Dear all, I hope you are well and have all had a restful Christmas and New Year period. Many of you will now be aware that the UK Government have implemented new national restrictions in England, which started on Tuesday 5 January 2021. With this in mind, the University Music and Concerts Team would now like to take the opportunity to update you all of our plans for music-making at Birmingham during Semester 2, in light of these changes. Therefore, if you are receiving this email you have previously signed up as a Virtual Member to the University of Birmingham Music Society, and the below will provide you with important information that we ask you to read carefully. KEY INFORMATION On Tuesday 5 January 2021 the UK Government introduced new national restrictions in response to rising case numbers of COVID-19. These measures apply to England in its entirety, whilst the devolved nations are operating under their own individual systems (but are incorporating most measures taken from the new ‘national’ lockdown). The government has taken the following action: 1. Requiring people to stay at home, except for specific purposes. 2. Preventing gathering with people you do not live with, except for specific purposes. 3. Closing certain businesses, venues, and the buildings of compulsory education providers. Schools, colleges, and universities remain open for online provision during this ‘lockdown’ period, and students will be advised separately by the University about how, and when, they should return to campus. Higher Education provision is planned to remain online until at least mid-February for all except future critical worker courses and, until that point, students should remain where they are in the UK. The University student update can be found here: https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/student/news/public/winter-2020/important-update-january-update.aspx With all of this in mind, the University Music and Concerts Team will therefore be pausing all planned ‘in-person’ activity for Semester 2 until further notice. Additional important details (and limited exceptions) can be found as below. ACCESS TO THE UNIVERSITY MUSIC HUB DURING THE ‘LOCKDOWN’ PERIOD With immediate effect, access to the University Music Hub during this period is closed to non-Music students (including University Music Scholars, Physics Scholars, and any other students currently approved for access). Meanwhile, the use of practice facilities for Music students (and those enrolled on some Music modules, i.e. Joint Honours, etc.) has been confirmed via a Canvas announcement in “Music 2020-21”. For information, the latest UK Government guidance states that all students should book two rapid asymptomatic COVID tests (at least three days apart) and you should plan to do this before you begin to use any on-campus facilities. In between your two tests you should restrict your social contacts as much as possible and not attend any on campus activity. Additionally, during this period, if – once access restrictions are confirmed – you plan to use the practice facilities over the coming weeks, please ensure that you have made a booking at least 24 hours in advance using the Robot Booker system. This enables the University Music and Concerts Team to monitor effectively the use of the facilities for Test-and-Trace purposes. PROPOSED MUSIC-MAKING IN SEMESTER 2 We are aware that many of you will have been looking forward to the return of in-person music-making during Semester 2, and we are disappointed that we now need to pause the schedule we had originally planned. To confirm, this means that the running of planned activity, as communicated in December (including large ensembles, choirs, chamber music, jazz activity, etc.), will now be paused until further notice, and information about restarting extra-curricular music-making will follow later in February. We anticipate that it will not be possible to operate larger ensembles until after the Easter holiday; however, hope to begin facilitating smaller ensembles – including chamber music and jazz collective bands – from early March. In the meantime, please await further updates from the University Music and Concerts Team, and Music Society, regarding information on virtual music-making and social opportunities during the period of national restrictions. AND FINALLY… If students have any queries about the above information, please – in the first instance – contact the University Music and Concerts Team. We are aware that this is a challenging time for everyone involved in University Music, and are determined that – following further restrictions during the winter months – we will be able to return to a thriving and active music scene here in Birmingham. With thanks from the whole team, we look forward to seeing you all soon. Kind regards, University Music and Concerts Team
Music Society Forum
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