Prayers and Precautions: Re: COVID-19
Like many communities around the world, at Light on the Hill we are carefully monitoring the unfolding events related to the new corona virus, COVID-19. We are holding all those affected by this situation in our hearts.
As the current information on the virus changes regularly, as does the count of how many cases are in the local area, You can access Chemung County Health Department updates by clicking here
We believe that a mindful approach to an evolving situation includes using an abundance of caution. The CDC suggests that the best way to prevent this illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. For those reasons, we want to share with you the steps we are taking to keep the retreat center safe for all who come here.
As Chemung County has entered phase four of the NY Forward reopening plan, we are finally able to open the Lodge for group retreats though there will be certain requirements we must follow to maintain physical distancing and minimize exposure from person to person which we will detail below.
The cottages are open for individual retreats, and Stillpoint Sanctuary is open by appointment for meditation.
We are following the guidelines from the NYS Public Health Department for houses of worship.
The Labyrinths and trails are open to walk any time. Please keep reading below for details on all of this.
As information changes, we will update this page.
The Meadow Cottage, Woods Cottage, and Pond Hut remain open for individual retreatants only (no unrelated groups), and Spiritual Director Alice McDowell will continue to guide individuals who wish to have full or partial guidance (maintaining a 6ft+ distance).
We are fully sanitizing all surfaces, bedding, door handles, etc., as per CDC guidelines, in the buildings between retreats. We are also leaving a minimum buffer of 24 hours between guests.
As before, please complete our Plan Your Individual Retreat Form to book your retreat. We will contact you to adjust dates if they conflict with the booking or buffer time of another retreatant.
At this time during the COVID-19 pandemic, Light on the Hill is unable to provide food for individual retreats. We will update this page as soon as the situation changes.
Stillpoint will remain open for individuals seeking silence and space for meditation by appointment. Please set up your appointment by contacting Mark and Micaela by calling 607-589-4419 or emailing email@example.com. *Note that the Lodge is closed, so there is no bathroom access.
The Lodge is finally open for group retreats.
Because people do gather here from other places, we are following the CDC guidelines for mass gatherings and community events, which are detailed below. However, another reassuring point is that the group size here is relatively small – we are not at the level of a “mass gathering”.
We are communicating with all retreat leaders in advance of each retreat to share with their participants the following guidelines:
When Deciding to Attend
- If you are sick, please stay home. Know this virus is most dangerous to our elders and those with compromised lungs or immune systems, so please think of them–even if you feel “good enough” to attend or your symptoms are minor.
- If you have traveled recently to a country that has a high level of outbreak or been in contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19, even if you do not have symptoms, please consider self-quarantining until the danger of infection has passed. It is possible for people without symptoms to pass the virus to others.
- We suggest to group leaders they extend an invitation to connect with participants over Zoom/video who have to miss their group retreat, as this may be disappointing, but it is best to take precautions.
- Light on the Hill is asking all participants entering the building to use tissues to open the door and then immediately sanitize or wash hands for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid handshaking and physical touch– try a bow with your hand over your heart.
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds after touching any surfaces. While soap is best, we will supply hand sanitizer as well.
- Avoid touching your face as much as possible. As usual, we will supply tissues and highly recommend using them for face wiping, sneezing or coughing! Experts say it’s best to cough into a tissue as opposed to your elbow as the virus can stay on clothing for up to a week.
- Masks will also be required inside the building. Please bring a mask, but we will have extras on hand if needed.
- While inside the building, please do your best to maintain a physical distance of 6 feet from other retreatants when possible.
What we are doing
Given the intimate nature of shared space on a retreat, we will ask anyone who develops flu-like symptoms to leave the retreat if possible to minimize exposure to other retreatants.
We have instructed any staff who feel unwell to stay home.
We have made CDC-approved hand sanitizer broadly available and visible and are disinfecting high-use surfaces frequently. We have put up signage reminding staff, teachers, and retreatants about washing hands, covering coughs, and not touching their faces.
3. We are in regular contact with the Chemung County Health Department and are keeping up with the NYS Department of Health guidelines, and will be responsive to any new information or recommendations that develop.
4. We are monitoring CDC and WHO websites daily.
What You Can Do
- If you are feeling flu-like symptoms, respiratory illness, or have a compromised immune system, please contact your retreat leaders to let them know. We will be in close communication with them to adjust plans as necessary.
- Update yourself on recommendations from the CDC for staying healthy during this viral outbreak. Information here.
- If you visit Light on the Hill in the coming weeks and months, remember that someone wearing a protective mask is not necessarily ill.
The health and well-being of retreatants, teachers, and staff is our top priority, and we will continue to monitor conditions and take appropriate actions to keep our retreat spaces safe for all.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at (607) 589-4419, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark and Micaela Karlsen