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Hochstein's Reopening Information


May 18, 2021

A message from Dr. Margaret (Peggy) Quackenbush - President & Executive Director: 

I'm sure you are all aware that Governor Cuomo has announced that New York State will adopt the CDC’s updated masking guidance for vaccinated people effective tomorrow, May 19. This same announcement says that the NYS Department of Health "strongly recommends masks in indoor settings where vaccination status of individuals is unknown," and that PreK-12 schools will continue to follow existing guidelines for masking. 


We are not a school in the traditional sense of the word, but the majority of the population we serve is school-aged, and therefore largely unvaccinated. We feel a duty and responsibility to keep our younger students as safe as possible, so our current policies (including masking, health screening, and social distancing) will remain in place until further notice. 


We understand that this is an inconvenience for those of you who are fully vaccinated already, and we hope that you will continue to show the grace, respect, and flexibility for one another that you have shown all year. Thank you for your efforts to keep the entire Hochstein community safe! 


Of course, we will keep you apprised of any updates as we navigate these ever-changing times.






A PDF copy of our reopening plans can be downloaded by clicking here.
Para leer nuestra declaración de reapertura y políticas en español, haga clic aquí.

Welcome to Hochstein! We began our 2020-2021 school year by introducing a hybrid approach to learning with some offerings taking place online and others taking place in-person. When you enroll in classes or lessons, you will see that we are the same Hochstein we have always been – a place focused on excellence, accessibility, and community connection – and that we are committed to keeping you safe by following the most current scientific data and complying with federal, state, and city regulations.

Our staff created a plan for instruction that balances safety with learning and takes into consideration the comfort level of our faculty and students. We feel that the steps we have taken to minimize risk have created the safest possible experience for our students, faculty, and staff – whether you are in our buildings or at home.

While the 2020-2021 school year may look a bit different from the norm, we are embracing the opportunity to serve our students in whatever capacity we can.

Please review our reopening plan below and feel free to contact us if you have questions. We are still here because of your support. Thank you for your continued dedication to Hochstein.


We look forward to seeing you,

The Hochstein Team



Overview of our basic policies:

  • Personal Protective Equipment & hygiene policies: (click here for proper use of PPE and hygiene protocols) 
    • All individuals ages 2 and older are required to wear a face mask at ALL TIMES when in our building unless eating or drinking
      • If you do not bring your own face mask – one will be provided for you
    • Due to rising local COVID cases, neck gaiters and bandanas will NO LONGER be permitted as acceptable face coverings. The CDC recommends multi-layer cloth or disposable surgical-style masks, and both of these options are complimentary at the screener desk.
    • Face shields may be worn in addition to a face mask but not as a substitution for one
    • All are expected to use hand sanitizer when entering our building, before/after their lesson or class, and at any time contact is made with high-touch surfaces
      • Hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes will be placed throughout the building and in all studios and classrooms
  • Distancing Guidelines:
    • All faculty, students, staff, and visitors must make their best effort to maintain appropriate distances between others at all times
    • All are expected to follow designated spacing patterns throughout the building
    • Seating has been limited throughout the building. Parents/guardians are encouraged to drop their student off for lessons. Please note that this does not apply to students who require a parent/guardian/caregiver on premise at all times due to medical or behavioral concerns.
    • Children under the age of 12 must have a parent/guardian on premise during their lesson
    • Please do not bring additional family members into the building unless absolutely necessary
    • All water fountains are closed; everyone is encouraged to bring their own pre-filled water bottle from home
    • Our elevator is restricted to one passenger at a time unless they are riding with other members of their household OR are providing necessary transportation support for a student
    • Students and families are encouraged to complete bill payments by phone or online 
  • Cleaning Protocols:
    • Hochstein operation team members will clean and sanitize all high-touch areas throughout the business day
    • Hochstein operation team members will clean and sanitize all high-traffic areas daily
    • Individual lesson faculty will sanitize high-touch surfaces in their studio/rehearsal spaces at the start of every lesson and will alternate rooms between lessons to allow for adequate air exchange


Health Screenings:

  • All individuals must take the Hochstein COVID-19 questionnaire, offered online, BEFORE entering the building and on the day of their visit (click here to access the questionnaire)
    • If the COVID-19 form was not completed before entering the building, it will be given verbally or by using a scannable QR Code with a smartphone during the health screening
  • When arriving at Hochstein, all individuals will check in with a health screener before they can proceed to their lesson or class
    • The screener will confirm participation in our online questionnaire and a hands-free temperature check will be given
  • Anyone leaving the building with the plan to re-enter later will be given a wristband indicating they have been previously screened ON THAT DAY.
    • Screening wristbands cannot be re-used


In Case of Illness …

  • Individuals will not be allowed to enter the building if:
    • They have completed their COVID form and the results show they may not enter the building
    • They arrive for on-site screening and the temp check indicates a temperature over 100°F
  • Students who are not feeling well, but feel healthy enough to take their lesson, should stay home and contact their teacher to request a distance learning lesson.
  • Individuals who develop symptoms after entering the building will be isolated immediately and sent home
    • For students who are sent home from Hochstein, credits will not be given and make-ups are at the discretion of each teacher (but not guaranteed)
  • Individuals who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days should follow all instructions from their healthcare provider and local health departments, and should notify Hochstein of their positive result immediately. They may not return to Hochstein until all members of their household either test negative for COVID-19 or are released from isolation by the Department of Health.
  • IF your form indicates you cannot enter our building, please click on the appropriate link for additional information:


Lessons, Classes, and/or Rehearsals

  • Faculty and students must wash and/or sanitize their hands prior to entering their lesson, class, or rehearsal
  • Students must provide their own pencils to mark their own music
  • Sharing of instruments will not be permitted
  • Faculty may assist students with tuning their instruments, but must sanitize their hands before and after
  • If a parent/guardian is in the building with a young student, they may sit in the lesson if space allows (at the discretion of the teacher) or on a provided chair placed outside the lesson room
  • After the lesson, class, or rehearsal is finished, students and visitors must exit the building promptly
  • Individual lesson faculty will sanitize high-touch surfaces in their studio/rehearsal spaces at the start of every lesson and will alternate rooms between lessons when possible to allow for adequate air exchange between students


Program specific information:

Individual Music Lessons

Beginning in September 2020 individual lessons will be given online and/or in-person. Decisions regarding lesson choices will be made in consideration of the instrument category and the comfort level of both faculty member and student, along with building capacity.

  • Voice, Woodwinds, & Brass:
    • Current scientific evidence suggests that engaging in these activities can result in an overabundance of viral aerosols, therefore these lessons will remain online for the foreseeable future.
  • Other instruments eligible for in-person instruction: * 
    • Piano, all Suzuki instruction (with the exception of some Suzuki group classes which will continue online), violin, viola, cello, double bass, guitar, harp, percussion, composition, songwriting, jazz improv, and indie study
      * The option of online learning is still available, should teachers and/or students feel uncomfortable with in-person instruction.



  • The following classes will continue online:
    • Pre-Ballet, Ballet II, Ballet III, Ballet III/IV, Pointe, Intermediate Ballet, Ballet Stretch and Strengthen, Tap (group classes), and Yoga
  • The following dance classes are offered in-person:
    • Spanish Flamenco I – IV
    • Tap (individual instruction only)
    • Mini-Dancers
    • Ballet I
    • Children's African Dance
    • Beginning-Caribbean Latin
    • Children's Pre-Modern Dance (NEW!)
    • Children's Modern Dance (NEW!)
    • Modern Dance
  • The following classes will start later and are still to be determined if they will be in-person or online:
    • Hip Hop, Children’s Jazz
  • Single dance coupons will not be available until further notice
  • Dance students must come dressed for class and bring their dance bags into the studio with them. The dance changing rooms will not be open.


Classes, Small Ensembles, and Chamber Music

  • The following classes will continue online:
    • Guitar classes, ukulele, bagpipes, Suzuki groups (see below), music theory, music history
      • Some Suzuki Group Classes now meet in-person
    • Music FUNdamentals TBD at a later date
  • The following small ensembles will be online:
    • Rock Bands and HochStrings
  • The following small ensembles are able to meet in-person:
    • Continuing guitar ensemble
    • Chamber Music Connection: Chamber groups comprised of strings (including guitar) and piano are allowed to meet. Woodwind and brass instruments may not meet in-person at this time.


Large Ensembles

  • Hochstein orchestras will be in-person beginning October 10, 2020 Update: After exiting the orange zone designation, the orchestras will resume in-person on Saturday, February 6, 2021
    • HYSO, HPO, HSS, HCS will be allowed to meet in-person excluding wind, brass, and percussion instruments. Specific details are sent to our students by the directors.
    • Parents/guardians are expected to leave the building during most orchestra rehearsals after dropping off their student. (One parent/guardian may attend rehearsal with each student in Concertino Strings)
  • Little Singers, Youth Singers, and Hochstein Singers will continue online


Expressive Arts

Expressive Arts will offer remote and in-person sessions at Hochstein beginning in September, however, due to the significant limitations in regards to building/room capacity, we encourage all who are able to remain remote to please do so. While we understand that remote learning may not be the most optimal means of instruction for every student, we must consider both the collective safety of students/faculty and the importance of instruction for EA students who have not been able to participate in any online activity.

  • First priority for in-person sessions will be given to those students who
    1. have not had access to remote learning options AND
    2. do not fall into a "high-risk" category (as outlined by the CDC)
    3. do not primarily engage in higher-risk activities such as full-voice singing or woodwind/brass playing

Please keep in mind that remote services are encouraged as we enter the new school year. If you have been participating in remote sessions and have concerns about maintaining services in this capacity come fall, please contact Expressive Arts Department Chair, Jennifer Phillips (jennifer.phillips@hochstein.org) to discuss options.