STATEMENT ON RHINEBECK CAMPUS 2021 REOPENING & COVID SAFETY POLICY
Omega to Temporarily Require Staff, Faculty, Visitors & Program Participants to be Fully Vaccinated for COVID-19 Prior to Arriving On Campus
After a year unlike any other, we are happy to announce Omega’s Rhinebeck, New York campus will reopen on July 23–offering a wide range of in-person programs, set to run through October 2021.
As a nonprofit educational organization that embodies a philosophy of interdependence, we believe that the well-being of every individual is deeply connected to the well-being of all living things, and therefore we have a shared responsibility to protect public health and the safety of our community.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have rigorously followed CDC, state, and local guidelines, introduced new safety protocols, and made many operational modifications to safeguard our campus experience. To that end, and after much consideration, Omega has determined we will temporarily require the COVID-19 vaccine for staff, faculty, visitors, and program participants in 2021. We do not take this decision lightly, and we will continue to revisit this temporary policy as conditions change.
Due to the current state of the pandemic, and rising numbers in our region, our policy for visiting campus this summer and fall had to consider the public health impact of our reopening. Additionally, our decision was based on surveying faculty, staff, and participants about safety, who overwhelmingly indicated they would feel safer coming to in-person programs if we required the vaccine this year.
Omega serves close to 20,000 people annually who come to New York’s Hudson Valley region, from across the country and around the world, to participate in our programs. While it is not our desire to exclude anyone, it is imperative for destinations like ours–that are vulnerable to becoming superspreader events–take seriously all measures known to reduce risk. We understand this may preclude some valued members of our community from visiting campus this year, and apologize for any inconvenience.
We appreciate the grace and patience of our community, as we navigate the complexity of an unprecedented situation, and move through what we hope will be the end stage of this devastating pandemic so we can be on the other side of this by next year.
We look forward to welcoming participants back to the Rhinebeck campus this summer, and also encourage people to visit Omega remotely through our many online offerings, available at eOmega.org.
Here’s what we’re doing for your safety and well-being:
- CDC, New York State, and Dutchess County guideline compliance.
- Limited capacity in classrooms and dining facilities.
- Upgraded air filtration in classrooms.
- Plated food service in the Dining Hall, and outdoor seating. Assigned meal times to minimize traffic. (Lunch provided for commuters.)
- Single occupancy accommodations (unless you are coming with someone you wish to room with).
- Hand sanitizing stations in convenient locations across campus, including entrances to all classrooms, and facilities.
- Deep cleaning across all campus facilities.
- Frequent sanitizing of all high touch areas.
- Limited Café service to take-out beverages and desserts, and outdoor seating.
- Limited Wellness Center services, when possible.
- Plexiglass dividers inside the Main Office and other communication areas, to create a barrier from front desk staff.
- A 50% deposit at the time of booking, and payment in full one week prior to arrival.
- No daily R&R fee for guests that book accommodations for a minimum 2-night stay on campus.
Here’s what we’re asking you to do:
- Review the NY State COVID-19 Travel Advisory
- Provide proof of being fully vaccinated for COVID-19 prior to arrival.
- Social distance from others on campus.
- Sanitize hands before entering classrooms, the dining hall, and other buildings.
- Follow all COVID safety signage throughout campus.
Here’s what you can expect at arrival and departure:
- To minimize points of contact during check-in and check-out, we are encouraging participants to transport their own luggage to and from accommodations, when possible.