Interlochen Arts Academy - Fall Re-Entry Plan

  • Interlochen Center for the Arts President Trey Devey describes the Arts Academy Fall Re-Entry Plan

Return to Campus: Student Guide

Fall 2020 Academy Arrival Instructions

COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan

Academy Calendar 2020-21

The Interlochen Board of Trustees has approved a resolution to re-open campus for fall 2020, ensuring we do so with the utmost consideration for the safety and well being of our students and employees. This plan was developed in coordination with the COVID-19 Task Force and under the leadership of the Campus Health Task Force.

Our Campus Health Task Force, which includes representatives from Executive Leadership, Education, Health Services, Facilities, Campus Safety, Student Affairs, and Human Resources, was formed on April 6 to guide our protocols and plans for the health and safety of the Interlochen community in response to the COVID-19 virus.

Campus Health Task Force Purpose

  • Monitor updates and guidance from federal, state and county government authorities
  • Consult professional educational associations
  • Explore processes to support a healthy environment for students upon their return in the fall
  • Develop a plan to transition students back to campus
  • Foster psychological comfort
  • Share protocols with communications and admissions teams in order to inform our students and families

Campus Health Task Force Guiding Principles

  • Behavior and commitment: Commit to maintain healthy campus practices
  • Prevention and monitoring: Tightly control campus access with appropriate screenings and safeguards
  • Precaution and protection: Expand access and resources of Health Services; exercise appropriate precautions

Campus Health Task Force Implementation Plan

  • Communicate and enforce stringent health protocols and sanitization standards
  • Establish a contained campus
  • Develop an adjusted and modular academic calendar

I.  Stringent Health Protocols and Sanitization Standards 
To re-open campus for students and employees, it is necessary to ensure the highest health standards on campus. Interlochen Arts Academy has an on-campus Health Services facility directed by an experienced registered nurse, and staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by licensed nurses. Interlochen’s Chief Medical Advisor is a nurse practitioner and contagious disease specialist. She is a member of the institution’s Senior Management Team—informing and guiding our Campus Health Task Force.

Health Protocols:

  • COVID-19 testing of all students and employees returning to campus, including during intake points (see below); COVID-19 testing of anyone who exhibits symptoms; careful contact tracing and isolation
  • COVID-19 training for all students and employees, emphasizing required behaviors and commitments to personal and community health
  • Implementing appropriate social distancing for all indoor and outdoor spaces and facilities
  • Establishing mask protocols for all students and employees
  • Daily health screening and temperature checks for all students and employees

Additional Health Precautions:

Facility Optimization:

  • Reorganized facilities in adherence to sanitization and social distancing requirements
  • Routine and rigorous cleaning and sanitization of facilities
  • Isolated spaces for students who have been exposed to those who test positive
  • Quarantined spaces in Health Services should any student test positive for COVID-19

II.  Contained Campus
To help protect our students this upcoming academic year, we will establish a “contained campus” with access restricted solely to our community.

Our “contained campus” will:

  • Restrict families from visiting students while school is in session (we will webcast as many student artistic events as possible)
  • Cancel all public events, conferences, reunions, and external meetings 
  • Reduce administrative employees on campus by at least 25% through telework
  • Route admittance to campus through Interlochen's main gate for required health screenings and temperature checks

We will regularly review these policies as new information, treatments, and vaccines become available.

Student Intake Points
To reduce the potential communal impact of returning to campus, the number of “intake points” for students has been minimized to TWO major intake points this year: (1) the start of the Fall semester and the (2) the start of Spring semester, following Winter Break. To minimize communal impact, there will be no Thanksgiving and no spring break off campus and Parent and Family Weekend will be hosted virtually. We plan to introduce several new ways for families to stay connected throughout the school year.

III.  Adjusted and Modular Academy Calendar
The academic calendar for the 2020-21 Academy school year has been adjusted to maximize the opportunity for in-person learning—especially for early fall semester classes to leverage outdoor venues for increased physical distancing—and to decrease the student time on campus during the traditional flu season in Michigan, which based on CDC data, is most prevalent in January and February. The total number of instructional days in the school year will remain the same.

During the Extended Winter Break (see below), students will have access to our Academic & College Counseling staff as well as other institutional resources. 

Below is the adjusted and modular calendar for the IAA 2020-2021 school year:

  • Aug. 10-13: Student Arrivals

    Student Arrival Schedule:

    Monday, August 10

    Authorized Welcome Wagon Students
    and Authorized Student Leaders Arrive
    Day students visit campus for COVID-19 testing

    Tuesday, August 11 
    New International Students Arrive

    Tuesday, August 11 - 
    Thursday, August 13  
    All Remaining Boarding Students Arrive

    Thursday, August 13  
    Day Students Arrive

    Thursday, August 13 - 
    Sunday, August 16
    Orientation, Arts, and Community Activities

  • Aug. 14: Orientation and Opening Convocation
  • Aug. 17: Classes begin on campus
  • Sept. 25-26: Fall Virtual Family Weekend
  • Nov. 26-27: On-campus Thanksgiving holiday celebration (no classes) - students may not travel off campus
  • Dec. 18: Last class day before Extended Winter Break
  • Feb. 15: Classes resume on campus
  • March 18-19: Spring Virtual Family Weekend
  • May 25: Last Day of Classes
  • May 26-28: Festival
  • May 29: Graduation

This calendar incorporates a modular approach to learning, so that artistic and academic work are paced appropriately, with monthly down cycles for students to compensate for the lack of off-campus breaks. This also provides clear cycles in educational work, to minimize disruption should we need to shift to remote learning at any time.

This plan is subject to ongoing developments to the COVID-19 situation. We will update this page as new information becomes available. 

Campus Health Task Force

Camille Colatosti, Provost (Co-Chair)
Pat Kessel, Vice President, Finance and Operations (Co-Chair)
Nancy Giffels, FNP, RN, Health Care Provider
Eric Gray, Executive Director, Facilities and Maintenance
Corey Hill, Director of Health Services
Katie Luellen, Executive Dean, Enrollment Management
Joseph McCarthy, Director, Campus Safety
Tifini McClyde, Associate Vice President, Human Resources
Kristina Nichols, Vice Provost, Education Operations
Jennifer Wesling, Dean of Students

COVID-19 Task Force

Trey Devey, President (Chair)
John Bogley, Vice President, Philanthropy
Camille Colatosti, Provost
Casey Cowell*
Mohamed El-Erian*
Saul Goldstein*
Sarah Harding*
Steve Hayden*
Jeff Jacobs*
Pat Kessel, Vice President, Finance and Operations
Katharine Laidlaw, Vice President, Strategic Communications and Engagement
Tifini McClyde, Associate Vice President, Human Resources
Elaine Mischler*
William Nelson*
Barrett Rollins*
Kurt Wilder*
Glynn Williams*

*denotes Member of the Interlochen Board of Trustees

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Will the fall semester be on campus?
Yes, school will be on campus with classes beginning August 17 and students arriving August 9-14. Please review the Adjusted and Modular Academy Calendar above.

Will you be enforcing face masks and social distancing requirements?
Yes. We follow all recommended and required CDC guidelines. Students will be required to bring at least five (5) cloth face coverings/masks to be worn as needed while on campus. All campus spaces will be reorganized to meet social distancing requirements.

I have a specific health issue that I am concerned about, who should I contact?
Our Admission team can point you to the correct contact person in Health Services. Email

What are the details of the health screening process?
Each day anyone entering campus, including all employees and day students, will complete a health screening that includes important health questions and temperature readings. All boarding students will complete a health screening in their residence halls each morning.

Will students be allowed to go off campus?
This year, for the safety of all, we will have a contained campus. Faculty and staff will also be prohibited from traveling.

Will there be flights available to and from the Traverse City airport?
The Cherry Capital Airport (TVC) is operational and has daily flights.

When a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, will it be required that all students are vaccinated?

Are you requiring regular vaccines (chicken pox, measles, etc)? Are there exceptions?
We require vaccines including an annual influenza vaccine. If you have a specific concern, reach out to

Can I defer my admission to the spring semester (second semester)?
We do not allow deferrals.

I am an international student and am concerned about my visa processing and travel.
We understand and are monitoring the situation carefully. Contact our International Student Advisors at to discuss your situation.