June 8, 2020

A New Layer of Protection for CIM, Courtesy of the Institute's Maintenance Team

Main entrance security desk
CIM security guard Scott Balog and the rest of the facilities team are ready to protect students, faculty and staff.

When Cleveland Institute of Music students, faculty and staff return to campus on August 10, they will find a building that looks the same – and much different, too – thanks to CIM’s valiant maintenance crew.

Since early May, while the majority of the Institute’s faculty and staff have been working from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic, these essential employees have been constructing and installing protection throughout CIM in the form of clear acrylic and polycarbonate shields so everyone who enters the building can maintain physical separation and safeguard themselves from possible sneezes and coughs. Installation of these shields is only one of the many initiatives designed to defend against the virus. CIM hired JAN-PRO, an international professional cleaning company, to thoroughly disinfect the building on May 22.  

Hazel Security Desk
Security guard Cindy Jones at CIM's Hazel Drive entrance.

The customized shields provide a physical layer of protection for all CIM community members where in-person interaction is simply required, says Maddi Lucas Tolliver, senior director of artistic and facilities operations. At the security desks and in office settings where students frequently interact with staff members, they will serve as reinforcement to other strategies such as facial coverings and social distancing. In teaching studios, the shields will serve the same purpose but also provide a physical barrier against respiratory droplets in cases where facial coverings cannot be used. 

Tolliver gives credit for the shields to maintenance technician Roy Babiak, who designed and constructed the protective barriers and maintenance coordinator Tom Park, who sourced materials and assisted Babiak with the construction. More than 20 shields are being placed throughout the building and all teaching studios will be outfitted with one as well.  

Shields in the Business Office
One of the many protective shields added in CIM's Business office.

“Roy has experience in plastics fabrication, so he created the design. We started with the security desk shields, which took a little over a week,” Tolliver said. “Roy is now leading the project and has already produced a number of the shields for offices. He and Tom have done an incredible job and they deserve recognition for helping to keep everyone safe when the semester begins.”  

Most of CIM’s open spaces will have shields, including all public counters, offices where more-than-sufficient distancing or virtual-only appointments are not possible, teaching studios and many other spaces. For the most part, says Tolliver, the shields will be movable so that they can be positioned by community members in a configuration that works best for their set up. 

Tolliver wants the CIM community to know that the facilities team is doing everything it can to make sure everyone who enters CIM is as safe as possible. 

“We must be vigilant and adapt to this new reality,” she said. “Everyone will be asked to commit to the safety measures we’re putting in place. Our intention is to create a safe environment for teaching and learning and to make adjustments where needed. We are experiencing challenges like everyone else is right now, but we have a good plan in place to prepare the building for our community to return to healthy and safe music making on campus.”