One of the advantages of being a small learner-driven community is our ability to adapt to change. Here is our plan for addressing COVID19 for the 2020-2021 school year.


The safety of EMA Panthers, guides, and families is paramount.  The below-listed policies and procedures are designed to provide clear expectations for guides, learners, and parents.  Our plan is informed by the following:  CDC, NCDHHS (NC Department of Health and Human Services), our governor, as well as the scheduled series of conversations with EMA parents throughout the summer.  Like most organizations, public and private, we will always be working to keep COVID-19 out of EMA.  Recognizing that there is no guarantee, these policies and procedures will help us minimize the risk of transmission of any illness.  Empowered Minds Academy cannot in any way warrant that COVID-19, or any other virus, or infection, will not occur at EMA.


Families will commit to their family’s learning choice each session. Each sessions lasts 5 to 6 weeks.

  • Full-time learning in-person
  • Full-time learning at home
  • Hybrid: Part-time learning at home for core skills and part-time learning in-person


Limit of 10 for Studio Enrollment:  At the time of publishing, 2 openings remain in our Spark Studio (ages 5-6);  4 openings remain in our Discovery (ES) Studio, and 6 in our Journey (MS) Studio.


Masks:  All guides and learners will be required to wear masks indoors as well as in outdoor situations that would make it difficult to maintain social distance.


Touchless Filtered Water Dispenser:  Learners will refill their water bottles without pressing a shared button.


Contactless Temperature Checks at Drop-Off:  At drop-off, each parent (because children may be asymptomatic and present zero symptoms) and their child/ren will have their temperature taken. Anyone with a temperature at or above 100 degrees will be invited to stay in their vehicle, get tested, inform EMA’s Head of School, and self quarantine.


Separate Work and Project Stations:  When indoors, learners will be given their own individual work/project stations.  Any shared studio equipment and materials will be thoroughly sanitized before given to another learner for use.


Outdoor “Studio”:  We’ll be using outside spaces as an extension of the studios.  Families of Spark Panthers can expect their child to spend up to half of the day outside.


Illness Plan:  If a learner becomes sick, the learner will be isolated until they can return home.  We will notify all families immediately.  Families are asked to contact their doctor and report to the required agencies for contact tracing.


Visitors:  For now, we will limit EMA visits from parents/caregivers to Exhibition days only.  If you need to drop-off/pick-up your child outside of normal hours, we ask that you make arrangements for us to meet you outside at your car.


No Extended Day Program:  To allow sufficient time to deep clean the studios at the end of each day, our Extended Day Program is very limited.


The healthy and safety of our guides, learners, and families is of utmost priority. Daily screening will be conducted of the following symptoms upon arrival to campus:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Weakness
  • Muscle pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of taste
  • Loss of smell
  • Chills
  • Known close contact with a person who is lab-confirmed to have COVID-19

A person with new or worsening signs or symptoms listed above will not be allowed to return to EMA until:

  • In the case of a lab-confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis, the individual may return to EMA when all four of the following criteria are met: at least 3 full EMA days have passed since recovery (resolution of fever without the use of fever reducing medication); and the individual has improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and at least 14 days have passed since symptoms first appeared; and a note from physician for return to EMA.
  • In the case of an individual who has symptoms that could be COVID-19, that individual may not return until tested for COVID-19 to confirm a negative test. The individual may not return to EMA until the individual has completed the same four step criteria above (if positive); or (below if negative)
  • If the individual has symptoms that could be COVID-19 and they wish to return to EMA, the individual must obtain a medical professional’s note clearing the individual for return based on an alternative diagnosis – regardless, the requirement to stay away from EMA for at least 3 full EMA days after recovery (resolution of fever with the use of fever reducing medication) will still be enforced.


  • Door handles, light switches, toilets and sinks, and all surfaces that are frequently touched will be sanitized daily at the end of the day.
  • Routine cleaning will happen over the weekend (to include dusting, mopping, vacuuming, etc).


  • During outdoor time staff will clean tabletops, door handles, and other surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Hand sanitizer will be placed at multiple places throughout the building, including both entrances.


  • Tables will be wiped down before and after lunch and snack.

  • Staff and students will wash hands before and after eating lunch or snack.

  • Weather permitting, we will eat outside on picnic blankets and tables.


Children should only bring their lunch and a water bottle to EMA.


  • No backpacks, personal comfort items (loveys), or show and tell items may be brought to EMA.

  • Water bottles will be sent home daily to be washed.


At the time of publishing, we plan to meet in-person. Should we move back to Phase 1 or Stay at Home, we’ll transition to remote leanring, which involves the following:


  • Daily Zoom meetings 2-3 times a day at 15-minutes each.

  • Option to pick-up quest/hands-on learning materials from EMA on a weekly basis

  • Zoom meetings with squad leadership, running partners (especially for MS and ES Studios) plus Guide (primarily for Spark Studio), as needed.


Should we learn of a confirmed case in our community, we will close for 3 days to conduct a thorough cleaning of our studios. Parents may choose to keep their child(ren) home for longer; in those cases, we will work with you on a learn-from-home plan.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email


Empowered Minds Academy: An Acton Academy Affiliate ©️ 2021