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Coronavirus Preparedness at SFCM

Latest SFCM News

What you need to know about SFCM steps to maintain a healthy campus, updated here as needed.

March 4, 2020 by Tim Records

View SFCM's Return to Campus Plan.

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Since January, SFCM senior leadership has met regularly to discuss COVID-19 (coronavirus) and taken action to ensure a healthy learning and living environment. There have been no reports of any SFCM staff, faculty or student with either COVID-19 symptoms or diagnosis, and mitigating interruption of services is the focus of our efforts. In other words, keeping students safe and on track toward degree progress is our top priority.

This post is to provide campus-wide updates in addition to the communications that have been emailed to students, parents, faculty and staff:


The California Stay-at-Home is in place until further notice per Governor Newsom. Therefore we expect the remainder of the semester to be completely online. The last day of classes is Friday, May 15.


The PDEC office (Professional Development and Engagement Center) has compiled a list of student resources, including information of financial support, webinars, teaching, and wellness.


All performances are suspended until further notice. Students who have recitals planned during this time may choose to reschedule if they wish, and our goal is to have all graduating student recitals completed before the end of the semester. Some events have been postponed while other, online events are being created regularly, such as the new Tiny Dorm Concerts.

Please visit the performance calendar for details on each specific event.


All in-person Pre-College instruction moved online starting Saturday, April 4. Any missed lessons or classes over the previous weeks will be rescheduled and move online as well. Open Classroom Day has been postponed.


Academic Classes

All academic classes began online on Monday, April 6. Dean Ryan Brown sent an email on March 27 entitled “Students: Everything you need to know about SFCM Online.” Please refer to that communication if you have questions about academic classes. The following email address has been created for feedback of any kind in relation to our online classes:

Ensemble Classes

Ensemble classes will continue. Students in Orchestra #4 will be assigned to participate in a recording project of John Luther Adams’ Become Ocean with Christopher Rountree coaching sections of the Orchestra and providing guidance on the recording process. Remaining Large Ensemble students will be required to participate in online projects and classes related to previous ensemble assignments or have the option of online performance-related activities. The Large Ensemble Department will provide more details next week regarding all required and optional classes. These classes will resume the week of April 13.

Each chamber music faculty coach has developed a plan for their chamber ensembles. Faculty ensemble coaches will contact their ensembles to discuss plans for projects and schedules.

Departments have the opportunity for online performances through SFCM’s Tiny Dorm Concert series. This includes Opera and Musical Theater as well as the performance of arias and scenes from the Spring that were not able to be staged. Additionally, students will continue to be coached and learn rep from these works. The Tiny Dorm Concert series has seen viewership from across the country and beyond, totalling more than 10,000 views and counting.

Many ensemble requirements will consist of recording projects. The Recording Services and TAC Departments will support these projects.


Each department will handle juries and recital requirements according to the needs of the department. You will soon see an email from your Department Chair that outlines the requirements and the process by which you will meet the requirements. Please refer to the faculty page if you are unsure of who is your Department Chair.


All ensemble classes are now pass/fail grading for the Spring semester. All other classes will be graded as indicated in the syllabus you received earlier this semester.


In some cases, faculty have altered the syllabus to reflect the online learning environment. Faculty are authorized to change the syllabus and redistribute to students by April 13. Additional information is available on the student FAQ page.


Commencement will be Friday, May 22. We will present a virtual Commencement ceremony. We invite students that are graduating this year to participate, if they choose, in the May 2021 Commencement. Students that have ordered regalia for the May 2020 ceremony can receive a refund by following steps that have been communicated by Dean Smith.

The US Department of Education has given authority to schools to waive or grant credits as necessary to ensure students graduate in May. We will use this authority as appropriate.

Performance Opportunities

Once the Shelter-in-Place Order has been lifted, members of the 2020 graduating class will have an opportunity to perform in any of the halls at 50 Oak, or in any of the halls at the Bowes Center. This offer is extended, at least, through the Summer of 2021. Additionally, Dean Wright has been in talks with Deans from other conservatories (including international locations) about providing performance opportunities at their performance venues for students unable to travel back to San Francisco.


Please see the email from Michael Patterson (on Behalf of President Stull) on April 16. Many departments have redeployed the skills of our part time and variable hour student assistants, music associates, and staff to support SFCM's efforts online.


Panoramic and Columbus remain open through the end of the semester. The Office of Student Affairs, Residential Life staff will be in touch during the week of April 6 with information to residents about obtaining items that were left in student housing. SFCM is restricting non-resident access to student housing at Panoramic until further notice.


SFCM students that are unable to return home for the summer may contact the Office of Student Affairs, Residential Life at to discuss summer housing options.


SFCM is strongly discouraging all non-essential travel. Many airlines are issuing fee waivers for travel reservations that are cancelled or changed.


Café Crème is closed until further notice.


In addition to increasing hand sanitizing stations throughout the building, several steps have been taken to keep germs at bay.

  • Automatic sanitizer dispensers are now located at the building entrance as well as across from the elevators on the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th floors. Additional sanitizer dispensers are located outside frequently used spaces, including classrooms on the 3rd and 5th floor, TAC (Technology and Applied Composition) labs, faculty and staff lounge, Admissions/Registrar Office, Library Services desk, and Student Services Center.
  • The IT department is wiping down keyboards in public spaces such as the TAC labs, classrooms, and the Library every day.
  • All pianos are being sterilized twice per week.
  • We are regularly wiping door handles, student and teacher desks, and many other touch surfaces throughout the building using special formulated Bactericidal and Virucidal wipes that kill COVID19, H1N1, HBV, HCV, HIV-1, and other diseases.
  • New hand washing signage has been added to all bathrooms to remind everyone of recommended washing best practices (more on this below).
  • Hand sanitizing stations have also been added to the Bowes construction site. We want our construction crew to stay healthy and keep building progress on time.
  • Please use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available and if your hands do not look dirty. Apply hand sanitizer to both hands and rub hands covering all surfaces until dry. If your hands dry before 10 seconds you did not use enough. Apply more and repeat.
  • We have also ordered 1oz. travel size Purell hand sanitizers that will be available at Student Services, Security Desk and potentially other areas when they arrive.


More than a mask and liquid sanitizer, thorough and frequent hand washing is the most effective way to prevent the spread of contagions and to keep yourself from getting sick. When to wash your hands:

  • Before and after using keyboards (computers and pianos)
  • After using the restroom
  • After coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose
  • When treating a cut or wound
  • After contact with a sick person
  • Before and after eating, cooking, or serving food
  • When touching another person’s hands or touching an animal or pet
  • After handling garbage
  • After touching frequently touched areas (doorknobs) or contaminated items (dirty laundry or dishes)

There is no recommendation to wear masks in San Francisco at this time. However, if you choose to wear a face mask, it is important to understand that face masks are not a substitute for hand washing which is the priority.

Lastly, even with frequently cleaned hands, avoid touching your face. Study after study shows that germs are often spread by hand contact with our face. Wiping down your phone with alcohol is also a precaution that can help kill germs.


SFCM encourages all students to get their health insurance card. All students should have this available in case they need to contact or visit a doctor. Students should not wait until they are feeling unwell to try to track down this information.

How to get your card: 

If a student is on the SFCM Student Health Insurance Plan, they can search their email for the subject "San Francisco Conservatory of Music - Welcome to the Student Health Insurance Plan!" from Gallagher Student Health. It details how to download the health insurance card from UnitedHealthcare.

If a student is on their family health insurance or an individual health insurance, we encourage students to take the time to find out what local doctor and urgent care they could visit if advised to see a medical professional. Additionally, health insurance telemedicine options might be available based on the student or family’s health insurance plan.

All students have access to One Medical memberships, which provide free telemedicine services. One Medical also takes the SFCM Student Health Insurance Plan as well as a variety of additional health insurance programs.

Anyone who develops a fever and lower respiratory symptoms, such as coughing or shortness of breath, should first call their doctor or health care provider and share their travel history before visiting.


We are following updates from the San Francisco Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control, and World Health Organization

Any updates on campus plans will be posted on this page if needed.

Students, Faculty, and Staff should continue to check SFCM email at least daily for updates and important information from President Stull, Dean Wright, Associate Deans Brown, Smith, and Mou, and department heads.