A Message from President Roger H. Brown

Dear members of the Berklee community,

We are creators, improvisers, innovators. We can’t control the nature of the coronavirus, but we can respond to it with imagination and determination.

Moving to remote instruction will be a challenge. Many of us have studied or taught online, but others of us have not. Some of our courses lend themselves to remote instruction; others will prove difficult to replicate. We can either lament the unfairness and hardship we are experiencing or do what I hope we will do, which is rise to the challenge, make the most of this test, come together as a community, and have a different but excellent learning experience despite the hardship.

Let me make some predictions. Fear and anxiety always provoke a human need to assign blame. Either to the part of the world where the disease is thought to have originated or to a health organization or government that should have done better. However, another human impulse when times are tough is to come together as a community, solve problems, support one another, and make the most of it. I hope we will do the latter.

With respect to fear and anxiety, this illness has already had some tragic consequences. However, it appears that for otherwise healthy college-aged populations, the risk of severe illness or death is low. So students, please take precautions, but know that, in general, you are not in a high-risk category, and remember that practicing social distancing right now helps protect others who are at greater risk. And be aware that stress and fatigue lower your immune response. So let’s all stay as calm as possible, make thoughtful plans, and take care of ourselves on a daily basis.

We have many faculty who are very proficient at online instruction, and they stand ready to help their colleagues. Some have taught through Hurricane Katrina and other disruptions at other institutions, and Berklee has endured a partial closing after the Boston Marathon bombing, a fire adjacent to a resident hall, and many other crises over the years.

Our spirit, at our best, has been to be positive, to innovate, to make the best of it all. Let’s come together this spring and improvise and innovate. Let’s care for one another through these hard times. I wish you all the best and can promise you that the team of leaders here is working hard to make the best decisions we can given the uncertainties that lie ahead.

Please continue to visit berklee.edu/covid19 for information. We will be updating it frequently and sharing news and decisions.

Our messages to date have been about policy; this one is about spirit. Let’s model how we stay strong as a community in both body and soul.