A Safe Return to Music & Dance
“It all comes down to personal responsibility”
          – David Mason, SOMD Director of Facilities Services

UO Precautions  |  SOMD Precautions  |  Rehearsal  |  Live Performance & Recitals  |  Academics  |  Other 

This page is intended as a resource for UO School of Music and Dance (SOMD) students, parents, faculty, staff, and community supporters. In alignment with the University of Oregon's guidelines, and informed by numerous conversations with faculty and staff, SOMD plans are outlined below. 

IMPORTANT FALL 2021 UPDATE: On March 1, President Schill announced his intention to "return to predominantly in-person education in fall 2021." While a variety of factors can still lead to changes, the University feels confident in its response to the virus and is excited about the next steps. You can read President Schill's entire statement - including updates on student and faculty vaccinations - here

The University of Oregon will require students, faculty, and staff who will be on campus to be vaccinated prior to the start of the fall 2021 academic term. Individuals will be able to request exemptions for medical and non-medical reasons.

View the slides from our recent COVID Saftey Summit

Last Update: 5/12/2021, 10:40am

General UO Information

Details of the university’s face covering and symptom self-check policies.

Will UO resume in-person classes in the spring?
In alignment with university policy, the School of Music and Dance (SOMD) continues to operate primarily through remote and online instruction until otherwise noted. However, due to the unique nature of music and dance classes, some SOMD studio experiences will receive exemptions.

When will I know which classes are online and which are in person?
The updated spring class schedule can be found here

How can UO help me stay safe?
UO will issue every student, faculty, and staff member two (2) reusable, washable masks. We have reduced the density of all classroom and building spaces to create physical distancing, increased air handling and cleaning, placed hand sanitation stations around campus and taken other measurers. See the coronavirus website for the full list of prevention measures.

What services will be available for students who stay in Eugene?
All UO students will have access to remote and in-person services, programs and activities, such as the Erb Memorial Union and Student Rec Center, where strategies are in place to keep our community safe, as well as access to quiet, supportive study spaces and on-campus internet.

General SOMD Information

View the slides from our recent COVID Saftey Summit

General Dance Department Guidelines

  • Clean surfaces where hands make contact after classes and rehearsals (swiffermops, spray, and wipes provided in each studio).
  • Enter GRX building and 3rd floor studios from the north end and exit out the south exits, unless the elevator is needed.
  • No eating in the building. 
  • No gatherings over 25 people allowed on campus.
  • Allow 30 min for cleaning and airing out between classes and rehearsals.
  • Sanitize hands before and after classes or rehearsals.
  • The Dance faculty office hallway is closed to students this year.
  • The Student Lounge is closed to students this year.

Will SOMD have masks available?
SOMD will make a limited number of disposable masks available, but students are strongly encouraged and expected to wear their own UO (or any other) mask at all times.

What about hand sanitizer?
We will provide small amounts of sanitizer. If you are an advocate or user of hand sanitizer, please consider bringing your own.

What can I do to help?
It goes without saying: these are unprecedented times. And we understand the unique nature of participating in the performing arts during a health crisis.
You can do your part by following guidelines: check for symptoms and stay home if you are sick, wear your mask, wash your hands frequently, maintain your distance – on and off campus. Encourage this behavior in classes. We will get through this by putting an emphasis on personal responsibility.

What are the cleaning and sanitation protocols for labs (eg. computer, piano, etc)?
We are using an electrostatic sprayer, which takes a concentrated amount of disinfectant and mists it into the air. The mist remains active for 10 minutes – the exact time needed to fight and minimize potential transmission of the virus and to clean surfaces.

How can I socialize with my friends in common areas?
Continuing to offer a true “college experience” is important to us. The value of chatting and collaborating in the hallway, lounge, or courtyard can’t be overstated. But during this strange time, you’ll notice changes to communal spaces and furniture around SOMD. In the interest of everyone’s safety, we ask that you respect all posted guidelines, maintain a 6-foot buffer, and always wear a mask. Social groups lingering in hallways are, sadly, not the ideal situation right now. Keep yourself and your friends safe!

I don’t want to wear a mask. Are you going to make me wear one?
The Governor of Oregon has mandated that masks be worn in public settings, especially when social distancing is not possible. UO and SOMD highly recommend and strongly request that you wear a mask. Please think of your friends and peers when choosing to wear a mask. For up-to-date UO policies, click here.

How many people can be in a space at one time?
We will be posting “COVID Maximum Occupancy” signs around our buildings. Please take notice and comply with signage.

Where can I find audition information for continuing students and non-music majors?
If you’re looking to audition for Choral, Jazz, Opera, Brass, Woodwind, Percussion, or String Ensembles, you can find the most current information on our Audition page. We will also be creating and updating an Audition Blog post in the coming days.

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Ensemble Safety Plan (2 or more players, generally does not include soloists and accompanist)

  • Currently limited to 25 people or less (or OHA COVID guideliness, whichever is less)
  • Distancing: 12ft singers, 6ft stings, 6-9ft winds, brass, etc.
  • 30/30/30 Rule
    • 30 minutes start at downbeat
    • 30 minutes for break/room change
    • 30 minutes between activities in same space
  • Everyone is masked
    • Woodwinds and brass must use modified masks and bell cover
    • Singers use whole, unmodified mask or UO Opera Singer Mask

Will studios and ensembles take place (and in what kind of format)?
Our goal is to offer music and dance experiences in as-close-to-normal format as possible. There will be a number of precautions taken, but we are aiming to offer studio and ensemble work. Situations will vary. We will update this paragraph as we know more.

What are the measured social distancing spaces?
Music classes will observe the recommended 6-foot distancing. Trombone players will receive an additional 3-feet in front (6x9 total), to account for the slide. Singers and dance classes will offer 12-foot radii. Dance classes have a sliding 6-12 foot physical distancing bubble used for classes and choreography. 

How do I rent an instrument?
Instrument rental will happen under the following conditions:

  • All requests should be addressed to Thor Mikesell,, with the subject heading "Instrument Rental"
  • Distribution of instruments will occur in person, via appointment only, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Noon to 3pm, with at least 24hrs notice
  • Billing will be handled via email with SOMD Accounting, and all rental fees will be assessed to a student’s billing account
  • All fee schedules, including late fees are still applicable

Talk to me about wearing a mask while playing and instrument.
Wind and brass instrumentalists will be issues modified masks and bell covers during ensemble times. Puppy Pads will be issued to musicians who use spit valves.

Who can I ask about choir information?
Please contact the conductor of the choir that you are interested in. If you are unsure of which choir to pick, you can contact any of us and we can help!

Chamber Choir - Sharon J. Paul: 
University Singers - Melissa Brunkan: 
Repertoire Singers - Jeffrey Boen: 

What is the maximum social distancing occupancy of Beall Hall stage?
33 people, which includes conductor, accompanist, page-turner, etc.

What about the Beall Hall organ loft?
The organ loft will be available to only one person – the organist, and no one else. 

How many people can attend Beall Hall events?
At present, non-UO community members are not allowed on campus. We can accomodate 20 non-performing audience members, provided they are
credentialed UO members (must hold UO ID Card).

Can the public attend a Beall Hall event?
Per University policy, we are allowed to hold live performances in our spaces (as long as social distancing protocols can be adhered to), but the public will not be able to attend. As the University remains closed to the public, our in-person audience can ONLY be comprised of UO faculty, staff, and students.

Will contractors or visiting artists be allowed on campus? 
This is an ongoing conversation. As a rule, non-UO entities are discouraged from visiting campus. The University is examining special circumstances on a case-by-case basis, and making exceptions for safe and essential vendors and contractors.

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Live Performances and Recitals

The following govern recitals and live performances held within the School of Music and Dance facilities and venues. The modalities of Recitals and other Live Performances are simultaneously governed by the Ensemble Safety Plan and the In-Person, Applied Lesson policies and procedures. As such, the following shall be observed when planning and executing a Degree Required Recital, and other Live Performances:

Soloist with Single Accompanist

  • Minimum of 12’ distancing between unmasked individual and all others
  • Un-masking only allowed for a single individual during the limited duration of performance or a recording session (not prior, prep, break, or post time)
  • Only the minimum number of critical (mandatory) support staff may be present, which includes a recital committee.
  • As an audience is not considered mandatory support staff an audience is not allowed if there is an unmasked soloist.
  • If a soloist elects to perform with a mask of some kind (intact or modified) a limited audience may be present

When the piece being performed involves more than the soloist and the accompanist everyone must be masked, and a limited audience is allowed.

  • Modified facial coverings will be allowed for:
    • Brass:
      • Trumpet
      • Trombone
      • French Horn
      • Tuba
    • Woodwinds
      • Flute
      • Clarinet
      • Oboe
      • Bassoon
      • Saxophone
    • Modified facial coverings will only be used during rehearsal/performance. Participants must switch to unmodified masks immediately upon completion of rehearsal/performance.
  • Seats will be set at a minimum of 6’ apart except for trombones which will have 9’ clearance directly in front to allow for the trombone slide.
  • Conductors will be a minimum of 12’ from closest musicians.
  • Instrument spit valves will be emptied directly onto absorbent sheets (puppy pads). Pads will be disposed of into regular trash cans after each rehearsal
  • Vocalists will use specialized masks during rehearsals and ensemble performances
  • Physical distancing for vocalists will be a minimumof 12' at all times

Should vocalists wear a mask?
Vocalists must always wear masks when performing (except when alone in a room). Physical distance for vocalists is greater than other, aerosol-producing instruments.

What are the measured social distancing spaces?
Music classes will observe the recommended 6-foot distancing. Trombone players will receive an additional 3-feet in front (6x9 total), to account for the slide. Singers and dance classes will offer 12-foot radii. Dance classes have a sliding 6-12 foot physical distancing bubble used for classes and choreography. 

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View the slides from our recent COVID Saftey Summit

Applied Lessons

  • 12ft apart, 2ft offset, 60 minutes max
  • Woodwinds, brass may remove masks ONLY while playing

I’m an SOMD faculty or staff member. Can I make a request for a plexiglass face shield?
There are a very limited number of face shields assigned to SOMD. Please contact David Mason to request one.

Are students, faculty, or staff required to be tested for COVID-19 before returning to campus?
At this time, testing is not required. However, students and employees are required to do a symptom self-check every day before coming on-campus. Read more here:

My class starts at 2pm. Will there be another class in my space until 1:55pm?
No! We are scheduling classes at least 30 minutes apart. This allows ample time to circulate air, disinfect, and prevent groups from entering and exiting spaces at the same time.

Will we have class outside?
It’s possible. We all know the hurdles that come from having class outside – heat and humidity, security, and accessibility, just to name a few. There are ongoing conversations about tenting and flooring outdoor areas for music and dance classes. Faculty will work with department leadership to make the best choices, and students will be kept informed.

What is the saftey plan for large ensembles?
The full plan can be read here.

What is the saftey plan for in-person, individualized instruction?
The full plan can be read here.

Other Thoughts

Many people who attend UO are nature enthusiasts. It is often a hiker or camper mantra to “leave your site a little cleaner than when you arrived.” The entire SOMD team hopes you will apply this mantra to your everyday activities at SOMD and around campus. As you leave your class, please consider wiping down your desk, seat, or workspace to make it safer and cleaner for the next person.

View the slides from our recent COVID Saftey Summit

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