Covid-19 FAQs

Graphic for the Schulich School of Music Covid-19 FAQ page

Last updated on January 13, 2021

Please note that the Schulich School of Music facilities are currently closed to the public. Some students, faculty, and staff have been granted limited access, for instance to access their in-person lesson or a practice room. Details can be found below as well as in your McGill email.

From January 9 to February 7, 2021, under the province-wide curfew, building hours will be reduced, but activities categorized as Tier 1 will continue as planned. See questions below for more details. 

We would like to applaud the work of all our students, faculty, and administration who have demonstrated strength and perseverance while adapting to our new circumstances. We wish you the best this academic year!

Important resources to stay up to date:

  • McGill University’s COVID-19 webpage remains the most up to date source of information for the McGill community. Resources available to students, instructors, and staff are available here as well an FAQ section.
  • Schulich’s COVID-19 FAQ webpage has been developed to share the information specific to the Schulich community providing complimentary support for Schulich students, faculty, and administrative staff. It will be updated regularly.
  • Your McGill email inbox, where updates are sent regularly from the University as well as the Schulich School of Music.

Answers to your questions

Please see McGill’s COVID-19 Protocol page for information on identifying symptoms, numbers to call if you have flu-like symptoms, and where to find support if you are feeling distressed or overwhelmed. Disclosure of exposure or illness is required in order to safeguard the health and safety and restrict the outbreak in the McGill community.

We encourage you to stay connected, but we count on all of you to exercise the utmost responsibility in supporting the massive efforts to limit the spread of the virus.

Does Montreal’s COVID-19 alert level affect the current access to the Schulich School of Music?

McGill University will be operating at a Red Alert level, consistent with the city of Montreal.  From January 9 to February 7, 2021, under the province-wide curfew, building hours will be reduced, but activities categorized as Tier 1 will continue as planned.

In-person activities that can continue: 

  • Approved in-person lessons and sound recording classes 
  • Assigned access to practice rooms from 7:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • Scheduled recitals and exams 
  • Rehearsals directly related to large and small ensemble participation or an upcoming recital/exam
  • Research activities with previously approved resumption plans  
  • Essential administrative staff services

In-person activities that cannot continue: 

  • Research involving human participants, including performers 
  • Visits to campus by anyone other than current students, faculty, and staff 
  • Events, including student association activities 

We strongly urge our community to work remotely if you can. If you must come to the music buildings for one of the approved activities, please adhere strictly to safety protocols, abide by the scheduled time for your in-person activity, and do not linger in the buildings. 
 

Protocols for staff

Prior to entering campus, every employee needs to submit the self-assessment form in Minerva.

Employees who have received a clinical diagnosis of COVID-19 must consult McGill’s COVID-19 prevention page and follow the directives under What to do if a McGill member receives a COVID-19 diagnosis? The Disability Management unit (HR) will contact you to document your condition. 

All information will be treated confidentially.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, have tested positive, or have been in contact with a case, you must follow the Government and University guidelines. The McGill COVID-19 webpage provides information on what to do if you have symptoms, think you may have been exposed, have travelled recently, or have tested positive.

Protocols for students

Students who have tested positive for (COVID-19) should fill in the self-reporting form for students found in Minerva.

Information collected will be kept safely and confidentially: any personal information will not be disclosed unless as required by law or with the student’s express consent.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, have tested positive, or have been in contact with a case, you must follow the Government and University guidelines. The McGill COVID-19 webpage provides information on what to do if you have symptoms, think you may have been exposed, have travelled recently, or have tested positive.

Am I required to wear a mask when at Schulich?

Yes. All permitted individuals on campus are required to wear a mask or face covering at all times. A few exceptions are: 

1. Instructors are allowed to remove their mask to teach, provided they remain at least 2 meters away from others. 

2. Masks may be removed to eat or drink, provided you are at least 2 meters away from others. 

3. Masks may be removed if you are alone in a room such as a closed office. 

4. Music-specific exceptions, following the CNESST guidelines for the performing arts

  • Woodwind and brass players and singers are exempted from wearing a mask during their lessons. 
  • Face coverings will be mandatory in large ensemble and small ensemble rehearsals (with exception of winds and brass instruments)
  • In performance situations such as practical examinations, recitals and concerts, performers are not required to wear a mask during their performance; they should do so at all times when moving in and out of the performance situation.

What safety measures have been put in place for in-person teaching (practical instruction only)?

Each studio, classroom, and large ensemble room has been designated by size for two instrumental categories of in-person instruction:

  • Category 1: Strings, Keyboard Instruments and Percussion lessons
  • Category 2: Woodwinds, Brass, and Voice lessons

All in-person lessons have been booked by the Building Director’s Office for the Fall term and rooms have been booked according to these categories. Rooms being used for Category 2 teaching will be equipped with large plexiglass shields.

Once in the teaching studio, faculty and students are asked to exercise their own judgement and be respectful of each other’s preference regarding masks and setup. Teacher and student are always required to maintain at least 2-meter distancing. For Woodwinds, Brass and Voice, a minimum of 3 meters is recommended. When singing or playing with a keyboardist, students are asked to not face the keyboard player (designated Category 2 rooms only).

It is the responsibility of instructors and students to clean surfaces with which they have come in contact during a lesson. Cleaning supplies and instructions will be made available in each teaching room.

All members of our community are expected to abide by provincial and University policies at all times with regards to precautionary measures. We also all need to exercise good judgement and common sense with regards to engaging in any activity that might put ourselves and others at risk, and, within the parameters of approved precautionary measures, to be respectful of each other’s degree of comfort with respect to transmission risk.

For more information on ventilation, please see the next question.

What steps are being taken to improve the ventilation in the music buildings?

McGill’s Facilities Management and Ancillary Services is closely following the recommendations of several organizations including Public Health Canada and the Institut national de la santé publique. They have increased the air circulation throughout the buildings, and you can find more information on their HVAC operations page.

Many of the rooms currently designated for in-person brass, woodwind and voice teaching are equipped with an independent HVAC system (Wirth Opera Studio, C-201, C-204, C-209, C-310, Redpath-202). Rooms attached to the central HVAC systems of the Strathcona and Elizabeth Wirth Music Buildings and that are being utilized for in-person brass, woodwind and voice teaching have been equipped with an air purifier as an additional precautionary measure.

How will McGill University and the Schulich School of Music ensure that people with access to the building are following the safety guidelines?

It is important for each individual to understand their role and responsibilities in ensuring a safe environment. The University will continue in our communication to reinforce the need for each member of the community to be an agent of safety, not only by their personal behaviours, but also by helping and reminding others to respect the health and safety directives.

During the Fall and Winter semesters, several McGill employees will act as Safety Ambassadors. They will be doing rounds in our facilities, with a role of helping individuals follow the directives, and reminding individuals of these directives. In cases where more serious issues arise, security will also be onsite and the procedures for reporting non-compliance can be found here.

Failure to comply with the safety guidelines could result in reduced access, exclusion from the building, and/or disciplinary measures.

Are administrative services available to Schulich students and faculty?

Some staff members will return to campus part-time for front-facing services.

  • The box office, located at the entrance of the Strathcona Music Building, will be open for general inquiries weekdays from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
  • The building director’s office (E223) will be open weekdays from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
  • The Flex Space, located on the 8th floor of the Wirth Music Buidling, will be open weekdays from 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. This space offers students and staff members without offices a place to wait, study or eat between lessons and practice. This space is offered only to those with current access to the music buildings and should not be used for social gathering.
  • Additionally, several units will be available for online appointments, please see the list of administrative contacts for more information.

As per the recommendation of the University and Quebec government, administrative employees will continue to work from home until a progressive return is possible. Regular meetings are taking place online between University leaders, the Schulich Executive Committee, and administrative staff.

Administrative contacts

Administrative services are available during regular business hours and emails are being monitored regularly. Until further notice, email is the best way to contact staff members. Below is a list of resource accounts to contact each unit:

  • Admissions: undergraduateadmissions.music [at] mcgill.ca OR graduateadmissions.music [at] mcgill.ca
  • Communications and Production: publicity.music [at] mcgill.ca
  • Finance: elise.quinn [at] mcgill.ca
  • Graduate Studies: graduatestudies.music [at] mcgill.ca or Book an appointment with Graduate Studies
  • Music Performance: performance.music [at] mcgill.ca
  • Music Research: research.music [at] mcgill.ca
  • Student Affairs: studentaffairs.music [at] mcgill.ca or Book an appointment with Student affairs
  • Building Director’s Office: buildingdirector.music [at] mcgill.ca 
  • Visit the McGill Conservatory website for the most up to date information or to book an appointment online.

See a complete list of administrative contacts here

Are there study spaces on campus?

Yes, in collaboration with the libraries, McGill has re-imagined safe spaces on campus that are designed for quiet and individual study. More information and bookings can be found on the Study Hubs Website

What is the FLEX Space?

The Flex Space, located on the 8th floor of the Wirth Music Buidling, will be open weekdays from 10:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m.

The purpose of this space is to offer students and staff members without offices a place to wait, study or eat between lessons and practice. This space is offered only to those with current access to the music buildings and should not be used for social gathering. The room offers 12 desks and 8 cushioned seats for a capacity of 20 people.

The University requires that the room be managed by personnel at all times and that we collect specific information from all users for contact tracing purposes. The room monitors will be tasked with verifying your room booking indications and ensuring that all users are keeping their masks on and cleaning their space prior to departure.

At this time no reservation or advance bookings can be made and the spaces we’ve set up according to the current safety guidelines (2-meter distancing) are available on a first come, first serve basis. If the space is fully occupied when you arrive, you will not be able to enter.

Room rules and regulations:

  1. All users are required to sign in and sign out and provide the following information: Name, McGill ID, Arrival and departure time as well as the room number you are arriving from and departing to
  2. MASKS ARE REQUIRED AT ALL TIMES, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF WHEN YOU ARE EATING
  3. Sit only in designated seats
  4. Personal belongings should not be left unsupervised.

Can I remotely access software on the Marvin Duchow Music Library’s PC workstations?

Music students, faculty, and staff can now connect remotely to some of the Library’s PC workstations. Finale, Sibelius, Transcribe! and Dorico are available for remote access on certain machines. The service is available through McGill IT's AnyDesk Service. Off-campus users must be connected to the McGill VPN to access the site, and only one user may be signed into a given computer at a time. Note that certain functions of the programs might respond more slowly when used remotely.

For more information about the remote access service, please see the McGill Library announcement.

How can I return books to the library?

Returns can be done in person or by mail. Please visit McGill Libraries’ FAQ for up to date information.

Is the music library open for pick-up?

Requested Music Library materials can now be picked up in the Wirth Lobby on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11 am – 2 pm. Library materials can be returned during the service hours as well. 

Library users must have their McGill ID to enter the Wirth Music Building Lobby. Please note that access for all other purposes is through the Strathcona Music Building only. Users will be asked to leave the Wirth Lobby after picking up or returning library materials. 

A limited selection of the Music Library’s AV equipment, which is being made available only to Schulich School of Music users, can also be borrowed as part of the service. 

Note that it is not possible to request materials directly at the Wirth Lobby. Books, scores, CDs and DVDs must be requested in advance through the Library Pickup form, and A/V equipment, through the equipment reservation form

Service details are available on the McGill Library Pickup Service page. 

How can I go about accessing information from McGill libraries?

All McGill Library branches, including the Music Library, are closed until further notice. Online access to many library materials remains available, and certain items are available through the Terrace Pickup Service. Music Library staff are available to answer your questions or to arrange one-on-one virtual consultations, and you may also chat with, email or text a McGill librarian. For more information, see the McGill Libraries FAQ page.

To allow students to begin and continue their academic path no matter where they are in September, courses are being offered through remote delivery platforms. The safety of our students and staff is our priority.

Will international graduate students receive funding packages even if they choose to pursue remote instruction from their home country?

Yes, these students will receive their stipend during the Fall, even if they are studying remotely. Please contact graduatestudies.music [at] mcgill.ca as they have been given instructions on how to disburse the stipend. More information on graduate and postdoctoral studies can be found here.

Will all courses be delivered?

Every course offered must be deliverable remotely to allow students to progress in their program, regardless of their physical presence on campus. Courses that cannot be delivered remotely will not be offered. The in-person teaching that has been approved by the University’s Emergency Operations Committee will equally be available online. (Updated June 23, 2020)

Will practical instruction take place in-person in Fall 2020?

As of Thursday, October 8, McGill University will be operating at a Red Alert level, consistent with the city of Montreal. Approved in-person lessons and sound recording classes are two of the in-person activities that can continue. 

The School’s application to request in-person practical instruction (lessons and voice coachings) and access to the practice rooms has been approved by the University’s Emergency Operations Committee for Fall 2020, contingent on favourable public health conditions. Students who do not have an instrument at home (pianists, percussionists, organists, harpsichordists) will be given priority access to practice rooms, as well as to those unable to practice in their place of residence. All teaching activities and practice time will be scheduled centrally. Visit our “COVID-19 and your health” tab to learn what safety measures have been put in place.

As a reminder, all courses offered in Fall 2020 must be deliverable remotely. We recognize that not every student and faculty may be able to be present on campus in the fall term, as a result of travel restrictions or individual health concerns. Those who are unable to be present on campus will have the option of online lessons.

Read Schulich’s “PDF icon Brief Guide for Remote Practical Instruction” compiled by Jennie Ferris and Prof. Douglas McNabney

Will large ensembles take place?

Most large ensembles will not be offered in the Fall term. This includes the McGill Symphony Orchestra, McGill Wind Orchestra, McGill Contemporary Ensemble, McGill Baroque Orchestra, and all choirs. Opera McGill and all jazz ensembles will be offered remotely. The School has developed a set of courses suited to each area that will enable students to actively engage with matters relating to ensemble playing and will allow students to maintain regular progression in their programs.

How will small ensembles be organized?

Most small ensembles courses will not be offered in their usual format, but ensemble playing will be addressed in a set of remotely delivered ensemble skills courses tailored to each area. All students connecting remotely will be able to complete all requirements. To the extent possible, actual in-person collaborations may be arranged. Jazz combos will be offered remotely and will focus on recording projects using current online platforms.

Will recitals presented in Fall 2020 be open to the public?

Recitals will not be open to the public, but students will have the option to webcast. 

What additional S/U options have been implemented for students in the Fall?

Last December, the University decided to implement an additional S/U Option for the 2020-2021 academic year. Exceptionally for the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 terms, and where permitted by Faculty regulations and program requirements:

  • students may take up to a total of 6 credits over the two terms to be graded as S/U under this Additional S/U Option;
  • these credits may be associated with elective, complementary, or required courses; and
  • credits designated as S/U under this Additional S/U Option do not count toward the maximum specified by the existing S/U option (10% of the credits taken at McGill to fulfil the degree requirements).

Complete detailed information can be found here.

Deadline to apply for the ADDITIONAL S/U option for Fall 2020 courses is January 18, 2021 at 5:00 PM. You must complete the Undergraduate S/U Request Form.

NB: A student cannot make any changes after this deadline. Therefore, it is important to speak to an academic advisor before making a decision. All submissions are final.

How will undergraduate placement exams for theory, musicianship, and keyboard proficiency take place?

All placement exams will be delivered online. Detailed updates about dates and times will soon be provided on our Undergraduate Music Placement Exams webpage.

Which in-person activities will take place in Winter 2021?

In-person teaching activities for the Winter term have been planned as either Tier 1 or Tier 2. Tier 1 are essential in-person teaching activities and, if the public health situation allows, Tier 2 would allow for some additional in-person learning opportunities. These opportunities will be complemented with a remote alternative, as was the case in the Fall 2020 semester.

Tier 1 activities include: Practical instruction (lessons and voice coaching); Sound-Recording Classes; select Large and Small Ensemble courses.

Tier 2 activities include: Composition Tutorials and some Composition Area Seminars.

Which Large and Small Ensembles will take place?

Many ensembles will be offered in the Winter term and will work in concentrated periods of time. This includes the McGill Symphony Orchestra, McGill Wind Orchestra, McGill Contemporary Music Ensemble, McGill Baroque Orchestra. Opera McGill, Schulich Singers and all Jazz Ensembles will be offered through a hybrid of online and in-person rehearsals. Chamber Music Ensembles (up to quintets) will also take place in the winter term.

All ensembles’ course outlines, even those that cannot properly function on a remote platform, will need to include an alternative plan to enable students to fulfill course requirements in the event that further tightening of restrictions prevent us from completing the course as planned.

The large and small ensembles that were offered remotely in Fall 2020 will continue to be available to students who are not on campus in Winter 2021, even if a portion of the course is offered in person.

In support of the government's efforts to reduce the gatherings, we have postponed the start date of several large ensembles. Refer to the Ensembles page for the most up-to-date information on large ensembles and course replacements.

Will recitals presented in Winter 2021 be open to the public?

Recitals are not be open to the public, but students will have options to record (audio or video) their performance.

Will concerts take place?

The Schulich School of Music has planned a concert season including student recitals with performances available online.

Please view our events calendar for more details.

What Additional S/U options have been implemented for students in the Winter?

Last December, the University decided to implement an additional S/U Option for the 2020-2021 academic year. Exceptionally for the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 terms, and where permitted by Faculty regulations and program requirements:

  • students may take up to a total of 6 credits over the two terms to be graded as S/U under this Additional S/U Option;
  • these credits may be associated with elective, complementary, or required courses; and
  • credits designated as S/U under this Additional S/U Option do not count toward the maximum specified by the existing S/U option (10% of the credits taken at McGill to fulfil the degree requirements).

Complete detailed information can be found here.

Deadline to apply for the ADDITIONAL S/U option for Winter 2021 courses and multi-term courses beginning in Fall 2020:

  • Graduating students: May 11, 2021
  • Non-graduating students: May 20, 2021

The request forms will be available as of April 2, 2021.

Deadline to apply for REGULAR S/U option for courses this Winter 2021 remains the course add/drop deadline of January 22, 2021. The regular S/U option can only be used for courses taken outside the Schulich School of Music. More information from the ecalendar can be found here.

Will international graduate students receive funding packages even if they choose to pursue remote instruction from their home country?

Yes, these students will receive their stipend during the winter semester, even if they are studying remotely. Please contact graduatestudies.music [at] mcgill.ca as they have been given instructions on how to disburse the stipend. More information on graduate and postdoctoral studies can be found here.

Are music buildings and their facilities accessible at this time?

McGill University will be operating at a Red Alert level, consistent with the city of Montreal.

From January 9 to February 7, 2021, under the province-wide curfew, building hours will be reduced, but activities categorized as Tier 1 will continue as planned.

In-person activities that can continue: 

  • Approved in-person lessons and sound recording classes 
  • Assigned access to practice rooms from 7:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • Scheduled recitals and exams 
  • Rehearsals directly related to large and small ensemble participation or an upcoming recital/exam
  • Research activities with previously approved resumption plans 
  • Essential administrative staff services (your supervisor will confirm) 

In-person activities that cannot continue: 

  • Research involving human participants, including performers 
  • Visits to campus by anyone other than current students, faculty, and staff 
  • Events, including student association activities 

We strongly urge our community to work remotely if you can. If you must come to the music buildings for one of the approved activities, please adhere strictly to safety protocols, abide by the scheduled time for your in-person activity, and do not linger in the buildings. 

How do I access the music buildings?

As of Thursday, October 8, McGill University will be operating at a Red Alert level, consistent with the city of Montreal. Everyone is strongly urged to work remotely when possible. See the list of in-person activities that can and can’t continue in the first question under “Facilities and Equipment”. 

The music buildings are open with restricted card access, so you must have your McGill ID and a room reservation for in-person lessons, remote lessons or a practice room. Once your booking request has been approved, you will be granted card access. If you do not have an ID card, please follow these instructions:

McGill Students: New students should visit the Service Point website to book an appointment.

Staff: Guidelines for McGill staff members are accessible through the McGill Human Resources website

Other users: Students from Marianopolis or part-time instructors, for example, should email buildingdirector.music [at] mcgill.ca for an appointment to pick up a temporary access card.

The security agent or Safety Ambassador at the front entrance will open the door to the Strathcona Music building when you do not have an ID, please follow the instructions posted at 555 Sherbrooke West.

A new card reader has been added at 555a Sherbrooke for stairless entry, please email your request for card access to buildingdirector.music [at] mcgill.ca

How do I pick up keys for the room I’ve been assigned for in-person teaching?

Once your booking has been confirmed, instructors can pick up keys from the Building Director’s office (E223) open weekdays from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.

How can I retrieve items from campus?

Any Schulich instructor, staff or student who has not requested to work or practice on campus may request temporary access by emailing buildingdirector.music [at] mcgill.ca

Will practice rooms be accessible during the Winter semester?

Practice has been categorized as an essential activity that is permitted to continue while the City of Montreal is a red alert zone. During the Winter term, practice rooms are open from 7:00 am- 10:00 pm daily*. As a result of COVID-19, circulation in and out of the buildings will be strictly regulated and all practice time will be scheduled allowing no unregulated access to practice rooms.

*From January 9 to February 7, 2021, under the province-wide curfew, building hours will be reduced and the practice rooms will be open until 7:30 p.m. daily.

An email communication with a link to the Winter 2021 practice room reservation was sent to all current students on December 17 from Peter Wightman. Requests will be processed on a first-come first-served basis.

The eligibility criteria for practice rooms in the Winter semester (January 4-April 30):

  • Everyone who can practice from their home or residence is requested to do so
  • Priority access will be given to students who do not have an instrument at home, or cannot practice where they live
  • Wearing a mask is always required when entering, circulating in, or exiting the building (enter through Strathcona Music at 555 Sherbrooke West and follow signage in the building; exit from the Wirth Music Building)
  • Only one person at a time is permitted to ride in elevators; follow directional signage in staircases
  • Congregating in hallways is not allowed;
  • There should only be one person in each practice room. You cannot rehearse with a colleague or accompanist in a practice room.
  • Non-compliance with guidelines will result in immediate revocation of practice privileges

Access to the building requires a valid McGill ID card. New students must get their McGill ID activated before entering Schulich’s buildings.

Is it possible to book extra practice times or rooms large enough to practice with an accompanist or ensemble?

Ad hoc booking requests can be made using the online room booking system. In the description box please include your instrument and the name of your accompanist and ensemble (limited). Please indicate if you do not currently have card access to the building for practice or in-person lessons. All persons on campus must be accounted for and your instrument helps determine the appropriate room size and equipment as well as the amount of time to leave between bookings.

Requests will be processed on a first come, first-served basis and can take up to 2 days to process during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Weekend booking requests will only be processed on Monday starting at 10:00 a.m., it is highly recommended to submit booking request as early as possible. Booking requests cannot be made over the phone.

Requests will be processed on a first-come first-served basis.

Can lockers be accessed at this time?

To register for a locker for 2020-2021 contact lockers.music [at] mcgill.ca
To request access to retrieve or clear out items contact buildingdirector.music [at] mcgill.ca .

Information on McGill graduation and diplomas can be found on McGill’s regularly updated Convocation FAQ page.

How are the Schulich School of Music's Convocations being held?

Graduating students will be honoured by two Convocation ceremonies.

  1. In person ceremonies are postponed until Spring 2021, provided that government and local health authority recommendations allow us to gather safely at that time.
  2. McGill has also hosted virtual ceremonies for each Faculty for Spring and Fall 2020.
    Visit McGill's page on virtual ceremonies for more information.

How will travel for academic purposes (conferences, internships, etc) be affected?

In keeping with government directives, McGill has suspended all student travel outside Canada for internships, student exchanges, international mobility programs, competitions, or conferences. See the most up to date policies for University travel here. Staff and students can apply for exceptions for mission critical and time-sensitive travel through their Faculty Dean or unit head (associate vice-principal or higher).

See the most up to date policies for University travel here.

Where can international students find information about travel?

McGill’s International Student Services has a complete FAQ on travel related questions. Please refer to this page for more information.

Will international students moving to Montreal be required to self-isolate?

International students arriving from abroad for the semester or any community member returning from international travel will be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival in Canada, as per Canadian government directives. More information can be found on McGill’s International Student Services’ travel FAQ.

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