A Message from the Dean: Update on Spring 2021 semester

Dear students, faculty and staff of USC Thornton,

I am writing with an update for the Spring 2021 semester. As highlighted in today’s university announcement, the County of Los Angeles issued new guidelines this week which have relaxed some of the requirements regarding student activities on campus.

The new guidelines made special accommodations for students who study in the arts, something I have advocated for since last March. In anticipation of reopening, the Thornton School has been re-thinking and re-configuring its spaces. Logistics, which will allow for very restricted use of our facilities, are being finalized in response to the guidance.

While this is encouraging news, I want to keep expectations realistic. The guidelines are very restrictive and will only benefit some Thornton students. This is not a complete opening of Thornton’s facilities, but only a partial reopening.

Practice spaces prioritized

Our first goal, as we have stated since summer, will be to open spaces for practicing to those local students who are experiencing hardships. Access will be very limited at this point and will require advanced reservations. We will announce more details next week.

Classes will remain online and students are encouraged to remain where they are

As I have stated previously, all instruction at the Thornton School will remain online for the entirety of the Spring 2021 semester. While a partial reopening will benefit some students who are already in the vicinity of campus, students who are currently outside of Los Angeles should continue to safely study and practice from your remote locations. For those who are local, I encourage you to take advantage of university resources as they become available.

Looking ahead

Please join me in thanking our Restart and Music Operations teams who dropped everything they were doing when the guidelines arrived and quickly had a detailed plan in place. Totally impressive!

The Thornton School closed on March 13, 2020. Now, almost a year later, it feels wonderful to say that we will soon begin reopening, even if only partially. This gives me hope for a normal reopening in the Fall 2021 semester and we are planning towards that end. As always, our main concerns are the safety of the Thornton community and the quality education of our students. We have had to balance these priorities all year and will continue to do so. I will be in touch soon with further updates.

Stay safe and be well.

Rob Cutietta
Dean, USC Thornton School of Music