Information on this page is specific for the Conservatory. If you have questions not addressed here, your patience is appreciated. This page will be updated frequently as more details become available. Consult the Safety Measures page for specifics about steps in our physical spaces.

Please keep in mind that this page reflects our plans, and additional changes and flexibility may be required at any time.  

Spring Semester

What should I expect during CIM’s new Winter Intersession?

Starting on Tuesday, January 19, 2021, a four-day Winter Intersession titled, “Optimizing Performance: Tools for Musicians During a Pandemic and Beyond,” will be offered online and required for all students. These workshops, lectures and break-out sessions have been carefully designed specifically for CIM’s students. Content will include a wide range of topics including the musician’s mind, performance anxiety, and career conversations with successful alumni. Learn more about Winter Intersession.

When does regular instruction begin for spring?

All lessons, chamber music and ensembles will begin on Monday, January 25, 2021 (lessons have the option of beginning earlier at the discretion of each faculty and student, by mutual agreement).

All academic courses at CIM and at CWRU will commence on Monday, February 1, 2021.

Side by side view of milestones in the CWRU and CIM academic calendars


Before classes begin, is there mandatory testing?

Yes! As with the Fall semester, there will be mandatory testing for all students after your arrival in Cleveland and before your main CIM building/practice room privileges are granted.

Testing will be conducted by appointment, typically from 4-6pm.

  • Testing is planned for January 4, 5, 8, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 21 and 23.
  • Additional testing appointments can be arranged for students returning after January 23.

Dean Gilson sent an email on January 1, 2021, with the testing location and a link to sign up for a time. A copy of the email is here, but you will need the original email to access the sign-up link. 

Will there be a spring break?

Starting the spring semester later than our traditional schedule also means that there will be no spring break. This decision was made to preserve the health and safety of the CIM community.

CIM and CWRU will not hold classes on Tuesday, March 16, and Wednesday, March 24, to provide some time for relaxation. Rehearsals, coachings and lessons may be scheduled on those dates, but there will not be any academic classes. 

When and how will commencement be held?

We have been carefully considering our options for Commencement in 2021. The shift in our academic calendar inevitably leads to a later celebration date. We can confirm that Commencement will take place sometime between Friday, May 28, and Sunday, June 6. In February, we will confirm the date, as well as whether we are able to mark this moment in person or if we will be celebrating online.

Lessons, Studio Classes & Coachings

How will lessons be offered?

Woodwind, brass and voice students will take lessons virtually, using low-latency technology in the building or other fully remote options. Low-latency technology creates a broadcast quality, real time, delay-free video and audio experience for both students and faculty members. Lessons within the building using this low-latency technology will be conducted with the student in one room and the faculty member in another. In-person outdoor lessons may be possible.

For all other areas of study, lessons and other one-on-one activities will be performed safely in person, in CIM’s studios and classrooms (subject to local health orders). Plastic shields have been placed in smaller spaces to ensure protection, appropriate distances will be marked and maximum occupancy signs will be posted for each space. Learn more about the customized, movable shields on the Safety Measures page.

How will lessons and coachings work for voice students, specifically?

In the August 5 communication, the following instructions were provided to voice students, and these are all still in place for spring 2021:

Indoor lessons and coachings

Three pairs of adjacent studios linked with zero-latency video and audio connection (201-202, 206-207, 214-215) have been equipped for the CIM Voice Department. Faculty and pianist will be in one studio (202, 206, 215), always properly masked, at 6 feet physical distance. Student singer can be unmasked in the adjacent studio (201, 207, 214, respectively). Indoor lessons must not last longer than 60 minutes, and the studio used by an unmasked singer must be vacated (completely empty) for 60 minutes following the lesson to allow for adequate air exchange. All are responsible for the cleaning of music stands, piano keyboards and other surfaces with disinfectant wipes before and after each lesson.

Outdoor lessons and coachings

Outdoor lessons are possible on the Thomas Commons patio and Mixon patio. A 10x12’ tent will be provided for protection from the sun and rain, and an electric piano will be available. Masks are not required for outdoor lessons if a minimum of 12 feet physical distance is maintained between singer, pianist and faculty member. Faculty members are responsible for making requests for outdoor spaces and an electric piano through All are responsible for the cleaning of music stands and piano keyboards with disinfectant wipes before and after each lesson.

Remote lessons and coachings

Remote lessons may be arranged between student and faculty member. Rooms in CIM are available for students if their teacher is instructing from another location. The faculty member will request the room for the lesson through

As a voice student, what do I need to know about studio classes and rehearsals?

The following protocols were detailed in the August 5 communication, and remain in effect for spring 2021:

Outdoor studio classes

  • Studio classes are possible on the Thomas Commons patio and Mixon patio, weather permitting.
  • A 10x12’ tent will be provided for protection from the sun and rain.
  • An electric piano is available.  
  • Masks should be worn at all times unless actively singing. 

Remote studio classes

  • Individual teachers may opt for remote studio classes when weather becomes unfavorable. 

Guidelines for rehearsals with pianists

  • Weekly rehearsal times will be assigned in specific rooms. You may trade times with another singer-pianist team if a conflict prevents you from rehearsing during your assigned time. 
  • No rehearsal session should last longer than 30 minutes.
  • The rehearsal room must be vacated (completely empty) for 30 minutes between practice sessions for adequate air exchange.
  • All are responsible for cleaning of music stands, piano keyboards and other surfaces with disinfectant wipes before and after each rehearsal.
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 January 25 may start lessons virtually, delay some lessons to later in the semester, or use a combination of both, as determined in consultation with their teacher.

Large Ensembles

Will I be able to play in orchestra? What will that look like?

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

More information is coming the week of January 11.

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

Yes! Two performances of the New Music Ensemble (NME) are scheduled during the spring semester. Rehearsals for the programs will be conducted using all applicable physical distancing and safety protocols in place at that time.

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. CIM staff and faculty have reviewed all available scientific studies, observed what other schools and orchestras have achieved and are determining the best path forward for large ensembles.

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 spring?

The concerto competition is currently scheduled for March 17, 2021, conditions permitting. More details will be shared later.  

Who should I contact if I have questions?

For questions about orchestra, contact Ensembles Manager Jerome LaCorte at

For questions about New Music Ensemble (NME), contact Keith Fitch, director of NME, at

Chamber Music

Can I be a part of a chamber ensemble?

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. 

As of January 4, we are expecting that chamber music programs for spring will use the same protocols that were in place for the fall semester. 

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 spring?

In lieu of in-person performances for our winter opera, we will create a fully filmed version of Henry Purcell's opera Dido and Aeneas. We have entered into an agreement with Red Point Digital, a film production company in Akron, to produce a complete film shot completely in various Cleveland locations. A premiere date has not yet been determined.

What will Spring Opera Scenes look like?

As is our usual schedule, we will close the year with a Spring Scenes program, which we expect will be rehearsed and performed entirely outdoors. More details will be shared with singers as they are available.

What will opera rehearsals look like?

Opera rehearsals will be offered both indoors and outdoors, depending on weather, as detailed in the August 5 communication to voice students.

For indoor rehearsals

  • Properly worn masks are required.
  • No more than 10 people are allowed in room 217.
  • Physical distancing of 12 feet must be maintained between singers and anyone else.
  • Physical distance of 6 feet must be maintained between all non-singing participants. 
  • Rehearsals must not exceed 60 minutes.
  • The rehearsal room must be vacated for 30 minutes between rehearsals for adequate air exchange.
  • Softer singing creates less aerosol and is recommended. You can still work on details of music, characterization and staging while singing softly. 
  • Faculty and students are responsible for the cleaning of music stands, piano keyboards and other surfaces with disinfectant wipes before and after each rehearsal.

For outdoor rehearsals

  • Physical distancing of 6 feet must be maintained while masked.
  • Physical distancing of 12 feet must be maintained while unmasked.
Who do I contact if I still have concerns?

Students should contact Dean Southern, Director of CIM Opera Theater, at, or Mary Schiller, Head, Voice and Opera Division, at

Classes (CIM/CWRU)

How will I take classes at CIM?

As they did in the fall, music theory, literature classes, seminars and several other courses will meet online in spring 2020, in order to prioritize the use of larger spaces for lessons and rehearsals. 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?

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, if available. Dual degree students will follow the CWRU recommendations for taking their courses. If you have questions or need assistance registering for the correct section of a CWRU class, please email  

Student Recitals

Can I give my degree recital in the spring semester?

Yes! For complete information regarding student recitals, review the Student Recital Handbook and the scheduling periods. These documents and all the forms related to student recitals are available online here

Can I perform my recital virtually?

Degree recitals may be performed virtually. If you are completing your semester virtually, you also have the option of performing your recital virtually.

How do I schedule my recital and dress rehearsal?

All scheduling and related meetings will be conducted online using Microsoft Teams. This eliminates the need to visit offices for scheduling. Unscheduled in-person visits will not be permitted until further notice. 

Dress rehearsals must be scheduled prior to recital confirmation. During the scheduling process, the scheduler will offer five available dress rehearsal holds. Once you confirm the dress rehearsal time with your major instructor(s), collaborative pianist and any other performers on your recital, you will meet virtually with the scheduler to confirm the details. 

What about non-degree student recitals?

There is a temporary suspension of non-degree performances. To ensure adequate hall availability for degree recitals and other required academic activities, the concert halls may not be used by students for non-degree recitals or other performances that do not meet a specific degree or curricular requirement.  

Where can I find more information?

For complete information regarding student recitals, review the Student Recital Handbook and the scheduling periods. These documents and all the forms related to student recitals are available online here. You can always email with questions.

International Students

I'm coming to Cleveland this spring, when will I get my I-20?

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 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. 

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.

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.

When will spring semester housing end?

Spring semester housing is expected to end Thursday, May 20, 2021, although that date may change. Students should not plan travel until they understand their end-of-semester exam and jury schedule.

Building Access and Protocols 

What screening is necessary to enter the building?

Everyone is required to do a self-assessment of their general health and recent travel before entering the building. All faculty, staff and students must complete a certification form each day they enter the building. Students will receive building access once they have a negative COVID-19 test from CIM's partners at University Hospitals and CWRU.

Temperature screenings are required upon entry, and anyone with a fever of 100°F/38°C must immediately leave.

A face covering (fabric or disposable mask, N95 mask, etc.) that covers the nose and mouth must be worn at all times in shared spaces. 

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

Students will be able to access the main building once they have a verified negative test result from our testing partners at University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University. 

Testing will be conducted by appointment, typically from 4-6pm.

  • Testing is planned for January 4, 5, 8, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 21 and 23.
  • Additional testing appointments can be arranged for students returning after January 23.

See the email from December 11 for more information.

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

Visit this page to find detailed information about space reservations and COVID-19 adjustments. Note that all spaces, including basement practice rooms, require reservations.

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. 

Are there specific guidelines for voice students wanting to use the practice rooms?

Yes! In the August 5 communication, the following instructions were provided to voice students, and these protocols remain in place:

  • Practice rooms C, D, and E are voice-priority rooms in CIM's main building. 
  • Practice rooms 16 and 21 are voice-priority rooms in 1609 Hazel.
  • No practice session can be longer than 60 minutes.
  • The practice room must be vacated (completely empty) for 60 minutes between practice sessions for adequate air exchange.
  • Remember that all practice rooms must be reserved in EMS.
How will guests and other external constituents be managed?

CIM continues to limit the extent to which alumni, guests and other visitors are permitted access to the building, and will continue to monitor CDC and local guidance as it relates to higher education and live performance environments.

Which entrances to the main building are open?

The Hazel entrance is the only entry point into CIM's main building at this time. (Note that this is the door on the Hazel Drive side, not the door on the terrace side.) 

The East Blvd./Pogue Lobby entrance is currently closed.

All CIM ID holders and approved vendors should use the Hazel entrance.  

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.

What do I need to know about CIM’s COVID-19 Testing Program?

CIM will be conducting a COVID-19 testing program for students, with assistance from our partners at University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University.

With this testing protocol, students will not be able to access the main building until a negative test result from our testing partners can be verified.

Entry testing will be conducted by appointment, planned for January 4, 5, 8, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 21 and 23. Additional testing appointments can be arranged for students returning after January 23. 

New for spring: A surveillance testing protocol will be added; details will be announced in the coming weeks.  

What is your response plan when someone has a confirmed or suspected diagnosis?

CIM will follow all mandates and guidance from federal and local agencies with regard to reporting, disinfecting, contact tracing and quarantining. Here are the steps CIM takes once a positive or suspected case surfaces:

  1. CIM communicates with CWRU University Health and Counseling Service (UH&CS).
  2. UH&CS, with assistance from CIM, completes all necessary contact tracing for the COVID positive individual.
  3. UH&CS communicates with the public health department, if required.
  4. Any individual who has had direct contact with the person with the confirmed or suspected diagnosis is notified and required to self-quarantine until the potential exposure is evaluated by UH&CS and the public health department. “Direct contact” is defined as close contact with a person with a confirmed or suspected positive COVID-19 diagnosis (less than six feet) for 15 minutes or longer. Anyone awaiting test results must quarantine until cleared.
  5. Card access to CIM facilities is turned off for any individual required to quarantine.
  6. Following CDC and public health guidelines, only individuals who have confirmed exposure are required to quarantine. Exposure to someone who may have been exposed does not require notification and quarantine. CIM, in coordination with UH&CS, has quarantine and isolation spaces for resident students. Individuals off campus are required to quarantine/isolate in their own residences.
  7. Determination of release from quarantine/isolation is made by UH&CS.
  8. Individuals cleared to return will regain access to the facilities.
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?

All performances that occur in Kulas and Mixon Halls will continue to be livestreamed.

At this time, only a limited number of CIM students and faculty may attend live performances.

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

At this time, we are not expecting that guests will be allowed to attend recitals in-person this spring. Family members and friends should plan to watch performances on CIM’s Mixon or Kulas Livestream channels. Teachers will be able to attend in person.