Fine Arts COVID-19 Policies

Facilities | Policies | Performances & Ticketing Protocols | Practice Rooms | Department & Program Updates

Last Updated: 8.27.20

Letter from Fine Arts Chair, Dr. Joan Griffing

Welcome one and all to the 2020-21 academic year! The Fine Arts Division faculty and staff have been hard at work creating an inspiring, exciting and promising year of new productions, shows and events, albeit with a slightly different approach. The pandemic has affected us in practically every way, but we see it as an opportunity to do the arts in a wider variety of settings, formats and perspectives. Our promise is to provide our students with a robust learning environment while interacting with each other and our community in meaningful and thoughtful ways. Thinking “outside the box” has been our mantra!

Our first and foremost concern is for the health and safety of every member of our community. We have designed our classes, rehearsals, performances and events around the latest scientific research studies on the arts. Some of these studies are still in progress so we will adapt as new information becomes available.

Each department and area within Fine Arts has carefully crafted their programs for the coming semester. Details can be found below. For the first time, you will be able to attend a staged opera at the zoo, buy a mask created by a graphic design student, enjoy a concert on the lawn, view an art show virtually, and perhaps participate in an event yourself!

Increasing our excitement this fall is the addition of three new Fine Arts faculty: Dr. Rayvon T.J. Moore, Director of Choral Studies and Singing Quakers; Sheldon Mba, Assistant Professor of Music Theatre and Dance; and Jenny Venn, Visiting Assistant Professor of Graphic Art and Interim Director of Visual Arts Department. We couldn’t be more thrilled to have these three individuals join the Friends Fine Arts family!

We know this year will look and feel different. However, the times allow for new opportunities, new friendships and new appreciations to develop. I hope you share in my optimism and excitement for the coming year!

Warmly,

Dr. Joan Griffing
Friends University
Tim and Gail Buchanan Endowed Chair of the Fine Arts
Professor of Music
2100 W. University Ave. | Wichita, KS 67213

Facilities

  • MERV 13 air filters will be installed in Riney Fine Arts Center (RFAC).
  • All HVAC fresh-air intakes and exhaust fans have been checked for 100% functionality. 
  • Fans will be placed strategically in RFAC to help with air circulation.
  • Rehearsal room C6 in RFAC will have a new exhaust fan installed.
  • Humidifier system in RFAC was replaced in April.
  • HEPA-filter air purifiers will be provided in strategic rooms throughout RFAC.
  • At least 20 minutes between classes will be required for air-scrubbing. 
  • Classrooms will be arranged in such a way as to allow a minimum of 6 feet between students. 
  • A 6 foot buffer will be maintained between students and faculty at the front of the room.
  • In non-inclement weather, a large outdoor tent (40 ft x 40 ft) will be used for aerosol-producing classes as well as some performances.
  • All buildings were deep cleaned over the summer and will take place daily. Additional disinfecting of high-touch areas and restrooms will happen throughout the day.

Policies

  • If a student is sick and thinks they have COVID-19, the student needs to stay home until they have gone three days with no fever or other COVID-19 symptoms and ten days since symptoms first appeared.  
  • If a student tests positive for COVID-19 but does not have symptoms, the student needs to stay home until 10 days have passed since the positive test. 
    • More information on reentering the educational atmosphere after you have possibly had COVID-19 can be found on the CDC website
  • Students who need to miss face-to-face classes should contact their instructors immediately to arrange an SEL or online option in order to continue to participate in class.
  • Students who want to participate in only online or Zoom classes for a semester or longer should work with an advisor or success coach, who can help them move into an online program.
  • Friends University faculty, staff, and students are required to wear face coverings in public spaces on campus. Students are required to wear face coverings in all classes. A supply of extra disposable masks will be available for those that need one. 
    • Additional information on the Friends University face-covering policy can be found here.
  • Minimum 6-feet distancing is required in all spaces, including common areas.
  • Students should sit in the farthest available seat from the doorway while entering class and those closest to the door should exit class first.
  • Students should not congregate in groups in hallways or other common areas before or after class.
  • Students are responsible for cleaning music stands, chairs and other touched surfaces before and after classes. Disinfecting wipes will be available at the entrance to each classroom.
  • Everyone is required to practice good hand hygiene (sanitizing stations provided).
  • Friends University students, faculty and staff will adhere to new KDHE travel mandates. Those who have traveled to the wide-spread COVID-19 areas will not be allowed on campus or in residence halls until the 14-day quarantine has been completed.

For more information, FAQs and support links, visit friends.edu/coronavirus

Contact COVID Response Team at covid@friends.edu or 316-295-5298 with any questions or concerns.

Performances & Ticketing Protocols

The Fine Arts Division will be holding a full season of performances, art shows and other events this coming year. Because of COVID 19 we are changing our ticketing policy for the time being. 

  • All faculty, staff and the general public will have access to view performances free via livestream on the Friends Fine Arts facebook page.
  • Donations are encouraged during streamed events through the use of a virtual tip jar.

The decision to allow in-person audiences will be based on the recommendations of the Sedgwick County Local Health Officer. 

  • All students will receive one free ticket to attend in person. Tickets will only be available online.
  • A limited number of seats (approximately 100) will be available to the public. Seating will be by reservation only while integrating proper social distancing according to city health guidelines.
  • All ticket sales will take place online and contact-free at friends.edu/fineartstickets. There will be no in-person box office in Riney Fine Arts Center and no Will-Call office for holding tickets. Patrons may call the box office at 316-295-5677 to purchase tickets if they prefer.
  • All audience members must wear a mask while in the facility. If a patron cannot wear a face covering for any reason, a face shield will be provided. 
  • Only the east door to Sebits will be open to control the flow of people into the auditorium (the west door will be kept unlocked for fire safety). Patrons are asked to stay in their cars until the auditorium door opens 30 minutes before the start of the show.
  • Patrons will show the usher their tickets on their mobile device or print the ticket(s) at home.
  • If the performance is inside, all spaces with guests will be fogged after the event and surfaces wiped down.

Practice Rooms

  • Students must sign up on the practice room door to reserve a time slot to practice. This is necessary for contact tracing if the need arises.
  • Practice rooms are available for half hour slots to allow the air in the room to refresh in between practice sessions.
  • Students may sign up for multiple simultaneous half hour slots. Please leave a minimum of a half hour free between different individuals’ practice sessions when you sign up.
  • Sign ups slots are reserved for the entire semester.
  • There is an additional sign up sheet for drop-in practice sessions. We need a record of who was in what room when for contact tracing purposes.
  • Open windows if possible when you enter the practice room and close them when you leave.
  • Use a disinfectant wipe or a paper towel sprayed with a disinfectant on every surface you touch when you enter. Please notify office staff if the cleaning supplies located in each hallway run out. Wipes should not be used on piano keys. Please use a paper towel that has been sprayed or soaked in disinfectant. Do not spray disinfectant directly on the piano keyboard.
  • Vocal, wind and brass players should use C hall practice rooms when possible as they have windows that can open.

Department & Program Updates

All plans are subject to change, and questions should be directed to the respective ensemble conductor.

Bands

(Department contact: Shawn M. Knopp)

  • All musicians must wear face coverings at all times – both when playing and not playing.
  • Concert band will be divided into a woodwind/percussion choir and brass/percussion choir.
  • Rehearsals will occur outside – dress appropriately.
  • Concerts will be outside. The first concert is scheduled for Sept. 28 – location TBD. This performance will be professionally photographed, and audio/video recorded.
  • Individuals are solely responsible for the placement, management, and sanitation of their equipment and instruments for a class and/or ensemble.
  • Percussionists will wear face coverings throughout the entire rehearsal.
  • Flutes should play with the headjoint inside of the mask. (See this video for a demonstration.)
  • Bells of all instruments must be covered.
  • Each student is responsible for cleaning their own areas.
    • Chair and stand before and after each rehearsal.
    • Locker handle and lock before and after use.
    • Cleaning supplies will be provided.
  • One face covering will be provided for each wind, percussion, and jazz student.
  • Bell coverings will be provided for each wind and jazz student. (Students are encouraged to provide additional bell coverings for their instruments.)
  • Puppy Pads will be available for those woodwind and brass instruments that need to empty water from their instruments during rehearsal.

Jazz

(Department contact: Dr. Robert Brooks)

  • The Swingin’ Quaker Jazz Ensemble, Grupo de Falcones, Jazz Vocal Ensemble, SOULstice, and combo program will all be happening in normal configuration.
  • Rehearsals will be socially-distanced, indoors.
  • All ensembles concert on Oct. 10 will be live streamed, professionally photographed, and audio/video recorded in Sebits.
  • All students will be expected to implement use of A-ccompany app outside of rehearsal
  • Individuals are solely responsible for the placement, management, and sanitation of their equipment and instruments for a class and/or ensemble.

Choirs: Singing Quakers, Concert Choir, Chamber Vocal Ensemble, Choral Union

(Department contacts: Dr. Rayvon T.J. Moore and Rolaine Hetherington)

  • Singing Quakers (SQ) and Concert Choir (CC) will mostly meet in sectionals or chamber choirs 
  • Rehearsals – when inside, the following will take place:  
    • All singers will be required to wear face coverings throughout the rehearsal. 
    • Rehearsal will be limited to 30 minutes of singing. 
    • Singers will be spaced at least 6 feet apart. 
  •  SQ and CC will meet at least once a week with the full ensemble. SQ in Sebits or outside and CC in Alumni Auditorium or outside. 
  • Choral Union will rehearse occasionally outside.  
  • Christmas Candlelight Concert will be pre-recorded.  
  • Those voice sections/students that are not expected to report to rehearsal that day are expected to use My Choral Coach app. 

Voice

(Department contact: Dr. Matthew Schloneger)

  • Incoming voice scholarship students who are not music majors have been given the option to delay voice lessons or Voice Class until Spring 2021. Voice Class has been canceled for Fall 2020. 
  • All voice students are being given the option of taking in-person or online lessons. Dr. Lara Brooks will be offering only online lessons this fall. 
  • Vocal Forums (all voice students) and combined studio classes have been canceled for the fall and will be replaced with individual studio classes. Studio classes may take place in person with distancing or virtually. In-person studio classes may take place outdoors in the Fine Arts tent. 
  • For in-person studio voice lessons, students and voice teachers will remain masked at all times if indoors. Students will place themselves at least 10 feet from the piano for singing. Lessons will take place either in teaching studios with approved HEPA filters, approved large indoors spaces, or outdoors. All voice studios are being equipped with HEPA filters meeting specifications recommended by recent research on reducing the risk of aerosol spread of COVID-19 for singers.  
  • Voice lessons will be limited to 30 minutes for indoor teaching spaces. Periods of room vacancy for air-scrubbing will be required after any indoor singing/aerosol-producing activity (Exact periods TBD based on evolving research). Students taking more than 30-minutes applied lessons will need to schedule additional lesson times for each 30-minute block. 
  • Accompanists will not regularly enter voice studios for in-person lessons. Students should plan to use various virtual accompaniment resources for lessons and practice.  Live accompanists will be available only to practice for recitals, NATS, and juries.  Rehearsals with accompanists should take place in studios with approved HEPA filters, approved large rooms with adequate ventilation, or outdoors. Accompanists will remain masked at all times.  
  • NATS: The West Central Region NATS Auditions and NATS National Student Auditions will all be virtual this year. Some Fine Arts Division funding will still be available to assist competing students with registration and accompanist fees.

Orchestras

(Department contact: Dr. Lillian Green)

  • The orchestra will split into several smaller string ensembles in order to be safe and socially-distant.  We’ll play some traditional repertoire, and we’re also starting an alternative styles ensemble to break out of our classical box and try out some new genres! We hope that the full symphony will be able to return in the spring.
  • There will be no Community Orchestra this fall
  • Each student will have their own stand (no stand partners) 
  • Individuals are solely responsible for the placement, management, and sanitation of their equipment and instruments for a class and/or ensemble.
  • Students should enter the locker rooms from the hallway and exit through E-3 to avoid overcrowding. Arrive at rehearsal as early as possible and do not linger in the locker rooms; if there are too many individuals in the locker rooms, wait for them to leave before you enter.

Dance & Ballet

(Department contact: Andrea Vazquez-Aguirre)

The ballet technique classes will have a rotating schedule between ballet majors and non-majors for the first three weeks of the semester. After that period, everyone will work together in the ballet studios. A 14 feet by 14 feet distance between dancers will be enforced due to the nature of the physical activity. Dancers will wear a mask when working in the studios. We might be able to use an outdoor location as weather permits. Other courses such as Related Dance Forms: Dance Improvisation will engage in outdoor explorations. For the Repertoire course, the dancers will focus on solo repertoire, personal choreographic projects and solo or duet dancers for the fall opera at the Zoo. Unfortunately, the ballet program will not be able to produce the Christmas Carol by choreographer Brian Enos this winter season. We are planning this premiere for 2021. However, a Winter Dance Celebration performance will take place in November in collaboration with Dr. Wagoner’s creative writing class. The ballet program performances will be streamed, and available for a virtual audience. Dancers experience the benefits of a resilient body and mind connection. Therefore, this semester, despite the challenges we are facing, we will nurture individual artistry while supporting and taking care of each other.

Theatre

(Department contact: Kurt Priebe)

We wish to echo the voices of many performing arts educators, professionals and colleagues across the nation that theatre is an important offering and a specialized learning environment where students engage one another socially, physically, emotionally and interactively, gain valuable perspectives and insight into the diversity of the human condition, and share life-impacting stories that shape and affect us all.

Speech and Theatre courses will continue in hybrid format and will offer both in-person and online sessions. Regular weekly virtual office hours will be added for students to meet electronically for assistance or advising. Lab-related classes will continue to offer both in person and online lectures and electronic lab assignments.

  • It is our hope to have live audiences in attendance at each of our theatre performances. This will likely be limited due to county or state guidelines, until further notice.
  • Auditions will be held in-person in closed sessions with the opportunity for streamed auditions, as needed.
  • Whenever possible, streaming performances will be offered in addition to limited live audiences, unless otherwise noted.
  • Physical or social distancing will be maintained in classroom settings, rehearsal or performance spaces wherever possible.
  • Select outdoor class sessions, labs or performance rehearsals will be encouraged, weather permitting.
  • Rehearsal times will be scheduled whenever possible to accommodate a minimal number of participants per session, as needed.
  • Individual class sessions will be adjusted to maintain physical distancing, as needed.
  • Participants will wear face coverings during all class or lab sessions, rehearsals, meetings and scheduled gatherings.
  • Temperature checks will be administered prior to each rehearsal and performance.
  • Routine health and safety checks will be administered to monitor student health and wellbeing.
  • Suspect individuals will be encouraged to stay home if they exhibit symptoms, have a fever, and exercise appropriate measures to have themselves tested, if applicable.
  • Hand-sanitizer and cleaning wipes will be available as needed, in each rehearsal or performance space. Enhanced cleaning measures and protocols will be enacted.
  • JL Dressing room use will be scheduled to stagger times between individuals or groups to maintain this physical or social distancing.
  • Participants may not share water bottles, snack foods or personal items when together.
  • Participants may not share makeup or hair-styling materials.
  • Costume units, hair pieces, hand props, furniture, and/or any shared scenic items (included body mics) will be cleaned or disinfected at regular intervals and according to recommended guidelines.
  • Select preparatory work may be completed outdoors, if possible and weather permitting.
  • Preparatory work including backstage crews will be monitored, maintained and administered also according to recommended safety guidelines.
  • Should an individual encounter COVID-19, reporting will be shared with the appropriate campus leadership or health officials, in accordance with local city, state or university guidelines.

Music Theatre

(Department contact: Sheldon Mba)

  • All Music Theatre and Dance courses (Jazz and Intro to Dance Styles) will be offered in a hybrid format for a while, using Moodle and previously Blackboard CT. When students meet in person, they are required to wear a face-covering and stay 6 feet apart, if in an acting course and 14 feet apart when in a dancing course. When students do not meet in person, they will be required to check-in virtually or have been given supplemental assignments. This hybrid method, combined with social distancing, and face-coverings, will also apply to student’s music theatre singing courses. All singing will be done either outside or in a well-ventilated space that allows for clean air circulation. Adjustments will be made based on how the COVID-19 situation develops. We hope that this approach will help students adjust and be prepared to transition fully in-person or digital. 
  • Music Theatre will hold virtual auditions Aug. 24-26  for the spring production. (Show TBD) Callbacks will be done in a hybrid format of virtual and in-person. Students should plan to use various virtual accompaniment for their audition (or a pianist, if accessible). While acapella auditions will be accepted, the use of accompaniment is preferred. However, we understand that all students do not have access to the same resources. Whichever method is chosen, know that the students’ chance at being cast will not be affected.  
  • Whenever possible, all Musical Theatre Showcases/Performances will hold a limited audience, and be available for streaming unless otherwise noted. 

We are committed to ensuring the continued health and well-being of our students. This is an opportunity for the performing and visual arts to experience a rebirth and ignite passion and engage the community in a myriad of creative ways. We strive to continue to produce groundbreaking work, promote the growth of the artist and keep each other safe.  

Opera

(Department contact: Dr. Matthew Schloneger)

The fall opera, Handel’s Alcina, will hold all rehearsals outdoors. Performances will take place Oct. 8-11 on the outdoor stage at the Sedgwick County Zoo. Staging and backstage procedures will be implemented with social distancing in mind. Masks for principal roles will be required during rehearsals. Chorus costumes will incorporate masks so chorus members will wear masks at all times. 

Art

(Department contact: Jenny Venn)

  • Masks are required for all art, art ed, design, and visual communication students.
  • Art studios and design labs are set up for social distancing and will utilize fresh outdoor air circulation whenever possible
  • Art and design classes will be held outdoors whenever possible.
  • Classes will be divided into cohorts when necessary for social distancing.
  • Sanitization routines will be part of the art clean up process in all classes. 
  • No food or drink will be allowed in the studios or lab. 
  • Show Me the Money will be a virtual event this fall. 
  • Temperature checks will be required for work study students. 
  • There will be routine outside of class sanitization of all studio spaces. 
  • Students will have individual art supplies provided and/or checked out to them.
  • All art and design classes will be “closed door.” Only students enrolled in the course are allowed in the studios and lab to work during scheduled class times.

Riney Fine Arts Gallery

(Department contact: Lauren Miller)

Our faculty and staff have been closely monitoring concerns related to the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Rest assured that our top priority remains the health, safety, and well-being of our community, including students, instructors, staff, and the general public. 

What the Riney Fine Arts Gallery extends to you for a safe and comfortable visit during a gallery opening: 

  • Requiring facial coverings for all students, faculty, staff and visitors 
  • Sanitizing high-touch surfaces multiple times daily during public hours 
  • Hand sanitizers located at both entrances to the gallery 
  • Emphasizing six feet or more of social distance between visitors with newly installed signage 
  • Hosting exhibits both in the Gallery and online, with virtual gallery opening options as needed for viewing convenience 

Please respect the direction from faculty and staff. We are here to ensure a safe and comfortable viewing experience for all. 

COVID-19 Contact Form

Contact Us

Have a question about COVID-19 for us? Use this form to reach out. Alternatively, contact our COVID Hotline at 316-295-5298 or covid@friends.edu. We will get back to you as soon as possible.