNCHPad is offering virtual career coaching appointments, online events to help students network and plan for their futures, and a curated selection of resources for artists.
The financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cut a deep swath across our country, our industry, and certainly our Peabody community. In the months since our initial response to this crisis, we have heard from many of you about the anxiety and hardship you are facing, and we understand the added pressure you are feeling around the cost of your education.
To offer some relief, and with the assistance of the University, Peabody will reduce the cost of attendance by making a one-time reduction in its planned fall semester tuition of 10%. At Peabody, this one-time tuition reduction applies to both undergraduate and graduate students.
In addition, Peabody continues to stand ready to assist all students with financial hardships that have emerged as a result of changing circumstances. Since spring, in fact, Peabody has been able to provide approximately $400,000 in additional aid due to COVID-related need, including $162,000 in CARES Act funding which has been distributed to eligible students. As we did in the spring, we encourage students experiencing financial difficulties related to the switch to remote learning to appeal to the office of Financial Aid for emergency support.
Student Employment opportunities, also a means of financial support, will be remote-only and will be limited. To comply with labor laws, domestic and foreign, only students who are physically in the United States will be eligible to work. All students who are eligible for Federal Work Study and have accepted their Federal Work Study award as part of their aid package, but are unable to find employment, will be considered for financial assistance from Peabody based on their need and available funding at the time of the request.
This change in our plans for instruction also changes previously announced plans for on-campus housing and dining facilities, which now will not be operational this fall. Very limited openings may be considered on an individual basis; if you have concerns that your living situation is not secure or can demonstrate hardship, please contact the office of Student Affairs.
At the same time, we know that a campus life outside of academic studies is important to our students. Student leaders and Student Affairs staff continue to envision innovative ways to build community so that you can enjoy the social, creative, leadership, and engagement benefits associated with an active campus life. You will hear more about new and revamped student activities opportunities in the coming weeks.
As the stress and uncertainties of the COVID pandemic continue to take their toll in myriad ways, I encourage you also to practice self-care and take advantage of the wellness resources available to you as a Johns Hopkins student: both general wellness and COVID-specific resources. The office of Student Affairs also remains available to answer questions and offer resources.
Backstage: Peabody’s New Student Orientation will be delivered online and program content will be continually added to your new student portal throughout the summer. Participation in Backstage is required of new students. Successful and timely completion of pre-arrival checklist items and required programs are both necessary and essential to your success as a new member of the Peabody community. If you have any questions regarding Backstage, please reach out to email@example.com
Continued collaboration with the University Counseling Center and Student Health and Wellness Center will provide joint virtual programming and additional resources for students in areas such as mental health, stress reduction, coping skills, preventative health, nutrition, and movement and exercise.
The Student Health and Wellness Center is here to assist you with your healthcare needs. Student Health and Wellness can be reached by calling 410-516-8270. When the clinic is closed you will be connected with our nurse advice line by calling our main number. Please call us rather than coming in person.
Additional University resources include:
Student Disability Services will continue to be adapted to accommodate students in an online delivery model. For more information, click here.
Note from Dean Bronstein on reversal of July 6 SEVP notice.
“Dear Peabody Students, Faculty, and Staff:
We join with the entire Johns Hopkins community in celebrating today’s news which restores some measure of needed flexibility for our international students as the fall semester approaches. The opportunity to work with colleagues from around the world enriches the Peabody experience for all. Our international students are such an integral part of our community, and it is a great relief that the visa rules announced last week have been reversed.
While there will still be challenges ahead, we remain committed to ensuring that every Peabody student has the opportunity to advance in their studies this fall. As our preparations to deliver the curriculum in a variety of modalities continue, we will remain in touch and we look forward to welcoming you back — on-site or learning remotely — soon.
We understand that the July 6 SEVP notice regarding remote instruction is concerning. The university issued a statement addressing the new federal regulations that limit options for foreign students attending U.S. universities, calling the change in guidance a “draconian decision” that may affect the “vast majority” of the university’s international students.
The Student Wellness Office has compiled resources specifically for International Students including coping methods and more information about mental health resources available to students.
Immediately after the SEVP notice, the Office of International Services posted a clarifying document: SEVP COVID-19 Guidance Impact ON F-1 International Students. Dean Bronstein, Senior Associate Dean Bush, and Associate Dean Plant have also issued further communication reaffirming the contributions international students make to the Peabody community as well as information regarding I-20s for the hybrid model the Conservatory currently plans to pursue. Significantly, the email from Dean Bronstein supersedes the first document from the University in that it clarifies that Peabody will continue instruction through the end of the semester and thus students will have Category 3 exemption to remain in the United States.
Should you have further questions or concerns, the Office of International Services can be contacted.
8/17: DMA students register for courses in SIS
8/18: AD, GPD, MA, and MM students register for courses in SIS
8/20: Fall tuition statement available online
8/20: Undergraduate students register for courses in SIS
8/21 – 8/30: Backstage: New Student Orientation
8/28: Scheduled disbursement date
8/31: Conservatory classes and lessons begin
9/2: Convocation, 12:30-1:30pm
9/7: Labor Day – Peabody classes, lessons and ensembles will not be held; Homewood/ASEN courses will be held
9/11: 9am, Deadline to add a course
9/18: Last day to drop a course with a deletion; course withdrawal period (W period) begins after this date
10/23: Last day to change a course to audit
11/2: Graduate student course selection begins for the spring semester
11/4 – 11/6: Undergraduate student course selection begins for the spring semester
11/12: Spring semester tuition statement available online
11/13: Last day to withdraw from any fall semester course
11/16: Deadline for leave of absence return notification – Office of Academic Affairs
11/16: Deadline for graduate students who deferred fall to confirm spring enrollment
11/23 – 11/29: Thanksgiving Break (no classes, lessons or ensembles)
11/30: Classes, lessons, and ensembles resume
12/3: Spring tuition due date
12/14: Last day of Conservatory classes and lessons; make up day lessons and classes
12/16 – 12/18: Fall semester course examinations
We understand that students may have questions about what they can expect in their experience this fall. To address any questions you may have, there were additional virtual town hall meetings held on Monday, August 3. Please see the recordings below.
Looking for the Preparatory's plans for Fall 2020?