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COVID-19 Updates, FAQs, and School Closing

COVID-19 Updates, FAQs, and School Closing 

(Last updated  3/16/2020, 7:30 pm)

Due to the COVID-19 threat, and in line with the NYC Department of Education closure announced yesterday, we have extended the temporary closure of Bloomingdale School of Music building through April 20, 2020.  We are actively working to transfer all teaching and learning to online platforms.

In addition, all events that were scheduled to take place during that extended time have been postponed or canceled.  This includes our April 2nd Spring Benefit, “Bloomingdale on Broadway.” We are canceling that event and will be developing ways to celebrate our community and raise the important funds needed to support our mission of providing access to all in the coming weeks. 

As circumstances change, we will update you periodically as to the rescheduling of events and any latest news. To ensure consistent learning as required through this challenging time, we will be offering to conduct private lessons, modified group classes, and ensembles remotely via online platforms. We are actively working with each faculty member to shape what this looks like for each studio or class.

To help answer any concerns or questions, we have prepared a detailed document of Frequently Asked Questions- FAQs with critical information on Bloomingdale’s recommendations and plans as related to COVID-19. Please take a few minutes to read through this document.  

We will continue to send out frequent updates as the situation continues to evolve. We appreciate your patience and your flexibility as we navigate the ongoing situation and adjust for the necessary disruption to lessons and classes. These are certainly extraordinary times, but we believe in the power of music, particularly during adverse times, to bring us joy and to bring us together (virtually, if need be!).

  1. Will BSM be offering remote lessons via video conference? 

Yes. Our goal is to ensure the continuity of music instruction to the best of our ability. We are currently working with our faculty to offer private lessons and some group classes online via video conference on their preferred platform (FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts). In the event that a faculty member does not use a specific platform already, we are recommending Google Hangouts. We strongly recommend that students and faculty coordinate together, download and test the platform that your faculty member prefers now to eliminate/reduce time spent dealing with technological issues during your lesson time. 

More information will be forthcoming from your faculty member to communicate any teaching preferences or plans to either virtually meet or arrange for a makeup lesson. If you do not hear from your faculty member, please contact the Registration team at registrar@bsmny.org

 

  1. I, or my child, take a group class. How will that work online?

We will make every effort to provide your lessons and classes remotely, via video conference, through the time that the school remains closed. We understand that some classes or ensembles are not able to translate to an online space but are working with faculty constantly to make the necessary adjustments where possible to provide regular instruction and engagement to our students.

 

Group Classes & Ensembles: Starting March 14th, we are postponing any group in-class activities until at least April 20, 2020, and are working toward offering the following:

  • Early Childhood – we will establish ways for EC families to communicate with their teachers and provide online arts learning resources during the school’s closure. On-site classes will resume once the school reopens.
  • Beginner group classes – we are working with our faculty to schedule individual online check-ins or short one-on-one lessons with group students in lieu of a group class setting. On-site classes will resume once the school reopens.
  • Ensembles – postponed on-site and will resume once we reopen. Makeup classes will be offered at a later date. Note: Some faculty may arrange for an online alternative to ensemble-based classes during this closure and they will communicate with families directly.
  • Theory/ lecture-based classes- will be offered remotely via video conferencing during its’ scheduled class meeting time during the school closure. On-site classes will resume once the school reopens.
  • Chamber Groups – postponed on-site and will resume once we reopen. Makeup classes will be offered at a later date. New chamber groups scheduled to start the week of March 16 will begin once we reopen. Carrie Frey, cfrey@bsmny.org, Chamber Coordinator will confirm assignments and updated schedules with each group once we reopen.

 

Please know that remote learning is new to Bloomingdale School of Music and we deeply appreciate your patience as we get this up and running.

  1. What if a private lesson via video conference is not viable for me?

We understand that not everyone will be able to do a video lesson. As of today, our policy is that for private lesson students only, we will offer make-up lessons during the make-up week and through the end of the Summer 2020 session, August 29. These make-up lessons are special accommodations for COVID-19 impacted private lessons and are only for students unable to take their lessons via video conference during our school closing. 

 

Summer make-up lessons will be on a flexible schedule, based on student and faculty availability, and because many of our faculty members are away over the summer, maybe with a different faculty member. This policy is subject to change, pending our ongoing response to COVID-19. 

 

  1. Will Bloomingdale still have concerts and events? How will I know if there are changes to those?  

BSM Leadership Staff will be monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely and checking in daily to make decisions for the cancellation of concerts and events as needed. For now, all concerts and events scheduled between March 13 and April 20 will not meet as scheduled and will instead be rescheduled to a later date. 

 

This includes our annual Piano Project March 28 and Spring Benefit, April 2nd, faculty concerts, and sharing hours. Communications for cancellations will be posted to our website, social media accounts and communicated to performers directly. 

 

  1. Who should I contact during this school closure? 

The best mode of contact is via email. Please email the Registration team at registrar@bsmny.org with any questions or reach out directly to your teacher.  If you do not have your teacher’s email address, please get in touch with our Registration team and we can provide that for you. Registration staff are available 7 days a week:

 

  • Monday: 11 am to 9 pm
  • Tuesday: 11 am to 9 pm
  • Wednesday: 11 am to 9 pm
  • Thursday: 11 am to 9 pm
  • Friday: 11 am to 9 pm
  • Saturday: 9 am to 5 pm
  • Sunday: 10am to 6pm

 

  1. What other communications can I expect regarding COVID-19? 

Bloomingdale School of Music will do its best to communicate critical information in a timely way to our community as we continue to monitor the ongoing health crisis and the transition to online learning. Please check for emails from BSM, social media platforms, and our website www.bsmny.org for COVID-19 related updates. 

 

  1. When will classes resume?

Our current plan is to close the building until at least April 20th but of course, are monitoring the situation closely and will communicate any updates or additional information as we have them. We look forward to welcoming our families back to our building when this crisis passes. In the meantime, the Bloomingdale staff will be working remotely and monitoring emails during this closure period to support you in any way we can.

 

  1. How can we stay connected with the BSM Community?

Let’s keep in touch! We would love to stay connected with our families and students during this time. Feel free to share videos of students practicing at home, taking their online classes or anything fun you’d like to share with us. Share your #BSMonline stories with us using our social media channels. 

Please use: #BSMonline

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Here are a few excerpts from Manhattan Borough President’s Daily Update regarding access to free broadband network and efforts the DOE is making to provide computers for devices for learning to NYC students:

 

–Beginning today, Monday, March 16, Charter cable will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription, and installation fees will be waived for new student households. For eligible low-income households without school-aged children, Charter continues to offer “Spectrum Internet Assist,” a low-cost broadband program delivering speeds of 30 Mbps. They are also opening its Wi-Fi hotspots across their service area for public use.  To enroll in the free broadband service or Internet Assist, call 1-844-488-8395. (It’s their standard customer service line, so use the “new service” or “add service” option. To avoid long wait times, call early in the morning or later in the evening until 1:00 am EDT)

 

— We’re told that Apple has also made contributions of devices to the 1 Million Foundation, and that the DOE is working on a plan to distribute these devices to as many students as possible. More information will follow. 

 

— We are doing our best to keep Manhattan informed, and this email will be sent daily as we have new information. Please forward to your friends or have them sign up to receive it themselves.

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