At Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth, everything we do is built on a foundation of respect – respect for ourselves, for one another, for the work that we do and for the space that we share. We strive to create an educational environment that is professional, ethical, and supportive of the growth of our students, both as artists and as community members. To that end, we ask that students and families review our Code of Conduct (see below) prior to enrollment.

We also prioritize safety for all members of the BAAY community. See our policies and protocols, particularly around the COVID-19 pandemic, by clicking on the pertinent headings below to read our various practices and expectations for staff, students, families, volunteers, and audience members.

COVID Protocols for In-Person Programs

COVID-19 Protocols for In-Person Programs

(Revised 8/2021)

Wear a mask at all times

Note for staff: Masks are required in all common areas (lobby, kitchen, hallway, bathrooms). If you are alone in the theatre or the office, you can remove your mask. However, if you are ever sharing space with another student or staff member, masks must be worn by all individuals.

Wash hands regularly

Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water often, especially after touching items or surfaces others may have handled. Hand sanitizing stations are also located throughout the building.

No sharing food or drink

In order to minimize contact, students and staff should not share food or drink. Staff should remind students to not move about the space when eating or drinking.

Stay home if you are sick

Please stay home if you are sick or experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, such as fever (100.4° F or higher), chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, sore throat, nasal congestion, runny nose, recent loss of taste or smell, muscle or body aches, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or unusual fatigue. A student who had a fever is required to show a negative COVID-19 test before returning to class.

Limited occupancy

Classes will be limited to 12 students. Production courses will be limited to 40 students (max of 20 per cast) and multiple spaces will be utilized throughout the building to allow for proper social distancing. Be sure to stagger entering and exiting the building to avoid crowding at the doorways. Please allow others to fully enter or exit the building before proceeding.

Temperature checks and contact tracing

Staff members will take the temperature of each student at the door as they enter. BAAY will investigate all COVID-19 cases with contact tracing and appropriate groups will be notified.

COVID Protocols for Indoor Performances

COVID-19 Protocols for Indoor Performances

(Revised 10/2021)


Vaccination cards or photos of card with ID


Current negative COVID test with ID (within 72 hours)

Note: Unvaccinated children under 12 do not need a negative COVID test for entry.

The BAAY team asks our audience members to follow these guidelines in an effort to limit community spread and protect our students from COVID-19. These guidelines are based on precedent set by other local theatres (Mount Baker Theatre, Sylvia Center for the Arts, and Bellingham Theatre Guild), as well as information provided by the CDC and WA State Health Department. We want every family member to have an opportunity to see their loved ones on stage, and hope that these guidelines are received with understanding as student safety is our first priority.

If you have any questions or concerns about these guidelines, please email info@baay.org. We can’t wait to see you at the theatre!

Student and Community Code of Conduct

Student and Community Code of Conduct

(Revised 10/2021)

At BAAY, everything we do is built on a foundation of respect – respect for ourselves, for one another, for the work that we do and for the space that we share. We strive to create an educational environment that is professional, ethical, and supportive of the growth of our students, both as artists and as community members. To that end, we ask that students and families review our Code of Conduct prior to enrollment. 

For Students

We expect that students will approach their work at BAAY with dedication and focus, as well as with respect for staff and for their fellow students. Students at BAAY are expected to:

  • Attend all scheduled classes and rehearsals, unless by prior arrangement with program staff
  • Be on time 
  • Come to class prepared and ready to focus
  • Dress appropriately
  • Treat one another and staff with courtesy and respect, both at BAAY and outside 
  • Respect one another’s personal space and physical boundaries
  • Clean up after themselves
  • Look for opportunities to support and encourage their peers
  • Remain on campus except by written parental permission and express consent of the lead instructor or stage manager

For Staff, Parents, Caregivers & Volunteers

Children learn first by emulating the adults around them. As educators, we ask that everyone in the BAAY community strive to model behavior that fosters a culture of integrity, appreciation and mutual respect.

Disciplinary Policy

We believe that disciplinary issues can be an opportunity for growth and increased understanding. Our goal is to address and resolve disruptive behavior swiftly and fairly, through clear, direct, open and supportive communication with students and, when appropriate, their families.

  • In most instances, disruptive behavior will be addressed by the staff member immediately responsible for the student (e.g. Stage Manager, Director). Persistent or serious violations may be referred to the Artistic Director.
  • Parents and volunteers may be helpful by reporting any potentially disruptive behavior to appropriate BAAY staff. Please refrain from taking disciplinary action with any BAAY student other than your own child.
  • In instances where constructive resolution is not possible, BAAY reserves the right to terminate or exclude anyone from our programs and facility for violating our Code of Conduct, without notice or warnings.

We welcome your feedback about BAAY’s Student and Community Code of Conduct.  Please address questions, comments or concerns to our Artistic Director Olivia Theilemann, olivia@baay.org.

Student Rights and Responsibilities

My Rights:

  • I have the right to enjoy my time at BAAY and to be treated with compassion in this learning environment.
  • I have the right to express myself in this space. No one will treat me unfairly because of any aspect of my unique self. This might include: my physical appearance, gender identity, where I am from, my religion, or any disability I might have.
  • I have the right to experience safety in this learning environment.
  • I have the right to have my property be safe in this space.
  • I have the right to hear and be heard in this learning environment. This means no one will compete with me when I have ‘the floor’ or otherwise disturb me.

My Responsibilities:

  • I have the responsibility to treat others with compassion. I will not laugh at others, tease others, or intentionally hurt others’ feelings. 
  • I have the responsibility to respect others as individuals and treat others fairly.
  • I have the responsibility to make the learning environment safe. I will move my body in ways that keep those around me safe.
  • I have the responsibility to respect others’ property. I will not steal or intentionally destroy their property.
  • I have the responsibility to listen to others. I will not raise my voice to talk over others or otherwise disturb those who have ‘the floor.’
  • I have the responsibility to respect the facility and theatre as a learning environment. I will clean up after myself.


Teaching Philosophy

Teaching Philosophy

(Revised 10/2021)

BAAY’s mission is to enrich the lives of children through the exploration of the arts.

Through our programs, we create community, and teach confidence, character, and creativity.


  • We collaborate with our students about their learning.
  • We greet students when they enter the classroom.
  • We place emphasis on process over product.
  • We address students as students first and children second.
  • We acknowledge that children learn by modeling, and that they pay attention to what we do, as well as what we say.
  • We use questions to invite students to introspect and to express themselves.
  • We do not judge students.
  • We offer students experiences of both structure and freedom.
  • We approach children as whole human beings, and we honor ALL their feelings while helping channel their expression into positive outcomes.
  • We use appreciation to direct behavior towards positive actions rather than away from negative expressions.
  • We teach our students how to appreciate one another, and provide the structure for them to do so at every class meeting.
Child Safety Policy and Procedures

Child Safety Policy and Procedures

(Revised 10/2021)


This document presents the policies and procedures that BAAY follows to ensure our strong commitment to child safety and maintenance of a child safe and child friendly environment. It reflects our commitment to provide a safe environment, where every person has the right to be treated with respect and is safe and protected from harm.


For purposes of this policy, the terms “child” or “children” include all persons under the age of 18 years. The term “staff” includes permanent employees, contract workers, and interns who work regularly with children in the context of BAAY’s programs, including the classes, productions, and EduArts after-school enrichment. The term “volunteer” means anyone assisting staff in the context of BAAY’s programs.

Recruitment Practices

BAAY takes all reasonable steps to ensure that all our staff are properly vetted and have cleared appropriate background checks for persons engaged to work with children. We apply best practice standards in the screening and recruitment of both staff and volunteers. These include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:

  • Personal interviews and references required for all staff.
  • Criminal background checks for all supervisory staff and volunteers.
  • Criminal background checks for anyone who has regular direct contact with children or who works in close proximity to children and is not directly supervised at all times.
  • Completion of Bellingham Public Schools Volunteer Training for EduArts staff and volunteers. 

Further assessment may be conducted at the discretion of the Leadership Team (Artistic Director and Operations Director).

Support for Staff

BAAY seeks to attract and retain the best staff. We provide support and supervision so people feel valued, respected, and fairly treated. We ensure that staff who work with children have ongoing supervision, support, and training so that their performance is developed and enhanced to promote the establishment and maintenance of a child safe environment.

Reporting and Responding to Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect 

BAAY will not tolerate incidents of child abuse. All staff members at BAAY are mandated reporters. If abuse is reasonably suspected we will alert Child Protective Services (360-594-6700 or 1-866-829-2153) or the Bellingham Police Department (360-778-8800). 


BAAY opposes all forms of harassment, bullying and discrimination, including discrimination on the basis of race, religion, gender, and sexual identity or orientation. We take this issue seriously and encourage anyone who believes that they, or another person, has been harassed, bullied or discriminated against to raise this issue with appropriate BAAY staff.  We review this policy regularly.


BAAY will ensure that everyone to whom this policy applies is aware of and has had an opportunity to read the policy. We also ask staff to submit a statement indicating that they have read and will abide by our Child Safety Policies and Procedures.

Sexual Harassment Policy

Sexual Harassment Policy

(Revised 10/2021)

Statement of Policy

It is the policy of BAAY to maintain a learning and working environment that is free from all forms of discrimination, including sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is a form of misconduct which undermines the integrity of the employment and/or volunteer relationship and the educational environment.

Sexual Harassment Defined

Sexual harassment does not refer to casual conversations or compliments of a socially acceptable nature. It refers to behavior which is unwelcome, offensive, interfering with effectiveness or creating uneasiness in the BAAY environment. Sexual harassment consists of:

  1. Unwelcome sexual advances or
  2. Requests for sexual favors or
  3. Sexually-motivated physical contact or
  4. Other verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature if
    • Submission to that conduct or communication is made a term or condition, either explicitly or implicitly, of obtaining an education or employment; or
    • Submission to or rejection of that conduct or communication by an individual is used as a factor in decisions affecting that individual’s education or employment; or
    • That conduct or communication has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s educational or work performance, or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational or work environment.

Such conduct, whether committed in the BAAY environment or workplace by students, employees, volunteers, parents, or guardians, is specifically prohibited. This may include, but is not limited to:

  • Sexually suggestive looks or gestures
  • Pressure for dates or sexual activity
  • Unnecessary brushes or touches
  • Offensive sexual graffiti, pictures, or photographs
  • Disparaging remarks about one’s gender identity or use of sexually demeaning terms
  • Deliberate and unwelcome touching, cornering, pinching, or pulling on clothing
  • Sexual jokes or teasing
  • Attempts to kiss or fondle
  • Hazing, pranks, or other intimidating behavior directed toward an individual because of their gender identity
  • Requests for sexual favors in exchange for grades, promotions, or salary increases

Reporting Sexual Harassment

If a member of the BAAY staff or a BAAY volunteer feels they have been sexually harassed by another staff member, or a patron, they must report it to the Artistic and Operations Director immediately. The Leadership Team will then support the staff member in filing a statement and the Leadership Team will make necessary decisions based on the nature of the harassment incident.