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Response to COVID-19

Lobby in Sprague Memorial Hall

Updated March 30, 2020

COVID-19 has forced the university and the school to take extraordinary measures to mitigate the community spread of this menacing virus. Our entire YSM community has joined together in herculean efforts to protect each other’s health and physical well-being, and I am truly grateful for your assistance, encouragement, and patience as we transition from decades of traditional academic practices to new paradigms for teaching and learning.

Remote work

The current University policy is to have as many members of the Yale community working from home as possible. This includes students, staff, and faculty. The University will keep residential colleges open for those students who are unable to return home or leave campus. In the case of graduate dorms, where many of our students live, social-distancing measures must be observed to the fullest extent possible. Yale Health is on high alert and open to those who present symptoms of the virus. I call your attention to the daily preventative measures outlined by Dr. Genecin that each of us should be taking. 

President Salovey's announcement and policy about remote teaching underscores the importance of all faculty registering for the online orientation sessions for Canvas and Zoom. Zoom conferencing works on computers, smartphones, and landline phones. Computers and smartphones require the Zoom client program. Please contact Greg Johnson at if you need assistance setting up and using Zoom. VPN is not required for Zoom at this time. Most online services at Yale require a VPN connection with multifactor authentication. Greg is available to help you gain access to these systems.  

Access to YSM facilities

Beginning Monday, March 16, only critical staff will have access to the YSM facilities. This will allow enhanced cleaning of our entire complex after which we will lock down the majority of rooms. All Yale ID card access to facilities will be denied. On March 31, we will reevaluate the situation within the University context and make decisions about future access to the facilities for individual practice.

Should you wish to retrieve instruments or personal items from YSM buildings, please email Tara Deming at and include the location of the items you seek. You will be given a specific time to come to Hendrie Hall where you will be escorted to the location of your instrument or personal items. No exceptions will be made to this procedure.

The Collection of Musical Instruments is closed through April 15.

Academic policies and degree requirements

The YSM Steering Committee has voted to approve the two following revisions for the current semester:

  1. All chamber music grades will be pass/fail. Faculty will make this determination on work completed in the sessions they have had with their assigned groups.
  2. Major ensemble grades will be pass/fail.

Effective immediately, the piano proficiency exam required for graduation is waived. No further exams will be administered.

With wellness as our highest priority, we're committed to ensuring that all students in good standing are able to graduate on time. As the degree recital is the culminating experience of your Yale education, all of us are extremely disappointed that this graduation requirement must be fulfilled in a totally new framework. Unprecedented flexibility will be exercised in how and where this requirement can be met by all students who are degree candidates for graduation. Please give your careful attention to the following guidelines will be effective from March 31–May 8, 2020:

Fulfillment of the degree recital requirement 

  • Each area will determine its own standards and repertoire, and the minimum recommendation is a 30-minute jury performed remotely for the major teacher and one additional juror.
  • For recitals scheduled after March 31, please observe your confirmed dates if possible since faculty have already placed this in their schedules. Where substantial time zone differences or other logistical barriers exist, it is the responsibility of the major teacher and student to negotiate an acceptable time and then have it confirmed with the additional juror. Piano accompaniment is optional for juries.
  • A recording of the jury or the recital should be submitted by the student as a digital file to the major teacher. The recording must be an unedited file. The area coordinators will provide specific guidelines for the recordings in their area.
  • Reports from the faculty jurors must be submitted to the Registrar within 48 hours of the recital.
  • The major teacher, in consultation with the area coordinator, has the option to credit prior and comparable work to fulfill the recital requirement.
  • Each graduating student will have a letter from the Dean in their academic file stating that YSM degree recitals for the 2019-2020 academic year were fulfilled in alternate formats due to COVID-19. The transcript entry for the completion of this requirement will be unchanged from prior years.
  • Decisions regarding the availability of Morse Recital Hall for livestream recitals without audience will be made after March 31 in conjunction with university and school policies about access to facilities in April and May.
  • Students may livestream from their home or other venues with approval of their area coordinator.

Financial support

To assist with expenses during this transitional period, all School of Music students will receive a $500 stipend through their financial aid package. Stipend amounts are final and non-negotiable. Students can expect these one-time payments in early April. Please check your email for all communications related to these stipends. ISM students will receive stipend information directly from ISM leadership.

Additionally, the YSM Business Office is reviewing each student worker’s payment up to the start of spring recess. Look for communication from your supervisor on how student work will be handled for the remainder of the semester.

Casual employees
The YSM Business Office is working on a plan to provide compensation to casual employees through the end of the semester. The plan will be designed in accordance with University policies, and some casual office workers will be asked to continue to work remotely. Your manager will provide full details on this matter.

Course instruction

All YSM classes will be held online when they resume after spring recess on March 23. This includes academic classes, seminars, and studio classes. Chamber music rehearsals, including Yale Opera and Yale Cellos, have been canceled. Deputy Dean Melvin Chen will be working with faculty to transition their courses online. Students will receive communication from faculty about how to access your class information.

We also encourage faculty and students to conduct private lessons online. We know this will require an immense amount of flexibility. Our hope is to limit the amount of contact between individuals and to practice social distancing. Major teachers and their students will make the final decision about how lessons are conducted.

Campus visits and tours

All prospective student tours and visits are postponed until further notice. 


All concerts have been canceled through the end of the semester. For questions about performances, please contact

Master classes and composition seminars will be held online and be available to students only.

Commencement and Honors Banquet

Yale University commencement has been cancelled. Revisit this page for future announcements about potential online celebrations. The annual Honors Banquet has been cancelled.

Travel advisory

The School of Music will strictly comply with Yale’s COVID-19 travel guidelinesAdditionally, we are not approving any Belding Fund requests at this time.

Yale Health

For more information and frequently asked questions about COVID-19, refer to the Yale Health website: Mental health and counseling services are available at Yale Health, along with other health services.

Other available campus services

Yale Health 24-hour hotline: 203-432-6604
Yale Office of International Students and Scholars
Yale Emergency Management

View current information about Yale University’s COVID-19 response: