COVID-19 Safety Protocols at IMS
The wellbeing of all who practice, teach, and work at IMS continues to be our priority. In addition to following state and federal guidelines related to COVID-19 safety, we have implemented safety protocols appropriate to the activities and spaces we share on campus. Please monitor this page in advance of your retreat; information will change as conditions merit.
Note: Effective January 1, 2023, IMS will no longer require proof of COVID vaccination, but will continue to implement rapid testing and masking protocols. See below.
Here’s what we’re doing for your safety and ease:
- Operating in full compliance with CDC and Commonwealth of Massachusetts guidelines.
- While on campus: Yogis and teachers are required to take a COVID rapid test on arrival at IMS. A second rapid test will be provided for all participants on day three. (See more on testing during retreats, below.)
- Regular testing protocol for IMS staff.
- Upgraded HVAC systems and mobile filtration systems increase airflow and filtration throughout our buildings, as recommended by professionals in COVID safety.
- Suspension of some yogi jobs to reduce safety concerns. Optional opportunities for mindful service will be offered to support your practice.
- All accommodations remain single occupancy.
- Hand sanitizing stations located across campus.
- Frequent deep cleaning and sanitizing across campus.
- Payment in full for retreats is required one week prior to arrival to reduce crowds at check-in time.
Doing your part—pre-arrival at IMS:
- Please take great care in the ten days before you travel to minimize your risk of exposure to the virus: avoid crowded events and use an effective mask (surgical or N95/KN95).
- Should you require a PCR test for your air travel, please note that we have been unable to find a convenient resource for you near Barre. The best way for you to get one might be directly at the airport, and you can make appointments in advance here.
Arrival in Barre—rapid testing and masking:
- Testing: When you arrive on campus, you will be asked to self-administer a COVID rapid test. IMS will provide these simple test kits for you at no charge, and someone will be available to support you in using them properly. On the third day of retreats five days or longer, a second rapid test will be provided for all participants. Teachers and staff will also participate in routine testing protocols. (The cost to IMS is $10 per test. If you are able and willing to help us cover this cost, thank you for your support! Donations can be made here.)
- Masks: Indoor masking in all public spaces (including the meditation hall) is required until the second rapid tests are complete—usually on day three—and all are negative. At that point, indoor masking is optional for all yogis and teachers. Staff will continue to wear masks in yogi spaces. If anyone tests positive in the second round of tests, masks will remain mandatory indoors for the duration of your retreat.
- Please note: IMS requires all yogis, teachers, and staff to use an effective mask (surgical or N95/KN95). Please bring one for each day of your retreat. Masking is not required outside.
During your retreat:
- Meditation hall: Until we complete the second round of rapid tests, masks will be required for all in the meditation hall, including the teaching team.
- Meals: You have lots of dining space options! Small tables have been added to each dorm room so that you may elect to take your meals in your room, or–weather permitting–in any of several spaces outdoors. The dining room is also available.
- Dharma talks and morning instruction: Teachers will wear masks in the meditation hall until we complete the second round of rapid tests. At that point, masks will be optional for your teaching team.
- Chanting: As a COVID precaution, chanting as a group is only possible after the second rapid testing, with all negative results.
- Meetings with the teachers will be mostly in small groups. Some retreats may offer one-to-one meetings. Masks and social distancing are required in these spaces.
- Affinity groups may be offered during your retreat, with social distancing and the wearing of masks.
In the event of COVID-19 illness
- If you test positive for COVID-19 on arrival, you will be unable to remain on campus; IMS does not have the ability or expertise to support you. For those of you who would need to be picked up or make travel arrangements–particularly those of you who flew to Massachusetts—we can accommodate your brief stay in quarantine accommodations separate from the active retreat container while you make plans to depart. Please consider this in advance so you can plan what you would do.
- If anyone tests positive for COVID-19 while on retreat, they will need to move to quarantine accommodations and make arrangements to leave campus. The teachers and other retreat participants would be informed that there was a positive test result. We would not cancel the retreat for the remaining participants but (depending on timing) would implement a fresh round of rapid tests and wellness monitoring.
Information is subject to change as conditions merit.
Information is subject to change as conditions merit.
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IMS remains committed to offering spiritual refuge for all who seek freedom. We will continue to offer transformative online retreats and other community events that connect and heal. Throughout this period, we will work diligently to find new ways to support you in your work and practice. And even as we offer help to all who suffer, we too may need help.
For now, we rest in gratitude for our community. May all find health and healing in the weeks and months to come, and comfort in the strength and resilience of our sangha.