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Where the most Inspired Musicians
become the most Inspiring Music Teachers

Coronavirus Response

CARES Act Information: CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund

Quarterly Budget & Expenditure Reporting Under the CARES Act

VanderCook College of Music is grateful for receipt of federal assistance to cope with the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic, making a transition to distance learning, and providing a safe environment for our students and staff. To see the most the college’s quarterly report of spending, click the link, below:

Institutional Financial Reporting:

Student Aid Reporting (each pdf includes all seven reporting elements):

The leadership team at VanderCook cautiously moved forward with plans to safely reconvene for the 2020/2021 academic year. Plans were based on the latest research and guidance from trusted sources, in addition to the guidelines set forth by the IBHE, CDC and the Illinois Institute of Technology whose campus we share.
Class sizes were adjusted to accommodate social distancing, and students are expected to wear face coverings while in the building. In order to accommodate students who are concerned about health risks on a particular day, all class sessions are streamed and available to view online. 
Much of the VanderCook curriculum is grounded in experiential learning and ensemble experiences. Large ensembles will meet and divide into smaller sections to rehearse, until it is deemed safe to come together as a full ensemble. Chamber ensembles may meet in-person and online on alternating weeks. Some techniques classes may be divided to allow for students to attend in-person one day and online the other scheduled class day. All traditional lecture-style classes have been given an assigned time within the schedule, and faculty are encouraged to offer more opportunities for online gathering, flipped classrooms and flexible instruction as we move through the semester. We continue to develop relationships with area schools in order to provide internship and practicum experiences for our teacher candidates.

A practice room/space is assigned to a smaller pod of students who are responsible for scheduling time and sharing that space. For practice rooms, ensembles, and techniques classes the following guidelines must be followed:


  • Hand sanitizing stations are placed around the college for frequent use by students, faculty, staff and visitors.
  • Doors and windows must be open at the beginning and end of each class and practice session (weather permitting) to ensure that students will minimize touching door knobs or handles, and to allow for air to circulate around the space.
  • Musicians should refrain from sharing classroom materials such as valve oil, pens or pencils, paper, iPads, instruments, or other supplies.
  • Musicians should not touch or move other students’ instruments, music, mouthpieces or cases.
  • It is the responsibility of the individual musician to disinfect shared equipment such as mallets, cymbals, or other percussion equipment.
  • Frequently touched objects in the classroom, including music stands, door knobs, switches, keyboards, faucets, and other applicable objects, will be disinfected appropriately by individual musicians and cleaning staff.

Each classroom’s social distancing capacity is as follows (this may evolve when further information is available):

Room 100 (1152²) = 24 students + 1 faculty

Room 108 (352²) = 7 students + 1 faculty

Room 130 (1737²) = 37 students + 1 faculty

Room 219 (414²) = 8 students + 1 faculty

Room 221 (322²) = 6 students + 1 faculty

Room 225 (479²) = 8 students + 1 faculty

Q120 = (3479²) = 49 students + 1 faculty (under current guidelines)

Piano Lab = (345²) = 8 students + 1 faculty

M116 = (820²) = 21 students + 1 faculty

M100 = (270²) = 6 students + 1 faculty

M113 = (352²) = 8 students + 1 faculty

Shared spaces include the break rooms, workspaces, classrooms, and practice rooms:


  • Faculty, staff and students will be reducing the number of in-person meetings as much as possible.
  • Seating must accommodate six feet or more of social distance in all instances.
  • Classrooms have been provided only the number of chairs allowed in that space.
  • Each classroom is equipped with sanitizing supply stations, and faculty and students should wipe down shared furniture and equipment at the start and end of every class.
  • Whiteboard pens and erasers are removed in all settings, and individuals are encouraged to bring their own, as needed.
  • Practice rooms will be assigned to small pods of students with attention given to those who live in the same space.
  • Ensembles will be rehearsing outside or in large spaces, with an emphasis on chamber music and small ensemble or flex music. Social distancing recommendations of at least six feet (or more) will be adhered to in all techniques and ensemble classes.
  • The appropriate PPE is provided for specific instrumentation. These include “singers masks” for all vocal majors, plastic shields for flutes, bell covers for all wind instruments, and plastic bags and rubber bands for all woodwind instruments.
    •When given in-person, applied lessons will take place in a larger space than the practice rooms. The rooms available for lessons include M100, M113, M114, 108, 219, and 221.

Life at VanderCook in Fall 2020

Academic Course Schedule

The revised academic schedule is available online. The updated academic schedule provides the time, place and type of delivery that will be used for each fall 2020 course. All courses have been assigned a time and space for students to attend synchronous online classes in a room that is safe and provides internet connectivity.

VanderCook College of Music remains flexible and prepared to adjust, as needed, in dealing with the fluid situation presented by COVID-19. Weekly institutional decisions will be made on the delivery of instruction for the following week.

  • Student organizations are encouraged to meet virtually. If meeting in-person, these should take place outside or in the 3125 Great Hall space.
  • The IIT Health and Wellness Center continues to provide mental health services virtually and will provide in-person health services by appointment.
  • COVID – 19 tests are available in the IIT Health and Wellness Center.
  • The best way to contact them is via email at [email protected] or by phone 312.567.7550.


  • VanderCook is committed to providing a safe environment throughout our buildings and classrooms. Signage, markings, sanitizing stations and space modifications are some of the efforts being made to create a safe environment.
  • The Piano Lab has been moved to M116 to provide for social distancing.


COVID-19-specific signage and markings in the VCM buildings are present to inform/remind community members and visitors of required measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Compliance with posted signs and notices is required.

Elevators Stairs and Hallways

Using stairs instead of elevators is encouraged, whenever possible. If using an elevator, no more than one passenger should be in the space at any one time. In the 3140 building, the South stairs will be used as the UP stairs and the North stairs used as the DOWN stairs. In the 3125 building, the East stairs will be used as the UP stairs and the West stairs as the DOWN Stairs.

Lockers are assigned to individual students with spacing between lockers to allow for distancing.

In hallways, signage will emphasize maintaining social distancing as people pass each other.

Housing is available through IIT and students may request a single occupancy dorm directly from IIT Housing. More information about IIT housing and food services is available here:

The following document outlines VanderCook’s response plan
in the event of a widespread pandemic. VanderCook will abide by
all federal, state and local protocols in the event of a community outbreak.
This document is subject to change at any time.

COVID Response-Click for PDF Download

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3140 South Federal Street
Chicago, IL 60616-3731
(312) 225-6288

The mission of VanderCook College of Music is to enrich the lives of present and future generations by developing uniquely skilled music teachers who exhibit strong character, professionalism, and a commitment to excellence.

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