I am hopeful that as we redouble our efforts to care for one another in the context of these health challenges, we will discover even greater capacity for community building and connection.

Jody Reilly Soja, Head of School

The past few months have taught us that we can learn, grow, and connect as one community regardless of our physical location. But as educators, learners, and friends, there is no doubt that we prefer to be together. And so, it is with humility and cautious optimism that I share our IMS Reopening Report, the culmination of months of work and planning. 

This report outlines our master plan to proactively mitigate risk and respond to a wide variety of scenarios as we endeavor to safely reopen campus for the 2020-2021 academic year. It goes without saying that schools, businesses, and organizations face various degrees of uncertainty in the year ahead, and I want to emphasize that this plan is intentionally designed to be malleable and not contractual in nature so that we can adapt as circumstances and recommendations from federal and state agencies change. This plan covers many areas and provides some specific and general policy guidelines, but it does not attempt to address every contingency that can arise. 

One of the priorities we identified in our most recent strategic plan is: Community as Classroom. We noted that “Students who learn and live well in their community understand how to make a positive impact.” This year, more than any other in recent memory, will require a collective effort and a focus on living and learning well together. It is imperative that we head into this school year with teamwork and shared responsibility in mind, with a keen focus on how to live a Life Through Service by caring for one another. This spirit will shape our conversations in the classroom, our participation in athletics and the arts, and how we conduct ourselves on a daily basis. 

The safety and wellbeing of all members of our school community and our community at large is at the forefront of our minds as we engage in reopening planning. We strive to do our very best to mitigate health risks to the highest extent possible and to plan for how to respond to various situations that may arise. We understand that no single preventative health measure can be singularly relied on, so our planning includes layers of protective approaches. Throughout it all, we must remain flexible and adaptable. At the same time, we are cognizant that despite our best efforts, we cannot eliminate all risk and we cannot anticipate and plan for every possible scenario that can arise. However, as a school, we remain committed to providing a safe campus, an excellent education and a robust program for our students. 

There is no question that life at IMS will be different, particularly as we begin the school year. This past June, I spoke about how we, as a community, will be forever united by this experience. We hope to spend time this fall talking about why we are taking certain health measures, both from a community health perspective, but also to further enforce our beliefs in the importance of community, resilience, service, empathy, and hope. 

I would like to express my gratitude to our six reopening committees, as well as Kyle Halloran, our COVID Planning Coordinator and Director of Residential Life. A list of each committee can be found on page 7 of this report. This summer, these administrators have worked diligently to prepare both this report and the infrastructure at school for our reopening. Their work has been the perfect example of collective effort and all the planning has focused on how we care for one another in our community. I am deeply indebted to this team and really proud of the work they have done together. 

I am also grateful for and inspired by the ability of our community to not only adjust to these difficult times, but to do so with renewed purpose and compassion. At IMS we are always driven by our mission to inspire in each member of our community the courage to climb, the joy to create, the passion to learn, and the spirit to contribute in kind and meaningful ways. I am hopeful that as we redouble our efforts to care for one another in the context of these health challenges, we will discover even greater capacity for community building and connection. We are eager to have students back to campus and to begin this important work together. As always, I am extraordinarily grateful for your partnership and support.