Dear PLU School of Arts and Communication Community:

In coordination with PLU’s Return to Campus announcement sent on Monday, August 3rd, the following are additional details regarding our School of Arts and Communication (SOAC) programs for the Fall 2020 semester.

Over the past many months, we have been following national and international discipline-specific research and guidelines regarding the COVID-19 virus and its potential impact on our programs. We understand the increased risk of COVID-19 infection from droplets and aerosols generated in rehearsals and performances in the performing arts, as well as the close-contact required in studio-based instruction in the visual arts. There are numerous studies that are continuing to move forward, funded by an unprecedented international coalition of arts organizations, to better understand how to mitigate the risk so that we can safely return to practicing, performing, and creating art. While the research is not yet complete, all options that we considered have the safety of our students and faculty as the primary focus.

In the School of Arts and Communication, a select number of blended courses have been prioritized for phasing in elements of in-person instruction, pending public health conditions and faculty discretion. These include: a number of Studio Art courses in Art & Design (Ceramics, 3D Design, Graphic Design, and Photography); Applied Context/Lab courses in Communication (Media Lab and Student Media); Ensembles, String Lab, and some Applied Private Lessons in Music; and Acting courses in Theatre & Dance.

All of our artistic offerings will continue. To ensure safety for all students, faculty, and staff, many of these will be offered in an online mode. All Fall 2020 courses will be offered either as BL (Blended) or ON (Online). At this time, online (ON) courses are not planned to have any on-campus or in-person elements. Should public health conditions change, and pending individual faculty discretion, there may be the potential to phase in limited in-person components at a later date. However, any added in-person components will not be required of students.

In Art & Design, studio art courses not listed above, as well as art history courses, will be offered online.

In Communication, most courses that are not Applied Context/Lab-based, will be offered fully online.

In Music, most of our large music ensembles will be divided into smaller chamber ensembles for the Fall semester and will proceed with a mixture of online, blended, and in-person rehearsals (with appropriate distancing both inside and/or outside). Many applied lessons (voice, woodwind, and brass instruments) will need to be offered remotely, with regular opportunities for in-person group masterclasses; applied lessons in other areas will be offered in a mixture of online, blended, and in-person modalities. Most music academic courses will be offered online. Details regarding ensemble auditions will be announced directly from the Department of Music.

In Theatre and Dance, most non-acting courses will be taught online. All dance courses will be offered fully online. Theatre and Dance students will gain experience with recorded performances, acting and designing for the camera, and other skills to prepare them not only for opportunities on stage but also in film, television, and new media. Details regarding auditions for Fall semester shows will be announced directly from the Department of Theatre & Dance.

Due to safety and care for our community at-large, all School of Arts and Communication performances this Fall 2020 semester will be presented without live audiences. In Music, most performances will be pre-recorded and streamed live via SOAC’s YouTube channel. Theatre & Dance has received special permission from publishers to live stream productions in the Fall. Art Gallery exhibits will be virtual, as similar to the Senior Capstone Show from this past Spring semester. A schedule of all of our broadcast performances and exhibits will be published on our calendar page and updated by the beginning of the Fall semester.

Our goal throughout our planning has been to ensure safety for all, while continuing to provide our excellent artistic programs. We remain committed to providing meaningful and engaging experiences for all of our students. Our faculty continue to be hard at work in their planning, and soon we will have some exciting announcements regarding additional artistic elements being added to our programs during this Fall 2020 semester. In regard to scholarships, should any requirements for maintaining artistic achievement awards in any discipline be modified, you can be assured that the retention of awards will not be impacted in any way.

In these unprecedented times, when we face both an ongoing worldwide pandemic and national racial unrest, our disciplines need you more now than ever before. Fall 2020 will prove to be a time in which we came together in our resolve, to not only make the world safer, but to make the world a better place. Our disciplines have that power. This Fall semester will lay the foundation of what we will accomplish together during the entire 2020-21 academic year.

Sincerely,

Cameron Bennett, Dean
School of Arts and Communication