A Message from Dean Cutietta

Dear Thornton Community,

In a memo on August 5 to the university community, Provost Zukoski announced that USC would begin the Fall 2020 semester with fully remote instruction. Similar to our own announcement on July 15, the university will now be completely online for the start of the school year.

USC has been waiting for permission from state and county health officials to open the campus, but, based on the progression of COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County, this permission is being delayed for the foreseeable future.

It is so unfortunate, but I want to clarify a few points in the Provost’s announcement as it relates specifically to the Thornton School. The Provost wrote that as soon as public health regulations allow, the university will pivot quickly to select in-person and hybrid instruction and other on-campus activities.

It is important for me to clarify that USC Thornton will remain completely online for the Fall 2020 semester.

Based on the incredible uncertainty of this pandemic, we will commit to an online-only approach for the entire fall. Regardless of public health decisions and the prospect that the USC campus may at some point re-open, Thornton will remain online through the Fall 2020 semester. This decision was made to bring some sense of certainty in what has proven to be a historic disruption of all of our lives.

Some of you have responded to my July 15 message by submitting a request for an exception to be allowed to use some of our facilities, including the Gateway Practice Facility. We have been carefully reviewing those requests and continue to hope that we will be able to grant exceptions for our students who are most in need. Based on the uncertainty of when we will have further guidance from the County, we cannot be sure of when any such exceptions can be finalized.

An Update on Campus Housing

There is one other point in the Provost’s memo I want to highlight: USC has not received permission from Los Angeles County to resume residential life. All campus housing will be closed for the start of the Fall 2020 semester, and students will not be permitted to move into USC Housing until further notice. If you have a current contract or an active application for USC Housing and feel that you have critical need of a USC Housing assignment for the fall, please immediately contact USC Residential Education through this form.

A Final Thought

I don’t want this. I’ll guess, neither do you. No one does. The COVID-19 virus has upended every aspect of our lives. It is unprecedented in our lifetimes, and it has created an ocean of uncertainty. Please know that everyone – the staff and faculty at USC Thornton, university administration, and city, state, and county health officials – are all working to find a way forward in this crisis.

This is a global pandemic. There is no playbook for an international crisis such as this, and everyone is doing the best they can.

Still, what remains? The thing you, and everyone at Thornton, loves deeply. Music will remain. Lessons will shift online, performances will re-focus as recorded videos, instruction will face challenges but also surprisingly vibrant new methods. We’ll get through this together.

Thornton is an amazing community, but we are part of something larger, a community of musicians across the globe who will face this crisis together. We’ll find a way. We always do.

Stay safe and be well.

Rob Cutietta
Dean, USC Thornton School of Music