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COVID-19 Updates, FAQs, and School Closing

COVID-19 Updates, FAQs, and School Closing 

(Last updated  11/01/2020, 7:30 pm)

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bloomingdale School of Music building is currently closed for on-site learning and all classes and lessons will remain fully virtual until further notice.  We anticipate reopening the building later in the spring, and will send another update and community survey by January 2021. On-site opportunities will be made to select studios as of February 2021, depending on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic in NYC and Bloomingdale leadership approval. We are so thankful to all of our students, families, and faculty who have made the transition to online learning such a success!

We are still accepting enrollment for our Fall semester and are excited to offer new classes, custom designed for an online environment as well as private, one on one lessons. We are here for our community, ready and flexible, and look forward to welcoming returning and new students whenever they are ready.  Check out our offerings at bsmny.org to learn more!  

We are currently hard at work preparing our building for everyone’s safe return to in-person learning. Our Reopening Task Force is overseeing construction to upgrade our lower level HVAC systems and ease flow of traffic within our building. We are developing new protocols that include enhanced cleaning procedures, increased ventilation, use of personal protective equipment, and more.  

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

Please note this FAQ document serves as only the first step in information created and provided regarding Bloomingdale’s reopening plan. More information will be provided via eblasts and web and social media updates as we draw closer to the Spring semester in early 2021. We appreciate your flexibility as we navigate the ongoing situation and adjust for the necessary disruption to in-person 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, for the time being!).

  1. When does Bloomingdale expect to return to our brownstone on 108th Street?

Bloomingdale aims to resume in-person instruction within the spring semester, as the health outlook permits. We will continue offering the option of online instruction to families who prefer online learning. We look forward to welcoming our families back to our building in a socially distant and responsible way. Preliminary safety measures are outlined below, with a more detailed reopening plan to follow.

  1. What will reopening look like?

Our Reopening Task Force has created a multilevel approach to Bloomingdale’s safe reopening. In order to reopen safely, the following policies will be put into place: 

  • Masks are required while inside the building. Staff will have a limited number of disposable masks to distribute to the public.
  • All visitors will be asked for compliance with certain measures prior to entering the building.
    • Staff, faculty, students, and families will be asked to self-screen via a provided survey prior to traveling to the school.
    • Temperatures will be taken upon entrance and a sign-in process will be established to aid in contact tracing in the event a positive case is identified within the BSM community.
  • Traffic flow in the building will be organized & marked in single direction loops to minimize contact and maintain social distances.
  • Touchless hand sanitizer stations will be present throughout the school and info about healthy safety practices will be posted around the building.
  • Bloomingdale will arrange for a heightened cleaning schedule with an outside professional cleaning service organization. High touch surfaces are sanitized throughout the day using EPA approved disinfectants. All spaces will be scheduled to allow for facilities to clean and sanitize after use.
  • Staff and faculty are working carefully scheduled hours in the building, and remotely still whenever possible. Front desk staff are at school, with newly installed partitions up, to greet everyone while the building is open.
  • Reopening the building is part of the “Green Phase” of our plan. For more information on the plan and the other phases click here.
  1.   What changes are being made to the building to accommodate health and safety guidelines?

While the building is closed, construction is already underway to update our building and make common areas more COVID-accessible. 

We are installing a plexiglass barrier in the front office, converting the existing entrance vestibule window into “teller-type” safety glass. We are also constructing a new balcony and staircase from the second floor waiting room to our newly renovated backyard, giving families the option of an outdoor waiting space. 

We are upgrading the lower level HVAC system for fresh air ventilation and upgrading our cleaning services, specifically between the highest use hours of 3-8pm weekdays, using EPA approved disinfectants to frequently disinfect surfaces. We are installing numerous touch-less hand sanitizing stations throughout the school, and are installing social distancing signage throughout school, touch-less water coolers, and new bathroom door hinges to reduce unnecessary surface contact. 

  1. Once reopened for in person learning, will online LESSONS continue to be available for interested students?

Yes. While we look forward to reopening our doors and having students return to our brownstone, we know that not all of our community will be comfortable doing so, students and faculty alike. Faculty members who are not comfortable returning will continue teaching online for all of the spring 2021 semester. If a faculty member is comfortable returning we will make in-person learning an option for their students; if a student would prefer to continue lessons online, the faculty member will be able to teach live from Bloomingdale or from their personal home or studio. 

While private lessons will occur on the preferred online platform agreed upon by the instructor and student, we strongly recommend that students and faculty coordinate and test the platform that you and your faculty member decide upon in order to eliminate/reduce time spent dealing with technological issues during your lesson time. 

Please Note: Based on nationwide safety guidelines, Bloomingdale will be keeping certain instruments’ lessons online for all of the Spring 2021 semester even while we reopen the brownstone out of an abundance of caution. This will include the following:

  • Voice   
  • Flute
  • Clarinet
  • Saxophone
  • Recorder
  • Oboe
  • Bassoon
  • Trumpet
  • Trombone
  • Tuba
  1. Once reopened for in-person learning, will online CLASSES (group class, early childhood, & ensembles) continue to be available for interested students?

Yes. It is Bloomingdale’s recommendation that most group classes remain online for the Spring semester to avoid large groups gathering in person. Select classes and ensembles will have the option of returning on-site pending special approval by school leadership.

Unless otherwise specified, most group classes and ensembles will meet through Zoom, and class links will be provided by the instructor. We strongly recommend that students download Zoom ahead of time to eliminate/reduce time spent dealing with technological issues during your class time. 

  1. What other communications can I expect regarding COVID-19 and BSM’s reopening?

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 pandemic and the transition back to in-person events and learning. Please check for emails from BSM, updates via our social media platforms, and news on our website www.bsmny.org. We anticipate reopening the building later in the spring, and will send another update and community survey by January 2021.

  1. I want to take a group class. How does that work online?

Our faculty is offering select group classes remotely, via video conference, throughout the Fall semester. Our faculty have designed their group classes with the particular needs inherent to remote learning in mind in order to most fully engage our students. 

Group Classes & Ensembles being offered online

  • Ensembles – many of our ensembles will continue meeting virtually including our guitar ensembles, Flute choirs, Broadway, and Jazz Ensemble.
  • Theory and Lecture classes – several sections of Theory and Lecture classes are being offered remotely via video conferencing during their regularly scheduled class meeting time. 

Group Classes & Ensembles we are considering bringing back into the building in the spring

  • Early Childhood – classes have resumed as normal with the exception of Dalcroze Eurythmics, which will offer short one-on-one sessions with the teacher, Aaron Butler, along with access to videos, tools, and activities for families to do together throughout the week.
  • Small Chamber Ensembles – We are working with our Chamber Coordinator to reimagine and reintroduce chamber offerings for the Spring semester. More information to be announced in the new year. 
  1. Who should I contact if I have questions?

The best mode of contact is via email or phone. Please email the Registration team at registrar@bsmny.org with any questions or call us at our temporary Google Voice number: 201-578-4289. Registration staff are available 7 days a week:

  • Monday: 9 am to 7 pm
  • Tuesday: 9 am to 7 pm
  • Wednesday: 9 am to 7 pm
  • Thursday: 9 am to 7 pm
  • Friday: 9 am to 7 pm
  • Saturday: 9 am to 5 pm
  • Sunday: 10am to 6pm

You can also feel free to contact your teacher directly. If you don’t have your teacher’s contact information, please reach out to the Registration team and we’d be happy to provide you with it.

  1. Is Bloomingdale still having concerts and events?

Yes!  We have successfully reimagined most of our hallmark events to a virtual environment and can host even larger audiences than we could in our brownstone. Check our events page for more information: https://www.bsmny.org/events/

As soon as the brownstone is ready and, in accordance with NYC and NYS health and safety guidelines, we may resume select public events in our spaces, with smaller in-person audiences and a live streaming option. Communications for all events will be posted to our website, social media accounts and communicated to performers directly. 

In addition, BSM is now happy to offer a new series of events to our community called Just For Fun! Students, family, and friends can join us once a month for trivia, sing-alongs, yoga for musicians, and more! Check out our schedule below:

  • October 22nd at 6pm – Trivia Night with Kahoot!
  • November 12th at 6pm – Anna and Elsa’s Musical Adventure: An Olaf Rescue Mission
  • December 10th at 6pm – Holiday Trivia Night with Kahoot!
  • January 10th – Yoga for Musicians
  • January 28th – Trivia Night with Kahoot!

Just for Fun events are always free for Bloomingdale families and a suggested donation for invited guests.

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

Let’s keep in touch! We love staying connected with our families and students during this time and we thank you for all your emails and feedback. 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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