COVID-19 Update

COVID-19 Safety Protocols at IMS 

After a long closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, IMS is open again for on-campus retreats.

During closure IMS worked with public health and food/building safety experts to develop and implement new safety guidelines for our residential retreat spaces. These experts will continue to advise as we move through the year ahead.

Here’s what we’re doing for your safety and ease:

  • Operating in full compliance with CDC and Commonwealth of Massachusetts guidelines.
  • Limiting capacity in meditation spaces and dining rooms.*
  • Before coming to IMS: Yogis and teachers should schedule a COVID-19 PCR test 3-4 days before they travel, and bring their negative test results with them to campus. Because test results can take 1-3 days, we recommend they confirm turnaround time with their local testing sites. No one will be permitted on campus without this.
  • While on campus: Yogis and teachers are required to take a two-part COVID rapid test: the first on arrival at IMS, and—for retreats longer than 3 days—the second on day four.
  • Regular testing protocol for IMS staff.
  • Face coverings, specifically surgical or N95/KN95 masks, are required in all shared spaces indoors for all staff and guests, including the meditation hall. Given the changing nature of the COVID-19 environment, we must currently adhere to this guideline without exception. We strongly encourage individuals who would require an exception for medical reason or disability to delay attending an onsite retreat until we’re able to relax some of the protocols.
  • Upgraded HVAC systems increase airflow and filtration as recommended by professionals in COVID safety.
  • Redesigned Shanti House bathrooms to support greater privacy and limit shared air flow between yogis.
  • Increased safety measures for food service, including expanded outdoor and in-room dining options, more space between individuals in the dining hall, and the ability to serve lunch at the Retreat Center in staggered shifts.
  • 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 check-in time. 

Here is what you’ll need to do:

  • Review the Commonwealth of Massachusetts COVID-19 Travel Advisory page for any travel advisories.
  • Take special care to reduce your potential exposure to COVID-19 in the ten days before you travel to IMS.
  • If you are feeling unwell before traveling to IMS, please stay home and email us at registration@dharma.org.
  • Provide proof of being fully vaccinated for COVID-19 prior to arrival.
  • Yogis and teachers should schedule a COVID-19 PCR test 3-4 days before they travel, and bring their negative test results with them to campus. Because test results can take 1-3 days, we recommend you confirm turnaround time with your local testing sites. No one will be permitted on campus without this.
  • Plan to self-administer a simple COVID-19 rapid test when you arrive at IMS as part of your check-in process. IMS will provide this test for you.
  • Bring and plan to wear face masks at IMS, except when in your room and in the actual act of eating and drinking.
  • Maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance whenever possible.
  • Follow all COVID safety guidance and signage throughout campus.

Additional information about Retreat Center safety protocols:

  • Meditation hall: everyone is required to wear a mask in the hall, including teachers, even when offering instructions and Dharma talks.
  • Meals: the dining room is closed for eating and drinking. Meals are to be consumed in yogi rooms, where small tables have been added for this purpose, or outdoors.
  • Chanting: as a Covid-19 precaution, group chanting is not possible. However, some retreats may include a teacher chanting for the group.
  • Meetings with teachers will be one-on-one, with possible exceptions of smaller groups (masks and social distancing required).
  • Affinity groups may be offered during retreats (masks and social distancing required).

* Though limitation restrictions on gatherings at event venues have been lifted in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, at the IMS Retreat Center we have elected to reduce our capacity by 25% for the balance of 2021; each retreat will be limited to 72 people. Retreats at the Forest Refuge may fill to 30 people.

Information will be updated as state and federal guidelines evolve.

 

(Updated 11/29/21)

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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.