Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response

Advisory Information on Coronavirus

IMSA is actively monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This page will provide updates on the Academy’s preparation and response measures.

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May 26, 2020

Hi Colleagues,
I hope that you had a restful holiday weekend. As a part of the re-opening for the fall, an IMSA Transition Task Force has been established. This task force will serve as an advisory to Dr. Torres and his Cabinet, on the implementation and execution of the Fall 2020 re-opening. The participants include:

  • Dana Ginnett- Student Affairs
  • Tami Armstrong- Office of Public Affairs/Development
  • Kimberly Corrao- Business Office
  • Terry Jones- ITS
  • Gwen Seeley Joosse- Center for Teaching and Learning
  • Joseph Mastrocola- Human Resources
  • Patrick Davis- Principal’s Office/Faculty
  • Angi Rowley- Center for Teaching and Learning
  • Dave Devol- Principal’s Office/Faculty

Alexis R. Thomas, MBA, JD
Chief Strategic Partnerships and Initiatives Officer


May 20, 2020

Dear Students and Parents,

Today, May 20, 2020, the IMSA Board of Trustees accepted my recommendation to begin the 2020-2021 Academic Year with distance learning and remote working with the intention of moving to in-person learning and working when IMSA meets the criteria for the Restore Illinois plan and there is treatment or a vaccine for COVID-19. The health and safety of IMSA students, faculty, staff, and community is paramount in this decision. All measures for distance learning and remote working will continue to be driven by the Academy’s mission, beliefs, and legislative charges.

Incoming Students and Parents (Class of 2023)

IMSA’s philosophy as coined by Dr. Leon Lederman, founder and Nobel Laureate, was pioneered as follows:

If we do what we know and feel is right, it is bound to happen that among our graduates there will be numbered scientists, engineers, and those who go on to earn degrees in law and letters. There are likely to be those few who create new intellectual worlds, cure a dreaded human ailment or in some other way significantly influence life on our planet. Our philosophy will be to treat our charges as if each one is capable of this extraordinary achievement. Only one such product will make the effort and expense of this school for its entire duration worthwhile.

We are excited for you to enroll in the possibilities at IMSA.  In the weeks and months ahead, staff, including faculty, will focus on creating a distance learning experience that balances academic rigor and social engagement.

I am sure you have many questions. You will receive a separate email later today from the Office of Admissions with information regarding next steps.

Students and Parents (Classes of 2021 and 2022)

You will receive a separate email later today from the Office of Student Affairs with an opportunity to express your questions and comments about our plans for Fall 2020.

Employees and Staff

Shortly after we complete the student move-out of the residence halls on May 29, we will schedule a time for all employees to return to their offices to retrieve supplies or other items they may need, including those that will support them in the coming school year as we continue with distance learning and remote working. There will be different time schedules for 10 and 12-month employees. Watch for an email regarding the scheduling of your return to campus.

We look forward to coming together at the Town Hall Meeting on May 27, 2020 at 1:00 P.M. to connect more on our plans for Fall 2020.

Jose M. Torres, Ph.D.
President and CEO

May 19, 2020

Dear IMSA Community,

As an update to my email sent last Friday, May 15, 2020 regarding three colleagues, including one Resident Counselor and two Security Officers, who experienced symptoms similar to those of COVID-19, I want to share the outcome of the test results with you.The Resident Counselor and one Security Officer tested negative. The second Security Officer received a positive test result for COVID-19. We will do everything we can to support this individual through what is undoubtedly a difficult time.

We have taken all precautions recommended by our health care partner, Rush Copley Medical, and in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control, including isolating all three individuals and disinfecting all high touch surfaces.  None of the individuals impacted, nor those who were in contact with them will be supporting our move-out work. As a result, the move-out schedule beginning tomorrow, Wednesday, May 20, will remain in place.

In addition, we are working under the guidance of the CDC and our health care partner, Rush Copley Medical, on isolation protocols and return to work strategies.

In consultation with Rush Copley Medical, we are using the CDC  symptom-based discontinuation of isolation strategy regarding our colleague who tested positive for COVID-19.  Persons who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are directed to care for themselves at home may discontinue isolation under the following conditions:

  • At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and,

  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

IMSA adds an extra layer of criteria that requires an employee who tests positive for COVID-19 to undergo a final health assessment by Rush Copley Medical staff before discontinuing isolation and returning to work.  A test-based strategy is an alternative to a symptom-based approach; however, this is not a feasible plan of action based on the lack of available testing supplies and laboratory capacity as well as convenient access to testing.

The Security Officer with the positive test result last worked on May 6, 2020 and exposure to others was limited based on the handful of people recorded as being on campus that day. Prior to May 6, the last time the officer was on campus was April 16, 2020.

Also in consultation with Rush Copley Medical, and in accordance with CDC guidelines, the two colleagues that tested negative for COVID-19 will follow preventive measures to protect themselves and others from being exposed.

According to Rush Copley Medical, there is no reason to self-isolate unless you’ve experienced prolonged exposure (defined by CDC as 15 minutes). We will continue to consult with Rush Copley Medical on each potential and confirmed case of COVID-19 within our staff community. We may choose to extend the length of isolation or time away from work as an additional precaution for our community.

We realize a case of COVID-19 within our community creates a heightened sense of anxiety and concern. IMSA’s COVID-19 website offers a number of resources to help community members stay healthy and to cope with the strain this period is placing on all of us. Please continue to follow the CDC guidelines to help keep yourself and your family members safe. We are here to support you.

Please reach out if you have any questions or concerns.

Stay well and stay safe.

Jose M. Torres, Ph.D.
President and CEO

May 15, 2020

Dear IMSA Community,

Out of an abundance of caution, we believe it is important to share with you that IMSA administrators were notified on Wednesday evening, May 13, 2020 and on the morning of Thursday, May 14, 2020 that three colleagues, including one Resident Counselor and two Security Officers, have been experiencing symptoms similar to those of COVID-19.  All three have undergone testing and are awaiting the results.

IMSA has moved the Resident Counselor offsite to self-quarantine and both Security Officers are self-quarantining at their homes until test results are returned. We are closely monitoring the situation and will provide updates when they are available.

Per the guidance received from our health care partner, Rush Copley Medical Center, there is no reason to self-isolate unless you’ve experienced prolonged exposure (defined by CDC as 15 minutes).  We have been in contact directly with any staff who need to self-isolate. However, your health and safety is our first priority, so please take any additional precautions you believe necessary to ensure your wellness.

We encourage you to use the self-monitoring checklist attached recommended by Rush Copley Medical Center as good practice for yourself and your family.

In the meantime, IMSA has completed the “COVID-19 Exposure Incident Report” to the State of Illinois and is awaiting response.  Importantly, our maintenance teams have sanitized Residence Halls and all common spaces including hard surfaces.  In the main building, all spaces have been sanitized. Also, we are expanding the current main building entry hours, so that we can stretch out visitation so more distance can be assured when colleagues need to access the main building.

As you know, the IMSA campus has been closed since Friday, March 13 in an effort to help contain the spread of COVID-19. Students, staff and faculty have remained off campus for remote teaching and learning since the closure.

We will continue to keep you informed as new information becomes available, including the outcomes of the pending COVID-19 tests. Please continue to follow the CDC guidelines to help keep yourself and your family members safe.

Jose M. Torres, Ph.D.
President and CEO


April 21, 2020

Important Updates from Principal and Chief Academic Officer, Robert Hernandez, Ed.D.

Grading System Update

Prior to our Spring Break, our faculty initiated the conversation about grading for our students. The question of alternatives to the current grading system is a complex question involving many factors including but not limited to issues related to equity. All stakeholders have raised questions about assessment and grading; it is a question that we have discussed at length. We put together a team composed of faculty (the Curriculum and Assessment Leaders – Mr. Matthew McCutcheon, Ms. Mary Beth McCarthy, Mr. David Lundgren, Dr. Crystal Randall, Dr. Devon Madon, Dr. Rachel Banke and Ms. Agnieszka Michalak), Dr. Torres, President, Dr. Hernandez, Principal, Dr. Akwaji-Anderson, Dean of Faculty, and Ms. Hinterlong, Assistant Principal to explore alternatives and make a decision for IMSA. We received and reviewed emails from students, alumni, parents, and staff on the specific subject of grading during this COVID-19 crisis. We reviewed the ISBE recommended guidelines distributed to all schools in the state. We heard from college admission representatives including such schools as Yale, Brown and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and talked with other schools across the country to gather as much input as possible. We also received input from Ms. Julia Husen, Coordinator of College and Academic Counseling. Prior to making this decision, we wanted to allow faculty and students to get into a cadence of remote teaching and learning. We also considered the intended and unintended consequences to our students, teachers, and future college plans.

After much conversation and debate, we have decided to move to a final grading system of Pass/Incomplete for the Spring Semester of 2020 only. All students’ final grades and transcripts for the Spring Semester of 2020 shall be recorded on a Pass/Incomplete basis. Students shall not have an option to opt in or opt out of this decision; all grades for this semester will be Pass/Incomplete. The bulleted list below outlines additional details related to this decision.

  • During the semester, teachers will continue to record letter grades for assignments and assessments.
  • At the conclusion of the semester, teachers will convert the grade to a Pass/Incomplete grade so that a P or I will be noted on the transcript for the semester. All passing grades will count towards graduation credits.
  • Students earning a C- or higher will receive a grade of P.
  • Students who fail to meet course expectations by earning a D in the course will receive an Incomplete.
  • Students who passed at the quarter could potentially receive an Incomplete for the semester if they did not engage in the work and meet course requirements.
  • If a student receives an Incomplete, they have until August 1 to resolve the Incomplete by completing any missing work or assessments. If there is no resolution the grade remains an Incomplete for the Spring Semester 2020.
  • Teachers will provide ongoing feedback throughout the semester to ensure that students know if they are or are not meeting course expectations.
  • Teachers can use semester comments to provide additional details about the student’s performance for the semester.
  • In the event that a student cannot meet course expectations due to extenuating circumstances at home (illness, special family situation, etc.), they should reach out to their CAC who will engage other staff and determine if an Incomplete should be issued for the course.
Commencement 2020

It has been one month since IMSA announced its initial closure due to the COVID-19 health crises. While teachers, students and parents scrambled to prepare for stay-at-home, work-from-home and the transition to remote learning, there was another group of students with a lot on their minds. The class of 2020. And graduation.

We believe it is unlikely that the pandemic will reach a point where it is safe for large gatherings to congregate before next fall. However, If we are able to get together to celebrate the Class of 2020 when it is safe to do so, we most certainly will. We continue to work with Student Council and Senior Class Club on the potential for a summer celebration.

In the meantime, we are moving forward with plans for a ‘virtual’ commencement ceremony to include traditional speeches by students, guest speaker, regalia, and written program.

While we know a virtual experience will not replicate the traditional in-person commencement, we are very excited for the innovative possibilities, ensuring a memorable occasion for our seniors and their families. The date of the ceremony will remain the same — May 30, 2020 at 3:30 pm.

IMPORTANT DETAILS

  • Part of the ‘virtual’ ceremony will include a video (or photo) of IMSA graduates in their cap/gown. Senior photos will be used, if no video (or photo) is submitted. Video or (photo) can be done with a smartphone or digital camera. The video does not need to be longer than 30 seconds, and does not need any dialogue. Try to make your video (or photo) the highest quality possible with good lighting. To have your video (or photo) included please submit no later than May 18, 2020.
  • To ensure your photo/video is included in our ceremony, upload to https://drive.google.com/open?id=1skVTc4Tixdots7bATl2TiIy7pfDmRLZR
  • Please include your name.
  • Herff Jones will ship caps, gowns, and medallions to graduates’ home addresses the first week in May.
  • If you have not ordered cap/gown and wish to, please contact Christy Stichberry, ckstichberry@herffjones.com or order online http://www.highschool.herffjones.com/
  • To check to see if you have a balance due, please contact Christy Stichberry, ckstichberry@herffjones.com
  • If you wish to request a refund for your cap/gown, please contact Christy Stichberry, ckstichberry@herffjones.com
  • Diploma covers and (4) printed programs per family will be mailed prior to May 18, 2020 to the home address listed in PowerSchool.
  • At this particular time, we do understand the $41.00 cap/gown charge could possibly be a burden for some families. If this is the case, please email Colleen Geihm, cgeihm@imsa.edu

As more details become available, we will share this information with you.


April 13, 2020

Dear IMSA Summer Camp Families,

For the health and safety of all who participate in our summer camps, IMSA will not be hosting face-to-face camps in June. For those who registered for June camps, we offer the following options:

  1. You can transfer your registration to a July camp or camps, provided space exists (view here)
  2. You can exchange your registration fee for a credit toward a future IMSA program, including summer 2021
  3. You can transfer your registration to a June virtual camp or camps (linked here) (Any cost difference would be refunded)
  4. You can make a tax-deductible donation by donating your registration fee to the IMSA Fund for Advancement of Education. You can find the donation consent form here. You will receive an acknowledgement letter for your records.
  5. You can receive a complete refund

To request one of the above options, send an email to studentenrichment@imsa.edu and include your name and your child’s name and the option you would like. If you have multiple registrations for a single child and want different options per registration, please indicate that in your email. Please respond by April 20, 2020. If we do not receive an email from you by that time we will process a full refund.

All refunds will be in the form of a check and will be mailed to the address used when you registered. All IMSA staff members are working remotely through the month of May, so please allow some patience with the timeline for receiving your refund.

Thank you for your ongoing support of IMSA during these challenging times. We hope to see you and your child at a future program.

Sincerely,

The Student Enrichment Team


April 2, 2020

Dear IMSA Community,

I am grateful for you – students, parents, staff, faculty, alumni, and friends. Your resilience in the face of adversity inspires me. You have responded by remaining focused on the educational mission of IMSA and adapting to remote learning strategies that we may develop into learning models likely to spark the innovations that will define tomorrow. We are diving into the new normal with passion and curiosity. Throughout this spring semester, we have found ourselves in uncharted territory. And, may I suggest that rather than keeping our social distance, we keep our physical distance from others, and seek to be socially close to others. Rather than beginning our interactions with each other with, “Are you keeping up with your work?” let’s start by asking, “How are you? How is your family? What do you need?”

As always, we have been transparent about current realities—including what we don’t know. Additionally, we strive to keep you informed of the decisions we are making to limit the spread of COVID-19 within our IMSA community, the state of Illinois, and the world.

Residential Hall Move-Out

In recent days, some local media outlets in the Aurora region reported that IMSA residential halls might be used as temporary housing amid the coronavirus outbreak. This reporting is incorrect. We communicated to city officials on March 17, 2020, that IMSA has no capacity for occupancy because our students’ belongings remain in the halls, and our residence counselors live in them.

In light of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s announcement this week extending the stay-at-home order through April 30, 2020, we have decided to delay move-out plans.

Based on the governor’s order and similar efforts around the world, IMSA is committed to the health and safety of our community, including students, families, and IMSA employees. We want to illustrate and amplify the photo shared by doctors in Greece, “The one who stayed away saved all the rest.” We resolve to stem the spread of the coronavirus, promote physical distancing, and prohibit traveling to and from the IMSA campus.

We understand that students may be anxious to retrieve their belongings and are committed to contacting parents and students once the situation changes. At the right time, we will provide clear guidance and directions for returning to campus and moving out.

Minor exceptions are being made on a case-by-case basis for extraordinary circumstances. Contact the Student Life Office at 630-907-5009 or email Ms. Katie Berger, Chief Student Affairs Officer at kberger@imsa.edu.

Commencement

Every year, one of my most cherished moments is the honor of presiding over Commencement for our graduating seniors. IMSA’s graduation with its “pomp and circumstance” is a fitting ceremony symbolizing our seniors’ completion meeting graduation requirements at IMSA. But as we have all seen, the rapid spread of COVID-19 has changed nearly everything. Incidentally, the formal name for the virus is SARS-CoV-2, (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2).

Because of the continuing public health threat posed by COVID-19, we have decided to cancel the in-person commencement ceremonies scheduled for May 30, 2020, at the NIU Convocation Center. Instead, we are planning on a live-stream IMSA commencement to include our traditional speeches by students, commencement speaker, previously announced, and written program. We will provide additional information closer to the date.

We are also hoping that we can have a face to face celebration. We have been working with the Senior Class Club (and consulted with the Student Council) on ideas and alternative ways to celebrate. They have indicated a preference for bringing the seniors together over the summer for bonding time, a senior weekend with some of the favorite senior traditions, a dance, a Six Flags Great America trip, a bagel party, watching the sunrise, or a trip to the Main Event.

I invite your input into how and when we mark this milestone. Please share with us your thoughts on alternative and innovative ways to recognize this occasion, vibrantly and safely, by e-mailing me at jtorres@imsa.edu. Please know that we will honor the success of our senior class every way we can and keep us safe.

Update on Student Fee Refunds and Student Emergency Relief Fund

In my March 26, 2020, IMSA President Coronavirus Update, I shared with you that we will be prorating student fees to reflect the reduced extracurricular offerings as a result of our campus closure. All credits have been applied to MySchoolBucks accounts for those families who enrolled in payment plans. Refund checks for fees that were paid in full will be issued on or before May 31, 2020. For questions about the status of your student fees, please contact Ann Donohue at 630-907-5585.

I have received e-mails from parents concerning their desire to redirect their refund to the Student Emergency Relief Fund. This fund is designed to lend a helping hand to our student families who are struggling to pay for essential expenses as well as access to technology for remote learning. If you wish to donate your refund to the IMSA Student Emergency Relief Fund, please complete the donation consent form by April 17. All donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. You will receive an acknowledgment letter for your records.

For families who wish to apply for emergency funds from this effort, please complete the grant application.

Resident Counselor Remote Student Engagement

In these uncertain and challenging times for our students, our Resident Counselors have been working creatively to stay connected and support our amazing students while they are at home adapting to their “new normal.” Some are having discussions through YouTube live chat; others are hosting small group chats via Facebook Messenger and Facebook Live. A few examples of the fun activities RCs are sharing with their students include making an Affirmation Board (Positive reminders to raise self-esteem and promote self-care), live streaming video games for group play, painting, bingo, workout videos, yoga, learning how to play the ukulele, and even belly dancing!

QuaranTeam

I asked each of my Cabinet members to take a “work from home selfie” to share with the IMSA community to lift spirits and keep the IMSA community culture intact. Along with the selfie, each Cabinet member also shared their tips for staying positive and productive as our community transitions to remote working as the new normal. Enjoy my QuaranTeam! We want to offer this opportunity to our entire community. Please take a selfie and share your tips for staying positive with us. Send your selfie to tglas@imsa.edu.

IMSA Donates PPE to Mercy Hospital

While much of the IMSA campus is quiet, members of our facilities team have been busy collecting and sorting hundreds of excess, unopened Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from across campus. We expect to deliver our PPE donations, including goggles, vinyl and nitrile gloves, isopropyl and ethyl alcohol tomorrow to Mercy Hospital in Aurora.

Let’s be the ones who stay away to save the rest.

Respectfully,

José M. Torres, Ph.D.
President


March 27, 2020

Dear Students and Parents,

Greetings!

March 26, 2020 began the start of a new journey for all of us at IMSA.  This journey will require all of us to exercise patience and flexibility.  As we embark on this journey, I want to let you know that we have and will continue to make adjustments to support students academically.

WEEK AT A GLANCE

A “week-at-a-glance” document for all courses will be available to all parents, students and staff.

Go to PowerSchool starting March 30 and look at School Bulletin to find the link to the document. The document will include:

  • Course information including synchronous meeting times
  • Upcoming assignments
  • Teacher office hours
  • Academic support information/updates

STRATEGIES

Ms. Amy Keck will continue to meet weekly with our Strategies Team.  For your information, the Strategies team includes:

  • College and Academic Counselors (Ms. Julia Husen, Mr. Dave McGovern, Ms. Kara Molenhouse, Ms. Sue Speulda)
  • School Counselors (Mr. Kevin Kusy and Ms. Keisha Rheams)
  • School Nurse (Ms. Angie Shoener, RN)
  • Writing Center Director & English Faculty (Ms. Erin Micklo)
  • PROMISE Program Director & Science Faculty (Dr. Anita White)
  • Academic Support Specialist and Education Plan Coordinator (Dr. Linda Hefferin)
  • Student Life Area Coordinator (Ms. Erin Ryan)

This team will work collaboratively to support all of our students during this time.

SUMMARY OF ACADEMIC SUPPORTS

Here is a summary of some of the academic support strategies for your reference.

  • Ms. Amy Keck will serve as a coordinator for academic concerns.  Students, parents and staff are welcome to reach out to her with concerns and she will coordinate support with the appropriate personnel.
  • Contact information for Ms. Amy Keck:
      • email akeck@imsa.edu
      • text 630-335-9421
      • call 630-335-9421 (Monday-Friday, 8:00 am – 4:30 pm)
    • Ms. Amy Keck will respond to you within one business day.
  • Dr. Linda Hefferin will reach out to all students with education plans to follow up on any adjustments to plans that might need to be made during this time.  If you have questions/concerns specific to education plans, please contact her at lhefferin@imsa.edu.
  • Dr. Anita White and Dr. Linda Hefferin are communicating with IMSA staff advocates and asking them to touch base with students who were previously assigned an advocate.  In addition, they will continue to assign staff as advocates for students when appropriate.
  • Ms. Erin Micklo sent information to all parents, staff and students about writing support prior to Spring Break.
    • Writing Center Tutors will continue to support peers remotely.
    • Ms. Erin Micklo is also available to support students who need writing support (email emicklo@imsa.edu).
  • Ms. Erin Ryan, Ms. Amy Keck and Dr. Linda Hefferin are continuing to coordinate and oversee peer tutors.
    • Peer Tutors will be available remotely.
      • One-on-one virtual tutoring
      • Subject-specific review sessions
      • Next week, students will receive an email from Ms. Amy Keck about serving as a peer tutor.
      • Current tutors will need to confirm they are able to continue serving in that role.
      • Students who were not previously tutors and find themselves able and willing to serve in that role are encouraged to step forward to be considered.
  • Virtual one-on-one sessions are welcomed with any of the support staff.
    • Students who previously met with Ms. Loos, Ms. Keck, Ms. Micklo, their CAC, or one of their teachers on a regular basis are strongly encouraged to continue to do so virtually.
  • Excel Students
    • Students who participated in the Excel Program are encouraged to work with Dr. Anita White for any academic support needs.
  • Math Support
    • Ms. Tina Loos, Instructional Program Assistant for mathematics, will be available to support students in Mathematical Investigations remotely.
    • Ms. Loos is available:
      • M-F, 6 hours/day of availability in varied blocks
      • Email cloos@imsa.edu to schedule a meeting.
  • Science Support
    • Mr. Dennsa Mohamed, Equity and Inclusion Program Development Associate, will be available to support students in SI Chemistry, Advanced Chemistry and all Biology classes remotely.
    • Email Mr. Dennsa Mohamed at dmohamed@imsa.edu to schedule a meeting.

Counseling Support

We encourage students to schedule a time to meet with our school counselors as we adapt to our new reality at IMSA.  Students can sign up for 1:1 meetings using the below link.

https://www.imsa.edu/student-life/counseling-services/

As we move forward, we will continue to monitor and adjust our academic support strategies to best serve our students.  We know that our students will be successful with the collective support of our entire IMSA community.  A special thank you to Ms. Amy Keck and all the members of our Strategies Team for their leadership in providing academic support for our students.  Feel free to reach out to me if you have any specific questions or concerns.

Thank you!

Ms. Diane Hinterlong

Assistant Principal


March 26, 2020

Dear IMSA Family,

Today I am sharing with you my third update on the status of IMSA since March 17, 2020. As the situation continues to change rapidly, our top priority remains the health, safety, and well-being of our community, on and off-campus, and the intellectual and social engagement of our students. We are taking decisive, informed action to limit the spread of COVID-19 while ensuring the continuity of our educational mission.

Recognizing the financial impact the COVID-19 crisis is having on our IMSA families, we will be prorating student fees to reflect the reduced extracurricular offerings as a result of our campus closure. For those families doing installment payments, we will be disabling the April and May payments so you will not see those charges. For families that have paid in full, you will receive a refund for April and May fees prorated in the same manner. We will be finalizing the process for stop payments and refunds in the coming days.

In the same vein, we have established the IMSA Emergency Student Relief Fund. With this fund, we hope to provide emergency financial assistance to low-income student families for essential expenses as well as access to technology for remote learning. Our goal is to ensure that every student in our community can continue to experience IMSA’s robust educational program from home, regardless of their financial situation. Please join us by visiting IMSA’s Emergency Student Relief Fundto learn more and to make your donation now.

It is business as usual (albeit far from ordinary circumstances) for IMSA employees, staff, including faculty, RC’s, counselors, etc., who are working remotely. Prior to beginning remote working, we tested our systems in advance of this current situation to ensure that we could operate from remote locations for as long as necessary. All staff who are able to work remotely are doing so. Additionally, we continue to pay our staff whose role prevents them from working remotely. Engagement is very high. We held a Zoom Town Hall Meeting for staff, including faculty, on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 and were joined by 171 staff members. Our highest attendance ever at a Town Hall.

We are still discussing the future of summer activities and events, including commencement, and will share decisions with you by next Friday, April 3, 2020. Also, as a reminder, remote learning and working is in effect until the end of the Spring Academic year.

From an outreach perspective, IMSA’s Center for Teaching and Learning is offering a virtual “Ask A Specialist” program by appointment for parents, teachers and students across the state to get one on one help with content questions, remote teaching strategies/tools, parent as teacher support, and any other needs. This PreK-12 service will allow parents to reach out and ask questions about how to help their child with the school work. Hours of operation are from 6:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. In addition, IMSA “Snack Boxes” have been developed by grade level bands to provide STEM lessons and activities that have been vetted and are free to anyone. This resource has pulled together the hundreds of sites and resources that different organizations are now offering. A new Snack Box will be available each week, and all of the previous weeks will be available linked in an archive.

As a final note, I want to make you aware of a dedicated helpline that has been created by the State of Illinois to help families connect with child care resources and referral agencies for emergency child care. The toll-free number is (888) 228-1146.

Please continue to take good care of yourselves and each other. We’re all in this together.

Respectfully,

José M. Torres, Ph.D.
President


March 20, 2020 – Message from IMSA President

Good Afternoon,

Let me begin by saying that IMSA is committed to protecting our community and the community beyond our campus during this global health crisis, while also maintaining a robust educational program.  Nothing matters more to us than this: igniting and nurturing creative, ethical scientific minds that advance the human condition.

All of us are living with a new reality as a result of COVID-19. As a result, I am announcing that remote learning and working will continue through the rest of the academic year. Face-to-face instruction will be suspended for the Spring 2020 semester. I know this will be a shock to our seniors and to all of our students and families.

We will provide our families with more information on move-out days and times no later than Thursday, March 26, 2020. Decisions on spring activities including prom and graduation will be forthcoming.

This is the best information we have right now. We recognize that this information may be unexpected; but please know that we have made this decision with your best interest and our community’s in mind. Our dedicated staff, including faculty, are focusing on providing quality education and timely information to our families.

Thank you for partnering with us to help slow the spread of COVID-19 on our campus and the community at large. IMSA will continue to update the situation frequently on our COVID-19 webpage. Our goal is to be open and transparent, which we believe is essential to help stop the spread of the virus. This is a growing pandemic, and as we learn more about its impact on IMSA, we will continue to share with you.

Please follow CDC guidelines and instructions, including hand washing and social distancing. And stay inside as much as possible. We’re in this together. Stay well and stay safe.

Respectfully,

José M. Torres, Ph.D.
President


March 20, 2020

Dear IMSA students,

We hope you’re enjoying spring break and that you are staying healthy. We want to assure you that we are continuing to monitor the evolving health concerns related to COVID-19. We will provide communication to you and your parents weekly to keep you up to date on actions being taken and decisions being made.

As we prepare to return from the extended spring break and engage in remote learning beginning on Thursday, March 26, please review the attached Frequently Asked Questions for clarification on remote learning processes and expectations. This information will also be available on the Coronavirus page on the IMSA website.

While the remote learning experience is new for many of us, we are excited to engage in this new educational experience together. Please know that the IMSA faculty and staff are here to support you during this time.

Stay well,

Bob Hernandez, Principal and Chief Academic Officer
Katie Berger, Chief Student Affairs Officer


March 19, 2020

Dear IMSA Colleagues,

Earlier this week, I wrote specific email messages to the Faculty, RCs and Student Affairs, and the Center for Teaching and Learning, Innovation, and Inquiry. I want to share additional information in this message pertinent to those three groups, along with sending an email to the rest of my IMSA colleagues. As a result, some of you will have read some of what is in this email.

Saying that we are in an unprecedented time is an understatement. It’s also inaccurate.  Consider the following:

It began in the East. At least, that’s what the experts think. Maybe it came from animals. Maybe it was the Chinese. Maybe it was a curse from the gods.

One thing is certain: it radiated out east, west, north, and south, crossing borders, then oceans, as it overwhelmed the world. The only thing that spread faster than the contagion was the fear and the rumors. People panicked. Doctors were baffled. Government officials dawdled and failed. Travel was delayed or rerouted or aborted altogether. Festivals, gatherings, sporting events—all cancelled. The economy plunged. Bodies piled up.

The institutions of government proved very fragile indeed.

We’re talking, of course, about the Antonine Plague of 165 CE, a global pandemic with a mortality rate of between 2-3%, which began with flu-like symptoms until it escalated and became gruesome and painfully fatal. Millions were infected. Between 10 and 18 million people eventually died.

–(From Daily Stoic: Ancient Wisdom for Everyday Life, March 18, 2020; www.dailystoic.com)

While most of us are working remotely or still “enjoying” spring break, ironically, we are experiencing the same things in quarantine, isolation, in our homes with our families. Today, I wanted to share with you an update from Cabinet.

Cabinet and I have been meeting regularly to monitor the evolving COVID-19 situation and determine our responses to the ever-changing landscape.  We want to assure you that we will take all steps necessary to limit the impact this global health crisis will have on you as colleagues. We understand that remote working is an adjustment to IMSA, and many of us…but we are all in this together as we navigate this evolving course. We also want to encourage you to support your family and care for your own mental and physical health during this time.

  1. Updates as of 3/19/20.
  • I declared a State of Emergency for IMSA, which formally enacts the Emergency Operations Plan (EOP), including the establishment of an Emergency Management Team (EMT) and additional Command Staff positions.
  • Cabinet heads will be in weekly communication with their departments.
  • This FAQ addresses some common questions we have been receiving from colleagues.
  • If you are working remotely, please contact your immediate supervisor to discuss your 30 day remote work plan.
  • Cabinet and the Senior Leadership Team have been using Zoom, a remote conferencing service that combines video conferencing, online meetings, chat, and mobile collaboration. It’s a great way to connect during this isolation period. Download the client or app here so you can join meetings on your laptop or any mobile device.
  • Custodial staff will be on-site this week to spray and deep clean every space in the main academic building.
  • We posted signs on the main entrance indicating how the Academy will maintain a clean and disinfected state and how “essential” employees who need to be on-site during approved days can assist in the process.
  • We placed a copy of this form at every entrance to each room in the building as a reminder.  There will also be a bright orange posting on room entries that show the date these rooms were disinfected. We are asking everyone to sign-in/sign out at each room.
  • At the main entrance to the Academy (the only way in and out of the building), we will have a cart with disposable gloves.  These are to be used by anyone entering the building so that we can minimize any potential contamination of the entry handles/doors.
  • We expect 25+ staff/faculty at the Academy March 23 through March 25. We will disinfect all spaces in the Academy that have been used by anyone through that time.
  • Security will require every person entering the Academy to sign in and out as they enter and leave.
  1. Child Care. I imagine that those of you who have school-age children have an added challenge of what to do with your children homeschooling them while meeting your remote work responsibilities. Here’s a link that might be helpful. https://www.excelerateillinois.com/contact-us-menu. Let’s crowdsource this problem among our IMSA community to determine if, within IMSA, we have the wherewithal to help each other.

Here’s an article about how to talk to young children about the coronavirus.  https://nyti.ms/2J07Rur

  1. Quarantine. I don’t have a crystal ball that allows me to see how long this situation will last. I’m reading and watching many of the same materials you are. My gut tells me that this will last longer than we want or expect. Once we get through this crisis in the next several weeks, I believe we will need to begin to view this disruption as a new normal. The new normal might give us opportunities to envision a new day at IMSA where curriculum can be interdisciplinary, academic counseling virtual, student scaffolds universal, etc. I encourage all of you to engage via WhatsApp, zoom, and other video conferencing platforms to connect “face to face” with others.  We all need to connect.

We’re in this together. You are not alone. Let’s turn our mission statement on ourselves, and instead of thinking of our students when we read our mission statement, let’s consider how we can “ignite and nurture (our own) creative, ethical, scientific minds to advance (our) human condition.”

Finally, be assured that We’re doing our very best to support normal daily activities during this time of uncertainty. We’ll keep you updated with regular Cabinet messages and updates to  IMSA’s COVID-19 Response website as this global health situation evolves. But, we’re not perfect, you may contact me at jtorres@imsa.edu  with any comments, questions, or suggestions.

Together we can.


March 12, 2020

Dear IMSA Faculty,

I am writing to inform you that after your spring break, March 16-20, the IMSA campus will remain closed until Monday, April 13 at 6:00 am.  This includes suspending all campus activities and business travel from March 13-April 13. Beginning March 23, you will be required to work remotely from home.

This will be your timeline moving forward:  March 23-25 will be set aside for online class preparation.  If you need to film labs during this time, access materials on campus, or conduct planning meetings with another colleague, the main academic building will be accessible to you from 8:00 am – 3:00 pm.  Please let me know if you need access to campus for these purposes.  If accessing the building March 23-25, you must use the main east entrance and sign in and out with security at the front desk. If you need access to the main building after these dates, please contact me, so I can work with you. Please have all the plans for remote learning updated to the Google folders in the Faculty Google drive by Wednesday, March 25 at Noon. The plan must clearly articulate if the course is asynchronous, synchronous, a combination of the two, and what frequency. We will send a schedule to students once we have this information.  Remote teaching will start March 26 and take place through April 12.  Grades are still due by March 30.  Please, no exceptions.  Faculty is required to be back onsite full-time on April 13.  The building opens at 6:00 a.m. In person teaching will resume April 14.  However, the outbreak is evolving and this information may change rapidly as warranted.

Many individuals across campus have been planning to be prepared for this extraordinary situation. We have worked in consultation with our health partners, Rush Copley Medical and the Kane County Health Department, as well as state and national public health officials. Our goal is that you will be able to focus on your work, your wellness and your life, and we will provide the support and resources to protect you and our entire community.

We urge members of the IMSA community to heed prevention guidelines, including the practice of social distancing during this global outbreak.  Remain out of congregate settings, avoid mass gatherings and maintain a distance of approximately six feet from others when possible.   Also, as a reminder, if you travel to level 2 or 3 countries as outlined by the CDC, you will be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon your return. If you are traveling to other areas and their level increases to a 2 or 3 per the CDC, you will be required to self-isolate as well. This situation is fluid, and we will continue to monitor it closely.

If you follow the travel guidelines and are still exposed, please self-isolate for 14 days. In this situation, we will not require you to use sick/vacation time. If you have not followed travel guidelines and traveled to a level 2 or level 3 country and risk exposure to COVID-19, we will require you to self-isolate for 14 days, and you will need to use sick/vacation time.

As a reminder, all IMSA travel is canceled until further notice. If you have a specific question concerning your situation, please contact me.

Please continue to check your e-mail daily after 2:00 p.m. from my office and visit IMSA’s Coronavirus Response website for the most up-to-date information and communication as we move forward.

Be well,

Bob


March 12, 2020

Dear IMSA Students and Parents,

I am writing to inform you that after the Residence Halls close at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 13 and students enjoy their spring break, the IMSA campus will continue to be closed through extended weekend April 13. Spring break will be extended through March 25 and online classes will commence on Thursday, March 26 and will continue until the Halls reopen at 3:00 p.m. on Monday, April 13.  Additionally, we are cancelling all events during this closure period.  Students should stay at their permanent home. Onsite teaching is expected to resume April 14.  However, the outbreak is evolving and this information may change rapidly as warranted.

Students will not be permitted to return to campus during this closure period. Please prepare for this extended time away from campus by bringing home essential personal belongings and items necessary to complete coursework remotely. We will also be sending medication home with students when they depart campus. We will share more information about the remote learning format and expectations via email within the next week.

Many individuals across campus have been planning for several weeks to be prepared for this extraordinary situation. We have worked in consultation with our health partners, Rush Copley Medical and the Kane County Health Department, as well as state and national public health officials. Our goal is that you will be able to focus on your studies, your wellness and your life, and we will provide the support and resources to protect you and our entire community.

We urge you to heed prevention guidelines, including the practice of social distancing during this global outbreak.  Remain out of congregate settings, avoid mass gatherings and maintain a distance of approximately six feet from others when possible.  Also, as a reminder, if you travel to level 2 or 3 countries as outlined by the CDC, you will be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon your return. If you are traveling to other areas and their level increases to a 2 or 3 per the CDC, you will be required to self-isolate as well. This situation is fluid, and we will continue to monitor it closely.

It’s critical that everyone regularly checks their IMSA email. More specific information will be sent in the coming days and weeks that will require all to pay close attention and respond. Please take this simple step to support our community. Also, please continue to check IMSA’s Coronavirus Response website for the most up-to-date information and communication as we move forward.


March 12, 2020

Dear Residence Counselors,

I am writing to inform you that after the Residence Halls close at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 13 and students enjoy their spring break, the IMSA campus will continue to be closed through extended weekend April 13. Spring break will be extended through March 25 and online classes will commence on Thursday, March 26 and will continue until the Halls reopen at 3:00 p.m. on Monday, April 13.  Additionally, we are cancelling all events during this closure period.  Students, faculty and staff should stay at their permanent home. Onsite teaching is expected to resume April 14.  However, the outbreak is evolving and this information may change rapidly as warranted.

You and your family may remain in your home, the residence halls, but we are asking that you practice social distancing by not having visitors on campus between March 12 at 8:00 p.m. and April 13 at 6:00 am.  No food delivery shall be allowed into the building during this time.  Also, the main building will be closed during this time. We are working to address challenges that this may pose to you, including how you will receive your mail, and will provide updates as they become available.

Many individuals across campus have been planning for several weeks to be prepared for this extraordinary situation. We have worked in consultation with our health partners, Rush Copley Medical and the Kane County Health Department, as well as state and national public health officials. Our goal is that you will be able to focus on your wellness and your life, and we will provide the support and resources to protect you and our entire community.

We urge members of the IMSA community to heed prevention guidelines, including the practice of social distancing during this global outbreak.  Remain out of congregate settings, avoid mass gatherings and maintain a distance of approximately six feet from others when possible.   Also, as a reminder, if you travel to level 2 or 3 countries as outlined by the CDC, you will be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon your return. If you are traveling to other areas and their level increases to a 2 or 3 per the CDC, you will be required to self-isolate as well. This situation is fluid, and we will continue to monitor it closely.

If you follow the travel guidelines and are still exposed, please self-isolate for 14 days. In this situation, we will not require you to use sick/vacation time. If you have not followed travel guidelines and traveled to a level 2 or level 3 country and risk exposure to COVID-19, we will require you to self-isolate for 14 days, and you will need to use sick/vacation time.

The Coronavirus situation is evolving.  Please continue to check your e-mail and visit IMSA’s Coronavirus Response website for the most up-to-date information and communication as we move forward.


March 12, 2020

Dear Alumni,

As the world navigates a public health crisis, we are, of course, concerned as well about the health and safety of our students, staff, including faculty, and our communities at large.  We have been working in consultation with our health partners, Rush Copley Medical and the Kane County Health Department, as well as state and national public health officials.

Therefore, we are announcing to you that IMSA will close its main academic building on Friday, March 13 at 8:00 p.m. and reopen on Monday, April 13 at 6:00 a.m.  This includes suspending all campus activities and out of state business travel from March 13-April 13. The IMSA campus will be suspending face-to-face course instruction and will shift to online learning beginning March 26 through April 13. Students, faculty and staff will stay at their permanent homes until Monday, April 13.

We urge you, as special members of the IMSA community, to heed prevention guidelines, including the practice of social distancing during this global outbreak.  Remain out of congregated settings, avoid mass gatherings and maintain a distance of approximately six feet from others when possible.

The Coronavirus situation is evolving and this information may change rapidly as warranted.  Please visit IMSA’s Coronavirus Response website for the most up-to-date information and communication as we move forward.


March 12, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

As the world navigates a public health crisis, we are, of course, concerned as well about the health and safety of our students, staff, including faculty, and our communities at large.  Because of this concern, we believe it is imperative to prioritize each of you.  We have worked in consultation with our health partners, Rush Copley Medical and the Kane County Health Department, as well as state and national public health officials. Our goal is that you will be able to focus on your work, your wellness and your life.

Therefore, I am announcing to you that IMSA will close its main academic building on Friday, March 13 at 8:00 p.m. and reopen on Monday, April 13 at 6:00 a.m.  This includes suspending all campus activities and out of state business travel from March 13-April 13. The IMSA campus will be suspending face-to-face course instruction and will shift to online learning beginning March 26 through April 13. Students, faculty and staff will stay at their permanent homes until Monday, April 13.

You are expected to work during this closure, including checking your work voicemail throughout the workday.  Your supervisors will provide additional details regarding your duties. In the event your workload takes less than your regular work day, use “unscheduled closure” to complete your regular workday and work week. If you decide to not work (with supervisor permission) use vacation or sick time as appropriate. You must submit a weekly timesheet.

Supervisors will meet with their teams beginning on March 12 through March 13 to develop a work plan for their employees whose jobs are conducive to working remotely. Supervisors should send remote working plans to their Cabinet Member by March 17.

If you have been assigned a laptop computer, take it home and keep it during the closure (remember your charger), and any other files or documents you may need, so you are able to fulfill remote work arrangements.

All employees, including hourly employees, will be paid their regularly scheduled hours, except those employees using vacation or sick time.  No overtime will be permitted.  Essential employees will be notified by their Cabinet Members of the days they may be required to be on campus.

In light of the closure, the Employee Appreciation event at the Roundhouse on April 9 has been postponed.

We urge members of the IMSA community to heed prevention guidelines, including the practice of social distancing during this global outbreak.  Remain out of congregated settings, avoid mass gatherings and maintain a distance of approximately six feet from others when possible.   Also, as a reminder, if you travel to level 2 or 3 countries as outlined by the CDC, you will be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon your return. If you are traveling to other areas and their level increases to a 2 or 3 per the CDC, you will be required to self-isolate as well. This situation is fluid, and we will continue to monitor it closely.

If you follow personal travel guidelines and are still exposed, please self-isolate for 14 days. In this situation, we will not require you to use sick/vacation time. If you have not followed travel guidelines and traveled to a level 2 or level 3 country and risk exposure to COVID-19, we will require you to self-isolate for 14 days, but you will need to use sick/vacation time.

The Coronavirus situation is evolving and this information may change rapidly as warranted.  Please continue to check your e-mail, pay close attention to communication from your supervisor, and visit IMSA’s Coronavirus Response website for the most up-to-date information and communication as we move forward.

Thank you for your flexibility and commitment to the needs of the Academy during this unprecedented crisis.


March 10, 2020

Dear Students and Parents,

With the residence halls closing this Friday, March 13 at 5:00 p.m. for Spring Break, we wanted to provide you with updated information on the steps we are taking to limit visitors in the residence halls in response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) and detail the accommodations we are making for Spring Break check out.

  1. All visitors including parents must sign in and sign out in the resident counselor (RC) office any time they enter the residence hall. This includes during check out for Spring Break and could result in Spring Break check out taking a little longer than usual.
  2. Please limit the number of people entering the building to check out your student for Spring Break to one person.
  3. For Spring Break check out, we will allow students to sign out without a parent coming into the building if these steps are followed by the student and parent:
  4. Parent parks their vehicle outside of their student’s residence hall.
  5. Parent calls the RC office phone to inform the RCs that they have arrived to pick up their student.
  6. The RC will go through the standard check-out process with the student.
  7. The RC will come to the exterior door of the hall to ensure that your student is leaving with you. Please step out of your vehicle so the RC can verify your identity.
  8. If someone other than a parent is picking up your student, they will need to call the RC office to be let into the hall and present a form of identification for verification. The RCs will have that individual sign in and will check their identification before letting your student depart. Please remember to call either the Student Life Office or the RC Office to give permissions prior to Friday to make check-outs go as smooth as possible.

With these amended practices, you continue to be able to enter the hall to help your student move items or to use the restroom. However, you will need to sign in with an RC if that is the case.

We thank you in advance for your cooperation with this change as we continue to take active steps to keep our campus community safe and healthy during the COVID-19 outbreak. We will continue taking steps to limit possible exposure to COVID-19 on campus, including asking alumni to refrain from visiting campus at this time and moving large group meetings off site. Please look for additional communication by Friday, March 13 with more up to date information regarding the precautions IMSA is taking in response to COVID-19 and continue visiting our COVID-19 Response page on the IMSA website for the most up to date communication.


March 10, 2020

Dear Alumni,

Thank you for being such a valuable part of the IMSA fabric. We appreciate your support of the happenings on IMSA’s campus, unfortunately due to Coronavirus (COVID-19), IMSA is restricting access to the IMSA campus to all outside visitors from now until April 10, 2020.

This restriction follows a recommendation from our health partner, Rush Copley Medical Center, and is a precautionary measure to keep IMSA students, staff and faculty, safe and healthy in these uncertain times.There are no cases of Coronavirus at IMSA at this time and we are restricting all visitors to campus out of an abundance of caution.

While the timing of this restriction going into place is not ideal, this includes all Clash of the Halls activities including the Pep Rally scheduled for tomorrow evening (3/12). We appreciate your cooperation in adhering to this restriction.

Throughout this evolving situation, all updates and communication will be posted on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) page on the IMSA website. If there is an additional update specific to our Alumni, an email will be sent.

The point of contact established for communication about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the IMSA response is Ms. Katie Berger, Chief Student Affairs Officer.


March 10, 2020

Dear IMSA Colleagues,

Thank you to all who attended today’s town hall meeting. Included in this email, please find many of the updates shared today. Please also remember that you can find information communicated by IMSA as well as the CDC, IDPH, and the recommendations of our health partners, Rush Copley Medical Center and the Kane County Health Department, on the IMSA website.

If you have not submitted the form to indicate your travel plans during March, please do so today. Please note that all employees should complete this form, even if you do not have any travel plans. If your travel plans change, please alert your Cabinet supervisor. Reminder – if you travel to level 2 or 3 countries as outlined by the CDC, you will be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon your return. If you are traveling to other areas and their level increases to a 2 or 3 per the CDC, you will be required to self-isolate as well. This situation is fluid, and we will continue to monitor it closely.

If you follow the travel guidelines and are still exposed, please self-isolate for 14 days. In this situation, we will not require you to use sick/vacation time. If you have not followed travel guidelines and traveled to a level 2 or level 3 country and risk exposure to COVID-19, we will require you to self-isolate for 14 days, and you will need to use sick/vacation time.

Regardless of where your exposure occurred – if you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms, please have them isolate, put on a mask (if available), and contact the local health department for instructions on testing.

With the Governor of Illinois declaring a state of emergency yesterday and in conjunction with increased diagnoses in the State, Rush Copley is preparing for a surge in COVID-19. In preparation, IMSA is canceling off-campus travel for SIR and internships tomorrow (3/11). We are reviewing upcoming travel plans for all students and staff to determine any restrictions. We are creating plans for temporary or extended closures if the situation at IMSA changes. We will be more vigilant in tracking all visitors in the main building and the residence halls. We are also evaluating hosting (and attendance) at large gatherings from now until the end of the school year.

Next steps:

Please be diligent in washing your hands. Bring your computer and charger home with you daily. Be sure your co-workers have updated cell phone number and contact information and that you have downloaded the LiveSafe App. Remain flexible as this is an evolving situation, and we are working to keep IMSA students and staff, including faculty, safe and healthy in these uncertain times.

Many thanks for your continued cooperation and flexibility.


March 5, 2020

Dear IMSA Faculty and Staff,

On behalf of Dr. Torres, we are sending this communication to ensure IMSA faculty and staff are receiving timely updates regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19), which is a rapidly changing, global health issue. Based on the most recent guidance from the CDC and our health partners, Rush Copley Medical Center and the Kane County Health Department, IMSA is implementing the following measures to prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19 into the IMSA community in light of the upcoming Spring Break travel season:

Faculty/Staff traveling out of state and/or out of country. IMSA is collecting travel information from faculty/staff traveling out of state and/or out of country. Faculty/staff are required to provide March 2020 travel plans via this link by end of day, Monday, March 9, 2020. For faculty/staff traveling out of the country, we strongly encourage you to continue to check the CDC travel website for entry and exit control measures and even quarantine measures with little notice.

Faculty/staff traveling to a CDC warning Level 2 or Level 3 country. To slow the spread of COVID-19 into the United States, the CDC has recommended avoiding nonessential travel to warning level 2 and 3 countries which currently include China, South Korea, Iran, Italy and Japan. IMSA is implementing precautions regarding faculty/staff who opt to travel to countries affected by COVID-19. Until further notice, faculty/staff who travel to a CDC warning level 2 or 3 country will be required to stay home for a period of 14 days from the time they left the area. If faculty/staff members must self-isolate due to potential exposure, they will be required to work remotely. If their job duties do not align with remote work, they should connect with their supervisor on what is required.

For the most current, up-to-date list of warning Level 2 and 3 countries, visit CDC’s Information for Travel.

We will continue to keep the IMSA community updated as additional information and guidance from health officials becomes available.


March 5, 2020

Dear Students and Parents,

The coronavirus (COVID-19) is a rapidly changing, global health issue. Based on the most recent guidance from the CDC and our health partners, Rush Copley Medical Center and the Kane County Health Department, IMSA is implementing the following measures to prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19 into the IMSA community in light of the upcoming Spring Break travel season:

Students traveling out of state and/or out of country. IMSA is collecting travel information from students traveling out of state and/or out of country.  Beginning today, Thursday, March 5, 2020, students are required to provide March 2020 travel plans to their RC at 10 check.  We will follow up with anyone not present (i.e: off campus) tomorrow. For IMSA families traveling out of the country, we strongly encourage you to continue to check the CDC travel website for entry and exit control measures and even quarantine measures with little notice.

Students traveling to a CDC warning Level 2 or Level 3 country. To slow the spread of COVID-19 into the United States, the CDC has recommended avoiding nonessential travel to warning level 2 and 3 countries which currently include China, South Korea, Iran, Italy and Japan. IMSA is implementing precautions regarding students who are traveling to countries affected by COVID-19. Until further notice, students who travel to a CDC warning level 2 or 3 country will be required to stay home for a period of 14 days from the time they left the area. After returning to campus, students without symptoms will be permitted 14 days to make up coursework, with more time being allowed if a student does exhibit symptoms. For the most current, up-to-date list of warning Level 2 and 3 countries, visit CDC’s Information for Travel.

We will continue to keep the IMSA community updated as additional information and guidance from health officials becomes available. Please visit IMSA’s Coronavirus Response website for prevention tips, resources and communications.


March 3, 2020

Since December 2019, IMSA has been actively monitoring the novel Coronavirus (“COVID-19”) outbreak. We are staying up to date on the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and continue to be proactive in implementing measures to keep our community safe.

At this time, there are still no confirmed cases of coronavirus at the IMSA.
IMSA Measures
  • IMSA continues to consult with its healthcare partners, Rush Copley and the Kane County Health Department, to monitor developments around the coronavirus and safeguard the health of our community.
  • IMSA maintenance crews have increased cleaning and disinfecting of hard and soft surfaces and restrooms in the main academic building and residence halls using a CDC recommended peroxide based solution.
  • On the recommendation of our health partners, we have reminded anyone who is ill or thinks they may be ill to stay home from class and from work and seek medical care, as necessary.
  • IMSA’s Leadership Team is coordinating campus resources, responses and communications.
  • We have sent several campus wide communications with updates and created this Coronavirus Response web page so that information is readily available.
We continue to urge all members of our community to practice preventative actions to help stop the spread of germs. Please look for further updates this week with regard to Spring Break travel advisories and IMSA response protocols.

January 31, 2020

The IMSA Administration and IMSA Health Office staff, in continued conversations with the Kane County Health Department (KCHD), are passing along the following recommendations that were confirmed today regarding the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) :

  • Incubation period is up to 14 days.
  • There is a quarantine for anyone traveling from Wuhan.
  • People are not to be excluded from school or events unless they are symptomatic.
  • If anyone has a fever they need to stay home and contact their health care provider.
  • The Center for Disease Control does not recommend using a mask.

The best way to prevent infection is to take precautions to avoid exposure to the virus, which are similar to the precautions you would take to avoid the flu. The following everyday action will help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

We will continue to monitor the situation and follow KCHD recommendations. If you have any further questions or concerns, please direct them to either Dr. Bob Hernandez (hernandi@imsa.edu) or Ms. Katie Berger (kberger@imsa.edu).