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Health and Safety Guidelines

Guidelines for Events, Performances, and Instruction

College of Arts and Architecture – 2021-22
Approved by Penn State COVID-19 Operations Control Center and University Leadership, August 25, 2021
Reviewed January 2022

Based on the current Penn State COVID-19 policies, the academic and professional programs and public-facing units in the performing arts disciplines (Music, Theatre, Dance, Center for the Performing Arts) propose the following exceptions to best facilitate student success in completing course work related to their active full participation and to re-open in-person high-quality arts experiences for the entire community. We acknowledge that students cannot be required to be vaccinated to participate in academic performance activities, so these guidelines create alternative scenarios in academic settings for vaccinated and non-vaccinated students to maintain health and safety in academic performance environments. Please see below for COVID-specific language added as an addendum to all CPA performance contracts.

If you have questions, please contact:
Katie Rountree
A&A Facilities Manager
124 Borland Building
(814) 863-5733 – Office
(814) 777-6226 – Cell

Audience Protocols

Per University mandate, all audience members will be required to wear a mask at all times for indoor performances.

The COVID-19 statement on participation will be posted on entrance doors, printed in programs, shown on screens, and on websites. For performances requiring a ticket, the purchaser  must click to accept the statement for the transaction to be processed.

The following language is to be posted at all public events (indoors or outdoors) and in addition to whatever is on ticketing or registration sites:

Your presence at this program, event, or activity indicates your agreement to adhere to all university policies, including health and safety policies such as masking if applicable, and your acknowledgment that you are voluntarily participating in this program, event, or activity. You further acknowledge the contagious nature of covid-19 and assume any and all risk of exposure to or infection by it or any variant thereof, including, without limitation, personal injury, illness, severe complications, permanent disability, and/or death.

Non-Academic/Co-Curricular Performing Protocols

All students in the School of Theatre and School of Music who will perform in a non-academic public performance in any of our venues without wearing a mask will be fully vaccinated. In this  instance, vaccinated student performers will be permitted to remove their masks in rehearsal and performance when they are actively performing. This mask removal exception also applies to CPA contracted performers.

Offstage, waiting in the wings, waiting to rehearse, not actively playing wind or brass instruments or singing during rehearsal etc., all students will remain masked. All other students  involved in production capacities other than performing, including all faculty or staff, will be masked in any indoor location. When not actively performing, CPA contracted performers and associated company staff must abide by Penn State policies as stated in their contract addendum. When hosting University or community groups, the CPA will observe Penn State policy and the approved guidelines of Student Affairs and/or the Schools of Theatre and Music.

All individuals working on public performances that are part of an academic program, regardless of vaccination status, will be expected to do a weekly voluntary COVID test and to report to their project’s designated leader that they have completed the test each week. Failure to comply will preclude students from performing.

Academic/Instructional Protocols

Per University policy, the Schools of Music and Theatre will not require any students to be vaccinated to participate in any performance-related classes. However, we recognize that there are certain circumstances where vaccinated and unvaccinated students may need different protocols for teaching and assessment. Faculty will advise all enrolled students that in-person assessments where unmasking is required are reserved for vaccinated students. Non- vaccinated students will be given alternative virtual assessments.

Any students who remain unvaccinated, or who have not shared vaccination status with the  University, will need to wear a mask at all times for indoor classes, without exception. The instructor should have a conversation with the class or individual on the first meeting to address comments or concerns.

For any performance-oriented group classes, (acting, singing, dancing, wind and brass instrument playing), where the instructor determines that it is vital and essential for the development of the student to perform at certain times without a mask, each student will be required to attest to fully vaccinated status in order to periodically unmask in the studio. Unvaccinated students in the class may need to perform periodically via Zoom for assessment without wearing a mask.

One-on-one instruction in singing, acting, or wind and brass instruments in private studios will have separate protocols to allow unmasking required for lessons. Singers, actors, or wind and brass players who are not vaccinated may arrange part of the lesson with the instructor to be remote so that embouchure assessment can be made.

Instructors and staff accompanists will have attested to fully vaccinated status to participate in private studios. Only students who are fully vaccinated will be permitted to participate in an in- person private studio. Unvaccinated students will have their lessons delivered over Zoom.

In the School of Theatre, each private studio will have a clear, partial barrier between the student and the accompanist and the instructor, and each voice studio will have a Medify Air MA25 air purifier.

All other School of Theatre and School of Music classes will require masking indoors, per Penn State guidelines.

Recognized student organizations who have a performance component will follow these same guidelines.

There are currently no distance, time duration, or air exchange considerations resulting in limitations in any of our facilities.

Please note: additional guidelines specific to the School of Music are detailed on this page.

CPA Contracted Performer Protocols

Below details the current performer contract addendum COVID-specific language as required by the Office of General Counsel and Risk Management:

COVID-19: The following COVID-19 provisions apply to the extent that the Attraction’s employees, representatives, or agents will be physically present on University property or in a University leased facility.

Attraction acknowledges and agrees that it is solely responsible for its activities and the  activities of its employees. Attraction confirms that is has adopted policies and practices to  mitigate the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and its variants for the safety of any persons with  whom Attraction’s employees may come in contact.

Attraction agrees that its policies and practices include, at a minimum, following any applicable  and current guidance or directive from the Centers for Disease Control, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and any specific guidance that may be issued by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In any case where the University has published a specific guideline or recommendation that is more restrictive than the foregoing, Attraction shall follow the University’s guidelines or recommendations, which will be periodically updated on its website.

In any case where the University has published a specific guideline or recommendation that is less restrictive than the foregoing, Attraction may choose which guidelines or recommendations to follow.

Key elements of relevant and applicable guidance may differ among individuals based on their  COVID-19 vaccination status and related policies/standards in place at that time. Generally,  guidance may include but is not limited to:

  1. staying home when sick;
  2. social distancing;
  3. washing hands often for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap, and/or using hand sanitizer;
  4. avoiding touching the face and eyes with one’s hands; and,
  5. utilizing face masks, which Attraction shall provide to its employees at its sole  expense.

While acknowledging that these rules and precautions may or may not be effective in mitigating the spread of COVID-19, Attraction shall require its employees, at a minimum, to comply with such rules and precautions while on the property. Attraction acknowledges that, depending on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccination statuses, additional or alternative health and safety measures may be in place, which, if applicable, will be communicated by University prior to the event or operations occurring on the University’s property.

Attraction further acknowledges and agrees that it has policies and procedures in place that prohibit any of its employees to enter onto the property if they have been (or have been in close contact with someone who has been) recently diagnosed with COVID-19 or any variant thereof, are awaiting the results of a COVID-19/variant test, or are experiencing symptoms generally associated with COVID-19 or any variant. Attraction acknowledges and agrees that it is responsible for enforcing such policies and procedures, monitoring the health and wellness of its employees entering University property, and removing such employee from the property. Attraction will report any confirmed or suspected cases that may impact University personnel to its Center contract representative.

Attraction agrees to abide by the Workers’ Compensation system for all work-related claims of its employees, including, without limitation, any claims associated with COVID-19.

Attraction assumes any and all risk that its employees may be exposed to or infected by COVID-19 or any variant thereof, regardless of preventative measures, by entering the property and acknowledges that such exposure or infection may result in personal injury, illness, severe complications, permanent disability, and/or death.

Attraction has provided a copy of these COVID-19 provision terms to each of its employees who will be entering or using the premises, and affirms that said employees were required to read these provisions in their entirety prior to their entry upon the property.

A close-up view of a group of colorful full-face masks hung on a wall.
School of Music orchestra performance.

Penn State School of Music Protocols

COVID Guidance for Students – Fall 2021
Approved August 20, 2021
Reviewed January 2022

The following protocols are to protect the health of all students, staff, and faculty. All policies are subject to change according to the prevalence of the virus in our community, and scientific/medical updates. Specific guidelines will be shared with you by your instructor during your initial class meeting. Visit this site to learn more about the research being done in performing during Covid.


Penn State requires everyone to appropriately wear a face mask (i.e., covering both your mouth and nose) inside all University buildings, including classrooms, regardless of vaccination status. This is to protect your health and safety as well as the health and safety of your classmates, instructor, and the University community.

Anyone attending class without a mask will be asked to put one on or leave. Instructors may end class if anyone present refuses to appropriately wear a mask for the duration of class. Students who refuse to wear masks appropriately may face disciplinary action for Code of Conduct violations. If you feel you cannot wear a mask during class, please speak with your adviser immediately about your options for altering your schedule.

Rehearsal and Performance Masking – Wind and Brass Players
Wind and brass players may wear regular, non-wind instrument-specific face masks. Masks can be removed or lowered while playing but must be replaced at all other times. At this point bell covers are not mandated.

Rehearsal and Performance Masking – Singers
In choirs, only one mask is required when singing. Procedural masks will be available at all faculty-led choral activities.

Two masks are required for lessons, in performances, and in the practice rooms.

Rehearsal and Performance Masking – Strings, Percussion, Keyboard, Academic Classroom
For low aerosol-emitting activities, such as regular classes/lectures and string, percussion, and keyboard playing, there are no additional COVID-related restrictions, except for mandated masking for all when indoors.

Physical Distancing

Except for activities including singing and playing wind and brass instruments, no social distancing will be required. It is recommended to create as much space between individuals as possible. Everyone is reminded to be aware of the personal space of others.

In rehearsal situations of non-aerosol emitters, if comfortable, students may share a music stand.

For all activities that include singing, and playing wind and brass instruments, 3 feet between individuals is required.

Vaccination Status and Rapid Testing

For all School of Music ensembles, academic/credit-bearing classes, and applied lessons (music education, private instrumental lessons, etc.) that include high aerosol-emitting activities (singing, playing wind and brass instruments) the policy is, and should be written in the syllabus:

To participate in the course, to fulfill the instructional and performance requirements associated with the nature of the class in support of a successful learning experience, and to protect the health of all students, staff, and faculty members, all unvaccinated students in the course must be tested once each week. Weekly testing should begin as soon as students return to their campus or off-campus accommodation for the Fall semester.

  • Any student who tests positive will be quarantined. Those who have been notified as being in close contact will need to isolate regardless of vaccination status.
  • Students who have indicated a preference not to share vaccination status will be held to the same protocols as unvaccinated students.
  • Students who are experiencing COVID-19-related symptoms or who have been in contact with a COVID-infected person should not attend class in person. If you have symptoms, you should immediately contact a health provider.

Ensembles will require testing for unvaccinated students before any off-campus field trips/performances.


Rooms will continue to have a greater intake of fresh air while the temperature remains warm enough. Several of our rooms require extra air filtration so it is essential that any portable air filters in the room are always left at full power.


No limits of duration will be imposed on any class, lesson, or activity that does not involve singing and/or playing wind and brass instruments. However, if a high-aerosol event is taking place before or after your event, it is necessary for you to ensure that 20 minutes of ventilation is available on both sides of your event in order for your event to be scheduled.

Duration – Options for Applied Lessons with Aerosol-Producing Instruments (Wind/Brass)

  • Two 30-minute in-person lessons per week
  • One 45-minute in-person lesson per week (not available for students who are not fully vaccinated or preferring not to answer vaccination status)
  • One 60-minute virtual lesson per week (remote, off-campus)

Duration – Options for Applied Lessons for Vocal Lessons

  • Two 30-minute in-person lessons per week
  • One 45-minute in-person lesson per week (not available for students who are not fully vaccinated or preferring not to answer vaccination status)
  • One 60-minute virtual lesson per week (unmasked, remote, off-campus)

Please remember that studio classes and Friday Forums supplement and satisfy the required lesson lengths.

Duration – Rehearsals that Include Singers, Winds, and Brass
Rehearsals should last 50 minutes, followed by at least 20 minutes of downtime for the room to clear and air. After 20 minutes, the rehearsal may resume until the end of the regular class period. Note, everyone must leave the room between rehearsal sessions.

Duration – Performances
For all performances in the School of Music, a concert with intermission should have a first half of no more than 45 minutes, a 15-minute intermission where everyone leaves the hall, and a second half of no more than 45 minutes. A concert without intermission should not last more than 50 minutes.


  • Pianos will continue to be sanitized after use. Both before and after your practice session, use the solution in the spray bottle hanging on the wall to spray on the microfiber cloth and then wipe off the keys. Do not spray directly on the piano keys, or the instrument.
  • No further sanitization of equipment will be necessary.
  • Puppy pads will continue to be supplied and used as per the spring 2021 semester.

Practice Rooms

  • Practice rooms are assigned by area (winds, strings, brass, voice, and percussion). Students are not permitted to use rooms not assigned to their area.
  • Weekly sign-up sheets are posted on every door. Using the sign­ up sheets, students may schedule practice time.
  • Practice rooms can be reserved for up to two hours at one time, though it is strongly recommended that the room be completely vacated for 10 minutes of every one-hour session to allow for air exchange.
  • 30 minutes of vacancy must be observed between sign-ups. Timers have been installed in every room. Once a student leaves, 30 minutes should be started on the timer. Once the countdown is completed, either 30:00 or 00:00 appears. If the timer is not counting down, the room can be occupied.
  • Practice room doors should remain unlocked and always closed to enable the HVAC system to function effectively.
  • No one should be in the practice room area after midnight to enable the HVAC system to function effectively overnight.

Graduate Student Teaching Spaces

Graduate TA Teaching Studios are teaching locations. Up to three people (teacher, student, and accompanist) are permitted in the space at one time. Between occupancies, a 30-minute vacancy is required due to the less-than-desirable three air exchange rate in the room. Office locations should not be used for hangouts.

Music Stands

Students are not required to supply their own music stands, though personal stands might be necessary depending on distancing requirements.

Classroom Equipment

Except for instruments, equipment may be shared.


Consuming food and beverages indoors is prohibited on Penn State campuses except in designated food service areas (e.g., dining commons, etc.). The School of Music kitchen will be unavailable, and food and beverages (other than water) will not be permitted in any room.

Refrigerators, hot pots, tea pots, etc. are not permitted in any practice room/office.