Keeping Our Community Healthy

The health and safety of the Berklee community are our top priorities. Berklee is not alone in deciding to reopen its campus in the spring. In a recent survey among private colleges in Massachusetts about spring plans, the vast majority will hold on-campus classes; 72 percent plan to be hybrid and 16 percent plan to be fully on campus.

Both science and the experiences of many institutions that are back on campus this fall are informing our decision to invite students, faculty, and staff back to campus in the spring. Epidemiological models and other institutions’ experiences show us that by opening the Berklee campus for instruction with implementation of robust safety protocols, we can effectively protect the safety of community members and keep our infection rate low.

We are developing plans to adapt for any eventuality, and we are committed to safely bringing our community back together on campus. We’ve learned much from our colleagues, partners, and collaborators at Tufts, Emerson, Boston University, Northeastern, MIT, the ProArts Consortium, and elsewhere, and will continue to engage with our community partners as we move forward. 

We will maintain a public dashboard with the COVID-19 test results, to be updated daily.

Berklee's Health and Safety Campaign

We have developed a comprehensive health and safety campaign in accordance with guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) and other trusted sources. Our goal is to ensure that our campus is as safe as possible for our community. In support of that goal, we have taken a number of steps: 

  • Testing: We are working to secure a contract with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, which provides COVID-19 screening support for more than 100 public and private colleges and universities in New England and surrounding states to provide our testing services. We have expanded our existing relationship with Tufts Medical Center to provide medical guidance and support to our community. We will also have a strong surveillance testing protocol that will seek to identify asymptomatic cases among students, faculty, and staff before community spread occurs. Our testing protocol will be among the most frequent and rigorous in higher education: twice per week for students and as appropriate for faculty, staff, and contract employees, depending on their schedules.

  • Quarantine and Isolation Protocols: We have designed protocols for isolating residential students who test positive and quarantining those who may have been exposed. See below for more details.

  • Room Capacities: We have used industry-specific guidance to revise room occupancy limits for all instructional spaces. These capacity adjustments allow individuals using the room to distance at the recommended six feet. We are also renting additional facilities near campus to support the de-densification of our spaces, and will bring more than 30 new practice spaces online at 1120 Boylston Street.

  • Air Filtration: We will ensure that building and classroom spaces have appropriate air filtration, in addition to air purification where appropriate, and will make schedule adjustments to ensure proper air recirculation when necessary.

  • Protective Space Barriers: Plexiglass barriers will be installed in high-traffic reception areas, and portable shields will be supplied for ensemble rooms and other spaces where groups that include woodwind or brass players and/or vocalists gather to make music.

  • Room Cleaning: Spaces and surfaces across campus will be cleaned daily, and high-touch areas will be wiped down throughout the day.

  • Face Coverings: Strict mask-wearing guidelines will be required and enforced as necessary. See below for more details.

  • Required Online Training Course: To help ensure everyone’s safety, all community members will be asked to complete an online course specific to Berklee that addresses health and safety requirements, protocols, and expectations.

  • Mandatory Social Compact: All community members who will be on campus this spring are required to sign a social compact of shared responsibility agreeing to the following conditions for the safety of our shared environment:

    • We will practice social distancing. 

    • We will wear facial coverings.

    • We will wash hands regularly.

    • We will wipe down our work spaces after using them.

    • We will strictly limit travel to and from campus during the term. (More information about this policy will be distributed before the start of the spring semester.)

We will host a series of webinars for students to provide more detailed explanations of our testing, tracing, and quarantine protocols, as well as of general health and safety requirements.   

Faculty, staff, and students will have to complete a daily health screening to attest that they are well and do not have any symptoms related to COVID-19. All Berklee community members will be tested prior to starting work or attending classes, and will continue to be tested throughout the spring semester.

Quarantine and Isolation Guidelines

We will follow the isolation, quarantine, disinfection, contact tracing, and other protocols as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to minimize as best as possible the spread of COVID-19. We will be proactive about contact tracing when confirmed cases become known to us, and a member of the contact tracing team will contact you directly if you have been identified as someone who has potentially been exposed to someone with COVID-19. We will be mindful of the important need to respect the privacy and confidentiality of student medical information while also following state and federal guidelines for notifying individuals who may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

  • All students living on campus will be required to quarantine in their residence hall for 10 days and two consecutive negative COVID-19 test results. Commuter students will quarantine at their off-campus apartments or homes, and will be provided guidance on how to do so safely.
  • Students living on campus who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to self-isolate. Isolation rooms will be available at 98 Hemenway for students who receive a positive test result.
  • Students living off campus who test positive for COVID-19 will not be allowed to return to campus until they are symptom-free, have tested negative for COVID-19, and have been cleared to return by a Tufts Medical Center clinician.

Guidelines for Facial Coverings 

Masks that cover the mouth and nose must be worn at all times by all Berklee community members. 


Student Health Insurance for the Spring Semester

All registered students taking credit hours—regardless of where they are—are automatically enrolled in and billed for the Berklee Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) offered by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. 

Due to the pandemic, waiver requirements have been relaxed for the spring semester only. You may be able to waive the SHIP with insurance that is otherwise not comparable, depending on where you will be physically located. If you do not want the SHIP, you must take action. 


Additional Resources