Information on this page is specific for the Conservatory. It will be updated frequently as more details become available. Consult the Safety Measures page for specifics about steps in our physical spaces.

If you have questions not addressed here, your patience is appreciated. Additional information about many topics, including residence life, orientation and ensembles, will be shared in the coming weeks. 


Academic Calendar 

Can you explain the "Start with Music" concept again?

We know that some of the most distinctive components of a CIM education – chamber music, orchestra and opera – are really only possible in person. By “starting with music” on August 10, we believe we have the best opportunity to complete our scheduled fall performances by November 20. Classroom learning (music theory, eurhythmics, lit, pedagogy, etc.) will start on August 24, and take place in person whenever possible. Although November 20 is the last day of in-person instruction, there will be two weeks of online-only classes and final exams. Find a more detailed academic calendar here, although it is still subject to change.

Why the split calendar? Why not start everything on the same day?

If we were to start later in August as we usually do, having two fewer weeks on campus would significantly reduce performance opportunities. Beginning our performance-based activities earlier helps focus our time in-person and on campus in the fall semester while minimizing the risk to the community by avoiding travel for the Thanksgiving holiday and fall break.

Why isn't there a fall break?

Eliminating fall break gives us enough instructional time to end our in-person time the week before Thanksgiving, providing a greater opportunity for travel arrangements at a busy time of year in addition to minimizing travel exposure to the community at Fall Break.

Will CWRU's academic calendar be the same as CIM's?

CWRU has set their calendar with the same basic structure as CIM’s classroom instruction – CWRU classes will take place from August 24 through November 20 with a blend of online and in-person instruction, then shift online for a final week of instruction and exams after a weeklong Thanksgiving break. Here is a graphic representation of the key dates for CWRU and CIM.


What if I can’t be in Cleveland on August 10?

We will work with all students individually to ensure they are able to start their full-time instruction in whatever way they are able. International students should contact Kristen Zalar, International Student Advisor, at; domestic students should contact Brian Sweigart, Senior Associate Dean, at

When will the spring semester start? 

The regular academic calendar has us starting classes on January 11, 2021, but CIM is considering adjusting that start date. A decision will be announced by September 1.


Is it safe to take my lessons in person?

Lessons and other one-on-one activities will be performed safely in CIM’s studios and classrooms. Plastic shields will be installed in smaller spaces to ensure protection, appropriate distances will be marked and maximum occupancy signs will be posted for each space. 

If my arrival is delayed or I'm high-risk and prefer not to be in small spaces with others, will I miss out?

No! You will still receive 15 hours of lessons this fall. Individual faculty members and students with health concerns may choose to conduct virtual lessons. Students unable to be in Cleveland on August 10 may start lessons virtually, delay some lessons to December, or use a combination of both, as determined in consultation with their teacher.

Large Ensembles

Will I be able to play in orchestra this fall?

Yes! There will be several chamber orchestra concerts plus additional programming to ensure a musically rigorous experience. For non-wind instruments, facial coverings will be required.

*Updated: How will we all fit safely on stage?

Update June 4: After measuring the Kulas stage for appropriate distancing, we are evaluating options for small chamber orchestra-sized ensembles, where non-wind players wear facial coverings. Additional programming that doesn’t involve traditional small or other chamber orchestra configurations is also in development to ensure that students will be able to engage with orchestral repertoire in a meaningful and safe way. More information is coming as we continue to evaluate available research and guidance. 

If you have concerns about this environment, please talk with Ensembles Manager Jerome LaCorte ( about measures that would help you be more comfortable.

Will I be able to participate in the New Music Ensemble?

NME will be able to rehearse and perform during the fall semester, following best practices for physical distancing. It is too early to know when a guest composer will be in residence, though. 

How will orchestra placement auditions work?

Auditions for CIM Orchestra will occur in person between August 10 and August 19. Information about the requirements will be emailed by July 10 to students enrolled in orchestra.

What if I don’t feel safe in large group setting?

CIM will follow and seek guidance on an ongoing basis regarding best practices for safe rehearsing and performing as an ensemble. The results of an experiment undertaken by the Vienna Philharmonic are encouraging, although not definitive. Those with concerns about participating in socially distanced orchestra activities should reach out to Jerome LaCorte, Ensembles Manager, at

Will there be a concerto competition this fall?

Unfortunately, there will not be a concerto competition this fall. We are planning to hold a competition in the spring, for performances in fall 2021. 

This is happening because the repertoire limitations created by physical distancing requirements this fall make it impossible for the spring 2020 winners to perform their concertos until spring 2021. 

Chamber Music

Will I be part of a chamber ensemble? Will we receive in-person coaching?

Chamber ensembles are a key component of the CIM experience. Groups will be formed by the program directors during the first weeks of the semester, and all students enrolled in chamber music will receive their faculty coaching sessions and performance opportunities. 

Is it safe for my group and coach to work in studio?

All studios and larger rehearsal spaces will be measured and marked to identify maximum safe occupancy for ensemble rehearsals and coachings of various configurations. CIM will monitor the evolving guidance regarding appropriate distance, etc., for ensembles and adapt the studio configurations as needed. For non-wind instruments, facial coverings will be required

Who do I contact if I still have concerns?

Students should reach out to the chamber music coordinator for their discipline – Si-Yan Li ( for strings and piano, and Barrick Stees ( for winds and brass.


Will there be a fully staged opera this fall?

Based on the current physical distancing guidelines, we are not able to stage a full production this fall. Instead, we will start with the annual Opera Scenes program in October, and plan a staged productions for February. As is our regular practice, rehearsals for the winter production will begin in the fall.

What will the fall Opera Scenes look like?

Planning is underway now, with an emphasis on maintaining high artistic standards as we consider repertoire that suits the conditions, potential alternate performance venues and use of technology. More details will be shared with singers as they are available.

What other performance opportunities will there be?

We are planning an end-of semester departmental recital for November, as well as two special projects in the spring that are connected to CIM’s centennial celebration.

How will auditions for CIM Opera Theater work?

Auditions for the fall scenes program will take place at the end of the second week of classes in August. Auditions for the winter opera production will be held during the fall semester and will include excerpts from the selected work. Further details about auditions will be included later this summer with the announcement of next year’s repertoire.

Who do I contact if I still have concerns?

Students should contact Dean Southern, Head, Voice and Opera division and Director of CIM Opera Theater, at

Classes (CIM/CWRU)

How will I take classes at CIM?

CIM coursework will be offered in dual modes of delivery – meaning some elements will be available in person and online. Each course will be adapted to the space available, the best delivery for the content and for maximum flexibility, prioritizing the safety of all students and faculty. Students who are unable to be in Cleveland, as well as those students and instructors who identify as high-risk, will be accommodated with exclusively virtual coursework.

How will I take classes at CWRU?

Most CIM students have at least one class each semester at CWRU, which is also offering dual-delivery of courses. CIM students are strongly encouraged to take their CWRU class(es) online only, in order to maximize their schedule flexibility and minimize the exposure with the greater campus community. Students in courses that have a strong inclination towards in-person delivery (such as languages or dance) will be able to take those courses in-person. Dual degree students will follow the CWRU recommendations for taking their courses.

Student Recitals

Can I give my degree recital in the fall semester?

Yes! Students who need to perform recitals rescheduled from the spring 2020 semester will have a priority scheduling period and all rescheduled recitals must be complete by Friday, October 10. All other students will be able to schedule degree recitals as well through the end of the semester and the scheduling periods will be communicated over the summer. 

International Students

How should I interpret the most recent guidance from the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)?

In their most recent update, SEVP outlined three different modes of delivery (online only, in-person only and “hybrid” or a mix of both online and in-person), and how they impact studying in the US on an F-1 visa.

CIM’s plan is classified as hybrid instruction, as we are prioritizing taking lessons and participating in ensembles in-person, with some courses online. This classification allows you to study in the US. At the same time, we understand you may have concerns about any adaptations that CIM may need to make as a result of COVID-19. Unless we are prohibited by law, CIM will offer the instruction that is required to keep you in status.

When will I get my new I-20?

The new rules from the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) require CIM to issue new I-20s that indicate hybrid status for all international students.  

As an international student, you are required to provide the Registrar office with your intention to be in Cleveland for this hybrid instruction or to study exclusively online from your home country. If you are intending to be in-person, but are still uncertain when you will be able to travel, we will issue the required updated I-20; please keep International Student Advisor Kristen Zalar ( informed so that we can plan for your arrival. 

What about the English Language Training Program?

ELTP will be held virtually this summer from June 27-August 9. The instructor of this program is planning flexibility to accommodate travel that may need to occur during this time. Ms. Zalar can connect you with the instructor if you have additional questions.

What if I can’t travel or get my visa in time?

CIM will work with each individual student to provide access to full-time instruction regardless of location. Pending travel restrictions and visa appointments, we will welcome you back to campus whenever you can arrive to begin your in-person instruction. 

Is there a special orientation for international students?

There are some orientation sessions that are specific to international students, and others that are open to all new students. See the orientation section of this FAQ for more details.

New Student Orientation

When does orientation start?

Virtual orientation programming begins on Monday, July 20, with both synchronous and asynchronous activities. Schedules will vary – some sessions will be specific to undergraduates, graduate students or international students, and some will include everyone. There will also be some in-person orientation activities on campus beginning August 10. 

Do I have to participate?

Yes – orientation is designed to create a sense of community with other students, as well as share important information about CIM’s programs, processes and resources. Students unable to be on campus for the start of classes should continue to participate in those activities virtually. 

When will more information be available?

The orientation schedule will be available by July 1.

Who do I contact with additional questions?

If your questions are about the schedule, please wait until it is distributed, as many questions will be answered then. If your questions are specific to your individual circumstances, please email David Gilson, Associate Dean for Student Affairs, at

Residence Hall

Are bedrooms single or double occupancy?

First-year students will be assigned to a double bedroom in a two or three-bedroom suite. This gives these students the closest thing possible to a normal first year experience. Second-year students will be assigned to single rooms in four-bedroom suites. Suites include shared bathrooms (2-3 students per bathroom), living room, full kitchen and washer/dryer.

When can I move in?

Move in appointments will be scheduled between Thursday, August 6 and Sunday, August 9. Scheduling is necessary to maintain physical distancing in common spaces, as well as within suites. Students and helpers will have a maximum of three hours to bring their belongings into the building. During the move-in appointments for other suitemates, students are encouraged to observe physical distancing; those in doubles will need to leave the room while their roommate moves in. A full schedule of move-in times for your suite will be provided when you check in for your appointment.

Can my entire family help me move in?

Students will be limited to 1-2 helpers (parents or family members) when moving in their belongings. (The final number of helpers will be determined closer to actual move-in based on current state regulations and public health guidance.) Helpers must leave the building at the end of the three-hour move in window.

What if one of my suitemates or I are suspected of or diagnosed with COVID-19?

CIM will treat all members of a suite as a unit in the case of an exposure to COVID-19. Quarantine housing will be available for any residents who fall ill, but this approach allows any potentially exposed but otherwise healthy students to maintain community with their suitemates and avoid the disruption of moving repeatedly throughout the semester.

When will more information be available?

More details about the move-in process will be shared with 1609 Hazel residents by July 1.

Building Access and Protocols 

What screening is necessary to enter the building?

At this time, everyone is asked to do a self-assessment of their general health and recent travel before entering the building. Temperature screenings are required upon entry, and anyone with a fever of 100°F/38°C must immediately leave. A face covering (mask, bandana, etc.) that covers the nose and mouth must be worn at all times in shared spaces (specific exceptions will be made for wind players.) This screening is subject to change at any time, but it is best to plan for these steps to be in place for some time.

When will students have access to the building for personal practice?

The building will open for students on Monday, July 27. Building hours will be shared in advance.

How will scheduling work for practice rooms, studios and larger spaces?

All reservations will be required to be made online in EMS to ensure proper tracking in the event contact tracing is needed. Students will likely be limited to only certain practice spaces and, if needed, could be assigned specific spaces and times on a weekly schedule. (New students will gain access to the EMS room scheduling platform during orientation.)

How will guests and other external constituents be managed?

CIM has not fully determined the extent to which alumni, guests and other visitors will be permitted access to the building and will continue to monitor CDC and local guidance as it relates to higher education and live performance environments.

Testing and Contact Tracing

What measures are in place?

In CIM’s main building, strict protocols related to internal space reservations and external visitor identification ensure contact tracing can be performed quickly. All employees and students will be required to use their access cards to enter the building and all studios, practice rooms, concert halls and other spaces will be required to be reserved in EMS. When allowed, visitors will be subjected to screening and tracking at the points of entry to the building.

Will CIM be conducting a COVID-19 testing program?

CIM is working with CWRU, who provides health services for all our students, to provide COVID-19 testing. They are considering test availability and best practices for how tests will be administered to the campus community. When we have more information, we will update you. 

What is your response plan when someone tests positive?

Any confirmed positive COVID-19 diagnosis on campus will be immediately reported to the Cuyahoga County Health Department as required by law, and contact tracing will begin. Depending on the circumstances, spaces that were occupied by the positively diagnosed person may be temporarily closed for disinfection; in some cases, this may require the closure of the entire main building. If the person who is positively diagnosed lives in CIM’s residence hall, they will be moved to medical isolation housing at the university under care of University Health Services, and their suitemates will be required to quarantine in their suite for 14 days. CIM will follow all mandates and guidance from federal and local agencies with regard to reporting, disinfecting, contact tracing and quarantining.

What health services are available?

CIM contracts with CWRU to provide health and mental health services for students. Learn more on CWRU’s website.

Concerts and Audiences 

What will concerts be like in the fall?

We are monitoring the guidance from federal and local agencies regarding the safety of visitors and patrons both on university campuses and in live performance venues. At this time, we cannot say for certain when audiences will be invited back to our concert halls but we are eagerly awaiting that day! All performances that occur in Kulas and Mixon Halls will continue to be livestreamed.

I’m giving my student recital this fall – can my family attend in person?

It is too soon to know for certain. For now, we recommend your family and friends plan to cheer you on via the livestream.