Message to Students about LSU Theatre Campus Reopening
(August 13, 2020)
Dear LSU Theatre Students,
It was great to see some of you at the SOT Webinar on Tuesday evening. As a follow-up to the meeting and for those of you who were unable to attend, the following are some important updates regarding the opening of the University and other School of Theatre activities. We will host another All-School meeting once classes have started. There is a lot of information contained in this e-mail so please read it carefully and if you have follow-up question please contact me.
As we enter the fall semester, LSU Theatre is relying on each member to do their part to keep our community safe and healthy, so we can resume normal activities as soon as possible!
SOT Safety Plan
Face Covering Policy – The university has implemented a Face Covering Policy which can be accessed in the LSU Roadmap to Fall along with additional campus reopening information. In the Music and Dramatic Arts Building we are asking you to wear your face mask at all time in adherence to the mask policy and also follow social distancing guidelines anytime you are in the building and around faculty, staff, students and guests. Social distancing does not preclude the need for a mask and having a mask on does not preclude the need for social distancing. We encourage all of you to have an extra mask with you at all times to ensure that you are able to adhere to the Face Covering Policy.
Classroom, Studio, and Common Space Cleaning - The University has announced that it will implement enhanced cleaning protocols. The School of Theatre has also made plans to assist in creating safer environments for conducting our discipline specific coursework. This includes adjusting course locations where possible to allow for more time between classes for ventilation. In addition, the University and School are relying on you as students to collaborate with us on creating clean spaces. We would encourage you to wipe down your own spaces with university supplied cleaning materials as you enter and exit classrooms and adhere to any enhanced protocols implemented by your instructors. We would also encourage you to carry your own wipes for use in common spaces and other areas.
Study Spaces – Many of you may have a mix of in-person/hybrid courses and online synchronous courses. In some cases you may not be able to return home to login to your synchronous course and may be looking for a quiet study space on campus. The university has designated spaces around campus for this purpose. In addition, the School will be using rooms 103, 193 and 181 at designated as study spaces with limited capacity. Spaces will need to be reserved in advance. Information on the online reservation system will be forthcoming.
Common Spaces – You will notice, that the School has reconfigured classrooms and some common areas to allow for social distancing. Furniture has been removed, moved or replaced to accommodate social distancing and opportunities for study spaces. In addition, we will be asking you to reserve the MDA lobby as an additional quiet space to assist students who may need to take online classes in the building.
You will find that for the foreseeable future many of our services will remain virtual including advising. The Main Office will be staffed but will require a phone call for entry.
Classes and Academic Calendar
Academic Calendar: As announced by the University, the Labor Day holiday, September 7, is still in effect, however fall holiday has been cancelled. In addition, there will be no in-person classes after Thanksgiving and all finals will be conducted virtually.
Boot Camp: The School of Theatre Boot Camp will be held Thursday, August 20 – Sunday, August 23. All events will be held virtually to ensure that all incoming Theatre students can participate whether they are here on campus or studying remotely. On Sunday, August 23 at 2:00 PM, the Boot Camp will present our traditional end of Boot Camp performance and introduction to the new LSU Theatre students. I encourage all current students to attend this virtual event to welcome the new LSU Theatre students. A virtual invitation and link will be sent next week.
Class Format: This semester classes will be offered through a variety of formats:
- Asynchronous Online: All class material will be accessed online and there will be no required full or partial class meetings (Listed on the course schedule as 100% web-based with no day or time indicated)
- Synchronous Online: Delivered fully online with some full or partial class meetings during the designated class time. (Listed on the course schedule as 100% web-based with a day and time listed.)
- Hybrid: Some combination of in-person and online classes determined by the individual instructor. (Hybrid courses are not noted as such on the online schedule.)
- HyFlex: Some faculty have elected to allow the student to choose whether they will take the class online or in-person, (HyFlex courses are not noted as such on the online schedule.)
Additional information about how each Theatre course is being delivered can be found on the Course Format listing accessed through the School of Theatre homepage or by clicking here. If you have not already you should also expect more information directly from your instructor in the coming week. The School of Theatre faculty have been working for the entire summer to ensure that each class provides an excellent educational experience regardless of the format.
Class Absences and Remote Study: The School of Theatre is aware that due to current circumstances, some students will miss individual course sessions or perhaps will choose to study remotely for the entire fall semester. Each faculty member is prepared to work with you to ensure that you receive a comparable course experience regardless of how you access the course. This may occur through video lecture capture, additional online material or other means as determined by the instructor. Please let me know should you have difficulty in accessing a course if you need to be absent for all or part of the semester.
SOT Anti-Racism and Ant-Bias Initiatives
Over the past two months In response to concerns raised by alumni and current students, the School of Theatre has begun work to address the School culture we are promoting among our students, faculty, and staff as it relates to creating a safe and inclusive community free from racism and bias . In June, we formed an Alliance for the Future Task Force to spearhead efforts to dismantle racism and bias within our community. The Task Force includes faculty, staff, students and alumni representatives, but all meetings are open to the entire School of Theatre community. As a result of the Task Force’s work, you should expect to see a lot of activity over the next year including Anti-Racism workshops for faculty, staff and students; panels such as the Theatre and Race Panel which some of you attended virtually earlier this summer and the creation of affinity spaces. I invite you to engage in this important work.
Fall Production Season and Other Activities
Earlier this summer we made the difficult decision to cancel all in-person rehearsals and performances for the fall semester. To replace those important educational activities, the faculty and staff have been discussing alternative ways to provide students with artistic outlets and to use the time available to create other meaningful experiences. Currently, the plans in place include the following:
- Two zoom productions, one for undergraduate students through our Lab Season; one dedicated to MFA students. We are in the process of confirming titles.
- The Horribly Short Film Festival will be held virtually and feature films which are produced according to specific safety protocols. A call for submissions is forthcoming.
- Online faculty and guest led webinars which will be focused on specialized topics which are not covered during the normal academic year including a multi-day devising workshop for undergraduate students conducted by playwright Leigh Fondakowski. Hopefully, through the workshop there will be opportunities to showcase individual student projects on a digital platform.
Right now we are postponing any final decisions on spring to allow us to make informed decisions based on the most updated information possible.
Despite the challenges we will face this semester, the LSU School of Theatre community is comprised of an amazing faculty, staff and student body committed to creating a safe and healthy educational and artistic environment. We look forward to a vibrant and productive semester.
Chair, School of Theatre
Executive Associate Dean, College of Music and Dramatic Arts