Winthrop University: Coping with COVID
Contact Information
Department of Music
129 Conservatory of Music
Rock Hill, SC  29733, USA
803/323-2343 (fax)

Coping with COVID

The pandemic won’t last forever, but as long as it’s here, we have identified the following protocols and measures to keep everyone safe on campus. Please consult Winthrop’s RETURN TO LEARN website as the primary source of information regarding campus schedules and policies. The information listed here concerns specific protocols and resources for the Department of Music.


Space accommodations for social distancing

All studios, classrooms, and rehearsal spaces have been reconfigured to reduce seating capacity to allow for appropriate distancing between occupants. When students return to campus after the remote learning period, some ensembles will meet outdoors (weather permitting) on the steps and lawn in front of Byrnes Auditorium and in the Amphitheater. Tents may be rented for outdoor rehearsals. Several classes have been placed in Barnes Recital Hall and the choral rehearsal room to allow larger groups of students to meet with appropriate distancing in accordance with university protocols.


Building access

The Conservatory building will not be open until students are back on campus for in-person classes.


Large ensembles will not be large

Large ensembles (bands, choirs, and orchestra) will meet, but only in smaller subgroups of 8-12 students at a time. Jazz ensemble will not be offered this semester to reduce overlap in student participation. Special care has been taken in planning logistics for Winthrop’s choral program given the unique challenges of singing regarding aerosol transmissions; indoor rehearsals will employ increased distancing between students and air purifiers with HEPA filtration will be installed in the choral room (CMUS 315), Barnes Recital Hall, and the multipurpose classroom (CMUS 120). Virtual options will also be available. Orchestra will be taught remotely the entire semester and will be restricted to string players to focus on an in-depth survey of orchestral bowing techniques and string repertoire. Some ensemble performances will be recorded and shared online.


Recordings and live streams instead of performances

No live performances for audiences will be offered on campus in Fall 2020. Student recitals and selected student and faculty performances will be recorded and shared online and/or live streamed. No guest artist performances have been scheduled. Live streams and video recordings will be shared publicly when they become available.


Sanitizing protocols

Students and faculty will be responsible for sanitizing all spaces upon entering and leaving (studios, classrooms, and practice rooms). Stations with spray bottles of disinfectant, paper towels, and trash cans will be centrally located on each floor. Students and faculty should wipe down the areas where they sit (chairs, desks, tables) as well as high touch surfaces (door handles, light switches, equipment, etc.). Being respectful of others and taking responsibility for keeping surfaces clean is vital to stopping the spread of viruses. Most important, allow extra time for cleaning and moving between classrooms with appropriate social distancing.


Practice rooms

Once the campus is open, access to practice rooms will be restricted to one student per room. An online room reservation system is in the development phase and will be ready when campus reopens. At the time of this writing, we anticipate that the Conservatory building will be open during business hours. This will result in reduced practice room availability when campus reopens. Room schedules will incorporate 30-minute vacancy intervals between use. Sanitizing protocols (described above) must be followed. Plans for percussion practice rooms are under development. Updates will be forthcoming.


Rooms for recordings and remote learning

When campus reopens, we realize that some courses will still be online while others will be in-person. The  Department of Music is exploring potential locations for students to have access to a computer and microphone for remote lessons while on campus. Updates will be forthcoming.


Bring a folding music stand

When campus reopens, all instrumental ensemble students will be required to bring along their own folding music stands for rehearsals to reduce high touch surfaces and speed setup and breakdown of multiple rehearsals for small groups.

Recommended Equipment

Last Updated: 1/27/23