August 16: A Message from Dean Cutietta and Restart Team to Students

Dear Thornton Students:

We’re one week away from the start of the fall semester! Fall classes begin on Monday, August 23, and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome you to campus.

As you know from news reports and recent messages from USC, adjustments to public health guidance have become necessary in recent weeks due to the spread of the Delta variant. As a result, there will be some important changes to how we will need to start the fall semester in the Thornton School.

What has NOT changed since my last memo to you on July 20:

What HAS changed:

Given these changes to public health directives, we cannot avoid significant disruption to our aerosol- producing and aerosol-adjacent activity in the early weeks of the semester. We are disheartened by this, though not deterred. We are working feverishly to minimize disruptions in every way we can.

We must ask for your patience and flexibility. Our return will unfortunately not be as smooth as we have worked so hard to plan. You will receive details from your instructors and faculty mentors as they pertain to your personal courses and activities.

Still, our long-anticipated return to campus is happening. We will be in person, making music together for the first time in nearly eighteen months. We will be welcoming two incoming cohorts of students to campus for the first time, and current students will be returning after a long time away. This is a moment to celebrate, to feel hopeful, but also to understand that challenges remain. The Thornton community has pulled together to meet every challenge over the past eighteen months, and we’ll continue to adjust to changing circumstances. We look forward to supporting you in every way we can as you return.


Rob Cutietta, Dean, USC Thornton School of Music
USC Thornton Restart Team – Jeffrey de Caen, Brian Head, Susan Lopez, & Phillip Placenti