College of Fine Arts installs tent for safe, outdoor rehearsals
When classes went virtual this spring, the College of Fine Arts, like the rest of Ohio University, pivoted from teaching in traditional studios and classrooms to learning online. When OHIO’s phase 2 began this fall, the College had a solution ready so some of its students could have face to face instruction.
The College secured and pitched an industrial-sized tent. The tent, located on the grounds behind McCracken Hall, opened with the beginning of Phase 2 of OHIO’s reopening. College of Fine Arts students currently on campus use the tent as one way of complying with social distancing guidelines while allowing them to rehearse in a group.
“We had planned on using this tent when COVID-19 hit in order for our students to engage in a safe learning environment. The world has changed so drastically and it is our top priority for our students to get the most out of learning,” said Dr. Christopher Hayes, associate dean of the College of Fine Arts and professor of music education. “The tent allows many of our classes to continue on in a very safe way, letting our students experience in-person instruction in addition to virtual learning.”
The tent currently hosts a variety of classes for School of Music and School of Dance students and their instructors. Being outdoors allows students to spread out and reduces the risk of airborne droplets coming into contact with other students, as they sing or during movement. It also allows students to get outside more often, which can help with mental health issues.
“Being able to be a part of this unique learning opportunity has been a great experience. I am still able to do what I love, which is singing, but in a safe space 12 feet apart from others,” said Katy Lessick, a voice major in the Honors Tutorial College.
Lessick says a series of “X” marks are spray painted on the grass 12 feet apart to ensure social distancing and students stay in one “X” marked area for the length of the day’s class. “Rehearsals are for 30 minutes at a time, with around 15 students, and then we vacate the space,” she said.
The tent may be open to other colleges and organizations on campus. The tent will be used until the end of phase 2 in November and will be brought back sometime in the spring semester.
“The safety and well-being of OHIO students is paramount,” said Dean Matthew Shaftel. “Our faculty and staff came together to solve for this need so our student-artists could continue their unique paths in exploring and practicing their art. I’m grateful for their creativity and support.”