COVID-19 Information

AAC Fall 2020 Instructional Plan, July 1, 2020 - Update #12

Dear AAC Students and Families,

The Art Academy of Cincinnati is looking forward to welcoming back returning and first-time students this fall to in-person instruction, with the first and last week of the semester conducted remotely. This plan is based on the recommendation by local, state and federal health officials, to complete the fall semester by the Thanksgiving holiday, to avoid having students leave and return, increasing the chance of spreading infection, reducing the spread of other contagious diseases and minimizing the anxiety and doubt concerning COVID-19 during the beginning of cold and flu season.

Thank you for your patience and your understanding as our COVID-19 Task Force has been meeting weekly since late March to arrive at our current model for return to curricular instruction. After considering many scenarios for the fall, the AAC has approved the following Academic Calendar for the Fall 2020 semester.

Academic Calendar Fall 2020

August 31 – December 4, 2020

Residence Move-in
Orientation – 1st time freshmen
Classes Begin Remotely- transfer and returning students Classes Begin In-Person (all)
Mid-term Grades due
Advising for Spring
Online Registration
Last Date to Withdraw
In-Person Classes End
One-week Remotely
Semester Ends
Final Grades Due

August 29 – 30
August 31 – September 4 August 31
September 8
October 16, by 12:00pm October 19 – 30 November 2 - 13 December 4
November 25
Nov. 30 – Dec. 4 December 4
December 9, by 12:00pm

Students will have continued access to the building until December 24th, when the building closes for the

holiday break as long as they adhere to all current safety precautions.

The AAC will begin the semester with one week of remote learning on Monday, August 31. For returning and transfer students, this first week is devoted to information exchange of class materials, syllabi, calendars, remote learning platforms and COVID 19 policies and procedures. For, first time freshmen this week will be devoted to AAC Orientation.

WEEKS 2-13

In-person meetings begin Tuesday, September 8 and end Wednesday, November 25. While these sessions will be conducted face to face, there will be significant changes to the arrangement of and behavior in the learning spaces. These will be detailed in a supplemental document that all students, faculty and staff will need to understand and observe. Many classes will blend face-to-face learning with some remote learning approaches when necessary, appropriate and advantageous. Students will receive specific guidance for how each course will be conducted during Week 1 of remote learning. Students will have access to studios, labs, shops and equipment per normal, with increased sanitation, social distancing and masks, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


The semester will end as it began with a final remote class week. This week will be used to conclude the work for the class according to individual instructors’ syllabi. Week 14 provides an opportunity for experiences that are

normally scheduled throughout the semester such as presentations, group discussions, written
components, research, professional lectures, virtual exhibits or other events that benefit from a remote component.

We have conducting an analysis of all of the instructional spaces in the AAC facility to assess their capacity and optimal use under the requirements for physical distancing, air circulation, cleaning regimes. We also will require your adherence to safety guidelines established by the AAC COVID-19 Task Force.

This includes:

  1. Conducting a self-administered daily wellness check

  2. Temperature check when entering the building

  3. Consistent hand-washing protocols

  4. Required facial covering

  5. Physical distancing

AAC housing is opening a newly renovated dorm, creating a convenient and safe living environment for our

students within close proximity to the school. To reduce the risk of students contracting or spreading COVID-19,

AAC housing will be taking precautions of reducing students per dorm room, providing isolated housing for students

who have symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19, connecting students to testing and health services, and

decreasing the use of shared, public spaces within AAC housing.

Dorm units include full kitchens equipped with a stove, refrigerator and dishwasher. Each dorm unit has its own

bathroom which will only be shared by unit residents. Student access cards only allow access to the floor they

reside on. Dorm residents are encouraged to practice social distancing and adhere to health guidelines when

interacting with students outside of their dorm unit.

Students who have chosen AAC Housing will move in over the weekend of August 29-30 at designated times.

The AAC community understands the unique challenges these past four months have placed on you and your families. We plan to conduct the work of the semester as outlined above but realize that if directed by local, state and/or federal health officials, we may need to shift to other platforms and scenarios for instruction. We all need to be prepared to respond with patience and understanding. The AAC is committed and dedicated
to providing the highest quality educational experience both in person and remotely.

Thank you again for your patience and please understand that the AAC team is dedicated to preparing for a safe and creative reopening this fall. We look forward to seeing you in the fall and we wish you and your families a safe summer of creativity.

Joe Girandola

Wellness Check

New Stay At Home Orders, May 22nd, 2020 - Update #11

Dear Art Academy of Cincinnati Family and OTR Community,

First and foremost, I hope that this correspondence finds you well in these difficult times. The leadership team at the Art Academy of Cincinnati has been working each week to fully recognize and adapt our institutional, educational, and strategic plans with utmost regards for the health and safety of our AAC family and the surrounding OTR Community, while knowing much has changed on a day to day basis since our decision to extend Spring Break back in March. This includes the incredible work our faculty completed to move all course work to remote learning, the successful completion of thesis work by our seniors and Masters of Arts in Art Education (MAAE) students, the Virtual 2020 Graduation, and the continued success of our current student population. The remote instruction plan that was implemented for the end of the 2020 Spring Semester will remain in effect throughout the summer period of instruction for our MAAE students and all Community Education (CE) programs. The resilient Community Education staff has been working around the clock to create a robust slate of “remote instruction” courses and programs (including the “new online” Future BFA Portfolio Prep Program)! The AAC COVID 19 Task Force, under guidance from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), is currently reviewing curricular plans for the FALL 2020 semester and beyond.

As we move toward the beginning of the Fall 2020 Semester, we will continue to revise and update our plan with the best practices for the safety and health of the AAC Community. At present, we cannot say with finality how the Fall Semester will be structured for our students in terms of their on-campus experience. We hope to arrive at a decision by July 1st and we thank you for your patience and support.

Currently, the State of Ohio has enacted the Responsible Restart Ohio plan. The Art Academy of Cincinnati continues to abide (under an abundance of caution) by the Stay Safe Ohio plan enacted on April 15th and will continue to do so until further notice.

As we continue to plan for your safety and well-being, we must always be cautious. We also know that it is essential for the AAC to pursue our mission, vision and values the best way we know how— on campus and in person, but in times like these we must walk slowly and allow for the data and science to guide our plans for that return to creative instruction. Our leadership team continues to work to build a safe and flexible framework to accomplish the goals of our mission in concert with the utmost care for our community.

On behalf of the amazing family of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and Board of Trustees, I want to thank you for all of your support.

Best regards,


New Stay At Home Orders, May 1st, 2020 - Update #10

Yesterday, the governor's health director issued a new stay-at-home order to replace the one that expired last night. The effects of the order for the higher education sector are spread across multiple sections of the document.

Stay At Home Orders

Information During COVID-19, April 13th, 2020 - Update #9

We have compiled a spreadsheet of resources on:

Be sure to click through the page tabs at the top of the spreadsheet to access all of the categories.

Download it by clicking the button below:

Info During COVID-19.xls

*Revised AAC COVID-19 Health and Wellness Plan, April 3rd, 2020 - Update #8

This message is to update the Art Academy of Cincinnati family. This includes the extended families, friends, and loved ones of the AAC community. With the ongoing global health pandemic  of COVID-19, the Art Academy of Cincinnati has revised our COVID 19 Health and Wellness plan. Although there have been no documented cases of COVID-19 within our AAC campus community, these measures are in place out of care and concern for all members of our community and the safeguarding of public health,

The AAC leadership team continues to review the latest information from the U. S. Centers for Disease Control  (CDC),  World Health Organization (WHO), as well as our local and state health departments.


 Highlighted in below are the changes in the plan that will be enacted on April 3 , 2020.

*With Governor DeWine’s announcement on April 2, 2020, the original STAY AT HOME order issued on March 23, 2020 for the S tate of O hio will EXTEND TO MAY 1, 2020.


*Here is a link to the Governor’s order.  In brief:
The governor's order follows several other governors making similar orders in other states. Among the alternative models in various states, Ohio has followed the Illinois model, which from a higher education perspective is the best of the alternatives. The highlights are as follows:

  • All individuals in Ohio are to remain in their residences except for a number of exemptions listed in the order.
  • All "non-essential businesses" must cease operations, and all essential business must practice social distancing.
  • All public and private gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited.
  • Most travel is prohibited, except with social distancing travel for health and safety, procuring supplies such as food, essential work, and outdoor activity (in essence, exercise).


AAC Classes and Instructional Meetings
The health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff is our top priority. In the wake of developing news surrounding COVID-19 in Ohio, we are responding in the following ways. Remote Learning Classes are in progress through the end of the semester utilizing an online instruction model only. ALL classes are taught remotely. All students are required to abide by faculty guidance in accordance with remote instruction procedures for coursework provided by their individual faculty members.

  • In accordance with the Governor’s STAY AT HOME ORDER, students will not have badge access to AAC buildings and labs until at least May 1, 2020.
  • Labs and studios remain closed beginning Monday, March 23rd at 11:59 PM.  If you need access to retrieve necessary items following Monday, March 23rd at 11:59 PM, you must schedule a time and date with the Academic Dean, Paige Williams.  

Thesis Activities:

ALL THESIS RECEPTIONS HAVE BEEN CANCELLED.All Thesis students must now share their work remotely with their thesis advisor and committee.

  • All seniors have access to share their thesis work via the jotform and must work with their thesis advisor and committee to work together to complete the process.

Thesis coursework must be completed by the end of the semester but students wanting to hang a show will be allowed to do so at a later date that is determined to be safe.


As the coronavirus outbreak progresses, it has become increasingly clear that we must re-envision our Spring 2020 commencement in accordance with CDC guidelines on eliminating large gatherings to combat the coronavirus. We are postponing the Graduation Commencement’s in-person celebration and we will celebrate the tremendous achievement of our senior class online instead. D etails will be forthcoming regarding the virtual graduation ceremony. Our dedication to one another in celebration of this momentous day will be realized in a “virtual celebration” on May 9th, 2020.

At a later date, yet to be determined, we will invite all seniors, their family and guests to return to the AAC to celebrate their achievement in-person. 
Updates will be emailed to seniors regarding the graduation ceremony as soon as we know details and a date that is safe is secured.

Dormitory ­­­­

  • Dormitory locations will remain open to those students who cannot return home. It is strongly re quired that social distancing and enhanced preventative public health and hygiene measures are to be practiced.
  • All students are required to abide by faculty guidance in accordance with remote instruction procedures for coursework provided by their individual faculty members.

Residential room fee refunds

  • Students who choose to move out of student housing will receive prorated refunds based on their move-out date. 
  • All residential students must advise Director of Student Services, Kelsey Nihiser of their continuing dorm status.

Parking fee refunds

  • Residential students who choose to move out and wish to cancel their parking permit will receive a partial refund.

Commuter students who choose to cancel their parking permit should email anna  to initiate this cancellation. Those refunds will be based on the date they request parking cancellation.


  • Tuition and technology fees cannot be refunded. These costs support the delivery of instruction, and the technology that the faculty is using to support students in earning credits for spring semester . These costs also insure that students receive credit for the courses that they complete during a given semester.  

Remote Work

  • Faculty and non-essential staff are required to work from home:If you are a Faculty memberswhoneeds access to the building, you mustsubmit a request through the Academic Dean, Paige Williams. Given the continually evolving situation and developing news from the Ohio governor’s office, all faculty and non-essential staff are required to work from home untilMay 1st. All faculty questions should be addressed to individual supervisors.

Visitors on Campus

  • Visitors to the AAC building will NOT be permitted to enter without prior approval , until at least May 1, 2020.

Please continue to check daily for email updates as changes to our plan are shared. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please email the appropriate person listed below:

Academic Questions
Paige Williams, 
Keith Benjamin,
Mark Thomas,
Matt Hart,
Student Services
Kelsey Nihiser,
Human Resources/Student Employment
Linda Kollmann,
Rick Wolhoy,

All d ecisions are thoughtfully being made and feedback plays an important role in our decision-making. I will continue to update our plan as the situation evolves. I ask for everyone’s patience and understanding as we navigate through this difficult and fluid situation. Your health and safety, and the health and safety of your family, friends, and loved ones are, and will always be, of the utmost importance to us. 

Best Regards,

Joe Girandola
Art Academy of Cincinnati

Information on AAC S.A.F.E. Fund, March 23rd, 2020 - Update #7

Student Assistance Fund for Emergencies (S.A.F.E.)

Below is the process for applying for emergency funds. Thank you for your patience and I want to also thank the AAC Community for their support in this difficult time.

To Apply:

To Donate:

About the S.A.F.E Fund:
The AAC S.A.F.E Fund will help provide resources for our students and assist to items related to housing, food, concern for their personal and emotional well-being and other essentials, unexpected early departures from campus, storage or shipping of belongings, technology to support remote learning, and institutional support of these efforts to stay safe and to stay creative.

Application Process:
Students who need emergency financial assistance may apply to S.A.F.E fund. The Emergency Fund Committee, consisting of staff members from Academic Affairs, Student Services, Financial Aid, and the Business Office, will review the submitted application and determine the appropriate funding amount.

"Stay at Home" Order, March 22nd, 2020 - Update #5

The Governor of Ohio announced today that he has signed a “STAY AT HOME” order for all of Ohio effective tomorrow at 11:59 PM until at least April 6th, 2020. I have been in communication with our leadership team and we will have a revised COVID 19 Plan for the AAC available tomorrow at 10 AM.

I understand that anxiety and stress during this Global Health Crisis continues to rise and I want all of you to know that I understand and our leadership team is working through every part of the COVID 19 plan this evening. I also advise that if you have not returned from your home following Spring Break to remain at home until further notice. All coursework will continue through remote methods beginning tomorrow. Thank you for your patience and  support of one another and the AAC Family.

Joe Girandola


Art Academy of Cincinnati

Art Academy of Cincinnati Admissions COVID-19 Response, March 20th, 2020 - Update #4

To respond appropriately regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Art Academy of Cincinnati has moved to remote learning. This response is purely precautionary and made primarily to ensure the safety of faculty, staff, and students.

Many of our applicants and accepts are feeling the same effects with high school closures, family having to work from home, or maybe temporarily out of work.

With that, the Art Academy wants them support you the best way we can. Fall will be here before you know it and the burden of tracking down transcripts when schools are closed along with paying a tuition deposit could be overwhelming.

The Art Academy has made the following admissions decisions:

  1. Transcripts: The Art Academy will conditionally accept students who are unable to request their high school transcript at this time because of COVID-19. This means you will be able to plan your college future without having to stress about a current high school closure you may be experiencing.

    Extending the deadline will allow time for you and your school to gather your materials.

    How do I apply for conditional acceptance:
                a. Students must have an accepted portfolio
                b. Students must fill out this form to be considered for conditional acceptance:           

What does a conditional accept mean: Conditional acceptance will allow students who are waiting on their high school transcript to be accepted to the Art Academy of Cincinnati under the condition that their transcript will arrive no later than July 1.

This will allow students to not be stalled in the acceptance process, and move quickly through financial aid towards registration. If conditionally accepted, transcripts will need to be submitted by July 1 in order to register for classes.

For questions, please email

  1. Tuition deposit: To relieve some of the financial burden families may be experiencing because of COVID-19, the Art Academy has decreased its tuition deposit of $200 to $50 until July 1. The housing deposit has also been reduced from $250 to $100 until July 1.  

    If you are an accepted student, you can make a reduced tuition deposit by clicking here:

    You can make a reduced housing deposit by signing the Housing Agreement here: Housing Agreement Form
    For questions, please email
  2. Shadow Days: If you have already scheduled a Shadow Day, the Art Academy will still honor your scholarship should Shadow Days be canceled. You will be receiving an email in the coming days with more information. 

    As always, all other scholarships such as Entrance, Teacher, Scholastic, Governors, etc. will be honored. 

  3. Tours: For the safety of our team, the Art Academy will be postponing all in-person tours.

    Students will have the option to reschedule tours. Please know we are making every effort to reschedule tours as soon as we can. However, with the continual changes in CDC guidelines and the health of you and our team being paramount, we do not currently have a date in which tours will resume.  

    In the next week, we will provide links to the video tours of the building and housing. Please hang with us as we are currently creating those videos as I write this email. 

Should closures be extended, dates will be reassessed. We hope that these temporary changes to our admissions policy will help you in securing your health and academic future.


Amanda Parker-Wolery

Thursday, March 19th, 2020 - Update #3

To Donate:

Wednesday, March 18th, 2020 - Update #2

Thesis Capstone Experience Process 2020

It with great sadness and empathy that I am informing you of alterations we have made to our Thesis Capstone Experience process for 2020 due to the current health crisis and based on recommendations from the Federal Government, the State of Ohio and the Center for Disease Control that gatherings in excess of 10 people be canceled.

Effective immediately:

  1. All Thesis Gallery Talks and Exhibition/Event Receptions are cancelled.
  2. All seniors (with the exception of the students who currently have work up) are required to upload documentation of their work. Please see the attached Jotform for instructions. Any questions about this process should be directed to jimmy Baker.
  3. Students upload thesis work here:

  4. PHYSICAL INSTALLATION OF WORK IS OPTIONAL. All seniors will have the opportunity to install their work, in their originally allocated gallery spaces and during their originally scheduled time. Matt Coors will not be available for gallery assistance in person, but feel free to contact MAtt Coors via Teams. All students will be required to restore the gallery to its original condition by 2:00pm on Saturday, during their allotted week.

  6. If you choose to install your work in the gallery, Jimmy Baker will document the work and you will be provided access to this documentation. The AAC has hired a professional to create a Virtual 360-degree tour of your exhibition that will be available to you as well.
  7. Thesis Reviews are still required and beginning March 23, 2020, will be handled remotely. (Thesis Reviews for the current Synthesis exhibition will be facilitated by the Academic Dean and 1 faculty member who has already been determined. All other faculty thesis advisors and readers are to call in remotely.)
  8. Your thesis advisor is responsible for facilitating a group call during the time you have scheduled for your review. The Student, Advisor and 2 Readers will conduct a conference call to discuss the work. The 2 Readers will complete the online thesis form. The Advisor will tally the score and send the final version to the student, the Associate Dean, Mark Thomas and Denise Watson, Executive Assistant for Academic Affairs.

    Faculty use this online review form here:

    The thesis advisor should follow these instructions:

  9. All students are invited to submit a piece to be included in a “Best of Thesis” exhibition to take place later in the summer. The date and location will be determined by the official end of the spring semester. The thesis advisor is responsible for arranging for their student to leave behind a work for this exhibition. Please place the work in room S663 and have the student label the work with: Name, Title, Medium, Date, Price or Ins. Value and a current phone number where they can be reached. This show is not required for the completion of the Capstone Experience or the BFA degree, but we hope you will all want to participate in this celebration.
  10. The Comic Con Group (Choose your GenreCon) will be required to upload images as are all other students. The Comic Con will happen in the summer or fall of 2020. Any summer events will be optional and not part of the senior course grades.

Wednesday, March 11th, 2020 - Update #1

View the letter from Ohio Governor Mike Dewine

Mike Dewine PDF