Arts Academy Fall 2021 COVID-19 Plan

Arts Academy in the Fall

Interlochen Arts Academy will open this fall for in-person classes. Student arrivals are scheduled for August 26 and 27, 2021. Classes begin on Monday, August 30. 

Beginning in fall 2021, we will require all members of our Academy community including faculty, staff and students, to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. With this requirement in place1, we believe we will be able to lift or reduce many of our pandemic-related restrictions, and resume many pre-pandemic activities. 

Immunization Requirement

As previously communicated to Academy families and the Interlochen community, all members of our community must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before coming to campus. This includes all students, faculty, and staff. Acceptable vaccines include any approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) or U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), including Pfizer (for all students), and Moderna or Johnson & Johnson (for those 18 and over). Please plan accordingly: Students must be fully vaccinated to attend the Academy, ensuring they have completed their vaccine regimen at least 2 weeks prior to their arrival on campus. (You are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after receiving the second Pfizer or Moderna dose, or 2 weeks after receiving the Johnson & Johnson single dose.)  Note: Should the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) change the definition of “fully vaccinated,” i.e., to include booster shots or additional protocols, these will be required as well. 

Documents Accepted As Evidence Of Immunization

We require proof of vaccination. Documents may be sent to, or submitted as part of a student’s health record via the Education Community. The following documents will be accepted as evidence of a student’s immunization history: 

  1. An official school record from any school; 
  2. A record from MCIR; 
  3. A record from a county health department; 
  4. A record from a health care provider; or 
  5. A waiver form signed by:
    1. a physician for medical contraindication; or 
    2. a parent for all non-medical objections. 
Immunization Waivers 
  1. To request a medical or non-medical waiver for the COVID-19 vaccine, please submit the form located here.
  2. For information on all other vaccinations required for students attending school in Michigan, see here.

Parents of students who have submitted waivers should be advised that in the event of an outbreak of any communicable disease prevented by immunizations, unvaccinated students may be restricted from attending classes and participating in activities to avoid potential exposure. 

International Students

Any COVID-19 vaccine approved by the WHO will satisfy our vaccination requirements.

We are aware that vaccine availability may be limited in some countries. In the U.S., vaccine supply is plentiful. We encourage all unvaccinated international students to arrive in the U.S. in advance of the school year to begin the vaccination process at any area pharmacy. Unfortunately, Interlochen is not able to provide on-campus housing for this purpose, although on-campus hotel spaces may be available for students and families.

 International students may reach out to with any questions and should expect updates from International Student Services Manager Kalyn Rabuse.

Faculty And Staff

Faculty and staff with questions should reach out to Human Resources with any questions about our policies.

Life On Campus

With the vast majority of our community vaccinated, we believe that we can return to pre-pandemic activities with confidence. Additionally, Grand Traverse County, and our neighboring Leelanau County, maintain the highest vaccination rates in the state. With a fully vaccinated community and a highly vaccinated local population, we anticipate hosting live performances, relaxing campus restrictions, and minimal social distancing requirements. 

Wellness Checks

We ask students to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms each day, beginning 14 days before their arrival on campus.

COVID-19 Testing

All students with an approved vaccination waiver are required to arrive on campus with a confirmed negative COVID-19 test, taken within the past 72 hours. Students who are not vaccinated will also be tested upon arrival before entering any Interlochen buildings and regularly thereafter. This testing will occur on campus at no cost to families. We will continue to offer symptom-based COVID-19 testing on campus, as well as tests required for travel, again at no additional cost to families. 


For the start of the Academy year, we are implementing an indoor masking policy. Students must be masked while in all transportation vehicles and inside any building. Students may be unmasked in their residence hall room with the door closed, and while seated and eating. Masks are not required when outside, but are always an option. Please be sure to bring 7-10 washable masks with you, or a supply of disposable masks.

Remaining Diligent

Interlochen’s COVID-19 Task Force will monitor the status of the pandemic, including COVID-19 variants, and will adjust campus policies as needed. We will continue to follow all recommendations from the CDC, and state and local public health officials, while adhering to any requirements imposed by the state of Michigan. 

Campus Pledge

We ask all members of our community to adhere to our campus pledge: To make smart choices to protect yourself, protect others, and to protect our community.

We have mandated vaccination for all students and employees. With the allowed medical and non-medical waivers, more than 94% of those on campus are fully vaccinated.