COVID-19 Health & Safety

Updated 10/22/21

Ensuring the health, wellness, and safety of our community is our first priority. In preparation for this academic year, NEC has engaged in a deliberative process of crafting a plan that matches our unwavering commitment to health and safety with a student experience of uncompromising quality, depth, and impact. We have developed this plan in consultation with numerous public health officials, agencies, and experts, and in collaboration with partner organizations and other institutions spanning the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and beyond.

The Conservatory has implemented a wide range of initiatives to provide a healthy living and learning environment for the year, and we will all need to do our part to care for each other, to support those who need help, and to ensure we comply with safe distancing, face covering, daily screening, and other health-related policies.

Health and Counseling Services 

The Health and Counseling Center (HCC) is NEC’s primary source for health and wellness resources. The Center will be open for the 2021-22 academic year. The Center provides a wide range of on-site health and mental health services, and is staffed by licensed healthcare and mental health professionals, including a board-certified Internist (Medical Director), Psychiatrist, Nurse Practitioners, and Psychotherapists. 

Testing and Screening

Members of our community who come to campus are required to participate in NEC's COVID-19 testing program. Additionally, all members of the community coming to campus must complete a daily symptom check and show a "cleared" entry pass to public safety staff upon entry. Details can be found on the NEC COVID-19 Testing Program web page.

Face Mask/Covering Policy

To further ensure the health of our community, the use of an approved face mask/covering is required in all NEC buildings. Bandanas and neck gaiters are not considered acceptable face coverings. The CDC has updated guidance related to face mask effectiveness for both the prevention and transmission of COVID-19. Such recommendations include double-masking when using specific mask types, and the importance of achieving a proper fit. Learn more on the CDC website.

Contact Tracing and Isolation

NEC has developed a system for notifying community members when they test positive for COVID-19. The Health & Counseling Center staff assists with identifying and notifying close contacts of COVID-19 positive individuals, working in partnership with the Boston Public Health Commission and Massachusetts Department of Public Health. They provide guidance regarding enhanced surveillance testing and isolation or self-quarantine, if indicated. 

Safe Distancing

NEC has conducted a comprehensive assessment of all studio, rehearsal, performance, and teaching spaces on campus, and has consulted with numerous public health officials and other institutions, which has informed the design and implementation of safety protocols for each of these spaces. Maintaining safe distancing is an important component of these protocols. Each space has been assessed to ensure that their scheduling and assignment allows for safe distancing in all use cases. We have implemented the following measures to promote and maximize safe distancing:

  • Signage posting maximum capacities, based on the configuration and dimensions of the room.
  • Defining safe distancing specifications for each type of activity (i.e., some instruments require larger distances between players than others). 
  • Limiting elevator capacity to ensure safe distancing.
  • Common areas (waiting areas, building lobbies, and lounges) have been reconfigured..
  • All building entrances have been labeled with entry- or exit-only traffic flow signage to maximize safe distancing. ADA accessible entrances and exits can be accessed, as necessary.

Sanitization Stations

The Conservatory has installed multiple sanitizing stations at key locations throughout the campus, in all floors of all buildings. 

Installation of Transparent Shields

Plexiglass barries have been installed at key interaction points as an added safety measure. They may also be used in designated performance spaces.

Enhanced Cleaning and Sanitization

Enhanced cleaning and sanitization procedures have been developed based upon CDC and public health guidance. This includes:

  • frequent cleaning of spaces and surfaces using cleaning agents effective against COVID-19;
  • the use of electrostatic fogging, replacement of air dryers in restrooms with paper towel dispensers, and more;  
  • installation of short wavelength ultraviolet light (UV-C) air purification systems have been installed in classrooms and select key locations on campus, which have been demonstrated to remove viruses and bacteria from the environment;
  • enhanced filters in air handling systems.