Covid-19 Policies & Control Measures
With the launch of IMA’s very first campus, it has been our mission to prepare students for future successes by providing intentional and well-rounded bilingual education, in a safe and welcoming learning environment. Through continued enhancements, IMA has consistency made programming adjustments to meet evolving learning targets in an effective manner. IMA’s DNA has the imprint of strategic planning and problem solving as changes have been implemented for the betterment of our school. These processes have included the voice of our talented teaching staff, team of administrators, school advisors, and community input from our families.
The recent and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges to both IMA and our families. We would like to tackle these challenges by taking the opportunity to further enhance IMA’s program, improve upon our environment, and strengthen our community. In partnering strict health and safety measures with these enhancements, our children will engage in meaningful learning experiences throughout the 2020-2021 school year.
We understand the known risk factors and potential COVID-19 exposures that may result from children attending school and engaging with others in a community setting. However, when assessing the risk/reward scenarios associated with returning to regular programming, we continue to focus on the enjoyment of learning, engagement and company our children have when with friends, and more importantly a sense of routine and normalcy. These elements can be in place when we can keep IMA open. So, with that said, why is IMA open? We understand the needs of our families, the needs of our students and also the needs of our staff at this time. With ridged protocols and the following of health and safety guidelines we are committed to providing services until it is deemed unsafe to do so.
Below you will find IMA’s current plan for the 2020-2021 school year. This plan was developed based on what we currently know of the present situation at hand, with acknowledgment that there is still so much that is simply unknown surrounding COVID-19 at this time. We intend for this page to be a “living document” as we navigate the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic. With great intention we will continue to re-evaluate policies and regulations. As COVID-19 evolves, so may our plan. While we have planned around scenarios we consider to be most likely, we are prepared for unpredictable developments that could change with little advance notice. Therefore, our overall approach is to be flexible and prepared to quickly respond to unexpected developments if needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why did IMA close in March/April for an extended period of time, but choose to reopen for full programming in September?
In March, little was known regarding COVID-19. Washington State was navigating the rapid growth of COVID-19 cases and statistics, while we remained at the epicenter of this new phenomenon. While IMA assessed what was taking place in our own city we also looked to global trends as the world attempted to understand what this virus entailed and what preventative measures would slow transmission. With time, heightened precautionary measured were implemented from stay-at-home orders to wearing masks. Testing became more readily available and there was an awakening and vigilance in adhering to heightened safety measures. The more that was understood, the more comfortable IMA felt in reopening our doors and resuming programming. This time allowed for an assessment and better understanding of how our classrooms and policies needed adaptation and parameters to promote the health and wellness of our community.
2. Why has IMA chosen to open when other public schools in the surrounding area have chosen to implement online platforms in September?
As an organization and community, IMA remains much smaller in comparison to public school settings. Each IMA campus operates with a total enrollment that can be managed and adapted to promote small groupings of students. We are also a community of like-minded parent groups which allows for IMA to work together in achieving a united goal – to keep our children healthy and in school. IMA has the ability to enforce an environment with non-negotiable parameters for staff and families to follow, whereas public schools are bound by a different set of guidelines that make the implementation of such policies much more difficult.
3. If the state of Washington goes back to a mandated shut down or stay-at-home order, will IMA remain open? If so, why?
At this time, unless mandated by the government or drastic changes in the data, IMA plans to stay open even if a stay-at-home order is implemented. Should individual families be mandated to close their circle of engagements and limit interactions with the outside public, we feel that a stay-athome order would bring an even higher level of protection and less risk of transmission. When our cities, businesses and social activities have less limitations, families and individuals are more likely to be out and engaged in settings where the transmission of COVID-19 is more likely. When there are more parameters in place and families are remaining at home, the risk of exposure is lessened.
It is understood that we all want our children to be safe, while also meeting ongoing learning goals and the childcare needs of our hardworking parents. However, as we continue to be in the middle of a pandemic it must be understood that the only way to balance these needs is by being selfless and considerate of our children and community members.
It is a privilege for our children to attend school in person at this time, a privilege that can only continue if each family promotes these common goals. The more vigilant we are in following appropriate distancing and gathering recommendations, while also keeping our children home when/if either a child or family member is not of 100% health, the more likely IMA as a community will be able to remain open for every healthy student.
Every family’s situation is unique and we ask for full transparency and trust as you share your questions or concerns with us relating to COVID-19. It is our goal to continue problem-solving for the greater good. Collectively, we will be able to protect our own child(ren) by protecting everyone else around them as well.
Please stay alert for new messages in preparation for the 2020-2021 school year. We continue to work toward improved efficiency and effectiveness in keeping our community safe as we launch a new school year. Thank you for your commitment and patience with these modifications.