Dear Parents,
New Elementary Principal Update
I am happy to inform the community that Doctor Charles (Charlie) Schlegel, will be joining our community next year as Elementary School Principal. Dr. Schlegel will be bringing a wealth of experience in school leadership and education to build upon the many years of dedication and success under the leadership of Paola Torres de Pereira. A special thanks to everyone who were part of the selection process for this important role in our school.
Strategic Planning – Be Part of the Process - February 14
On behalf of the Board of Directors I would like to extend an invitation to all parents from IMAGINE and Academia Cotopaxi to participate in a “World Cafe” next Friday, February. 14. This will be an informal meeting of minds of students, faculty and parents to discuss where we are and where we are going as a school and an essential part of our Strategic Planning process.    
Everything, it seems, can be sensationalized, commoditized and embellished with the help of formal and social media, including illness. Without minimizing the current Coronavirus situation, we must not yield to hysteria or worse. In 2009, I was a director of a school similar to AC in Monterrey, Mexico. The H1N1 swine flu, which started in Mexico forced closure of all schools across the nation. In total over 280.000 people died around the world. In 2013 the H7N9 Bird Flu raised similar concern at the school where I worked, in China. Schools also dealt with the 2003 SARS outbreak, which was also declared a pandemic. We had to adapt our operations accordingly, and no one got sick. In all cases, schools did what they had to do, based on guidelines and recommendations from official health and education authorities.
All these “big name”, news-worthy, viruses of the last 50 years combined do not come close to the effect of one annual flu season. Unfortunately, up to 650.000 people die each flu season, twice as many as all big news viruses since 1967 combined, including Ebola. Health experts around the world take situations like Coronavirus EXTREMELY seriously. Coronavirus is already impacting the global economy in addition to the lives of millions of people. The 1919 H1N1 Spanish Flu claimed 50 million lives. Since 1919 modern technology helps us detect and combat viruses much better, however, intercontinental flights and a globalized economy accelerate dispersion of illnesses. On top of it all, modern media increases the risk of misinformation and panic. As stated in last week’s Newsletter, please refer only to official and verified news sources, not social media, for accurate information on this and any other important health issue.
Protective precautions for the flu are what we should take for all viruses. Please emphasize and model common hygiene precautions with your children; not sharing food or drinks, thoroughly washing one’s hands, covering one’s mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing, avoiding touching the face, eyes and mouth, washing one’s hands again and again. Anyone who appears sick is referred to our school doctors for examination and perhaps sent home. The most important support parents can give is to NOT SEND SICK children to school. Coronavirus is closely monitored by Ecuadorian health and education authorities who advise schools what to do.
In our community, we have students from around the world. Some of these can easily become targets of xenophobia and acts of exclusion, the opposite of our mission. Emphasizing hygiene, having sick individuals referred for medical attention, staying accurately informed, and in no way tolerating that any child or adult is ostracized due to ethnicity, is our role as educators. The 2009 Swine Flu started in Mexico. The 1919 Spanish flu most likely began in Europe or the US. Just as we would not want to stigmatize people from Spain or Mexico we do not want to stigmatize anyone today. Medical experts give us tools to protect people from physical illness. Our role as educators and a school is to protect everyone from the plagues of discrimination, prejudice and racism.