COVID Safety Measures
We are committed to providing a safer environment for gathering as we emerge after not holding retreats on the land for two years. We monitor state, local, and CDC guidelines to be in alignment with current regulations. Given this, safety measures are subject to change at any time as we adapt. We require everyone visiting the center in 2022 adhere to the following:
- Vaccination: All staff, guests and volunteers are required to be fully vaccinated and boosted (if eligible) for COVID-19 before arrival. Up to date is defined as two weeks or more from a primary series and immediately after getting a booster. Only one booster is required at this time. Vaccines must be WHO or CDC approved.
- Testing: All staff, guests and volunteers are required to self administer a rapid antigen test (provided) upon arrival at the center. Individuals will not be admitted to the retreat if the test result is positive for COVID. In keeping with other insight retreat centers, a second antigen test may be administered for retreats over 5 days.
- Physical Distancing: Honor physical distancing and maintain 6’ when indoors.
- Mask Policy: Wearing a mask that covers the nose and mouth (N95, KN95, or KF94) while indoors is required. Please plan to bring your own supply of masks. Mask must also be worn on the shuttle.
- Food/Meals: Wash/sanitize your hands and practice physical distancing when getting your food. We ask everyone to please take your meal outside to eat.
- Do not enter the kitchen. Cooks will wear masks while they are preparing meals for everyone.
- Food will be served in the dining hall family style. Guests are required to use hand sanitizer prior to entering the hall.
- You are welcome to go into the dining hall throughout your stay but please limit your use of this common area.
- Practice Spaces: Please be prepared and know that nearly all group sits and meditation periods will take place in our outdoor practice tent. At the discretion of the retreat teachers, there may be limited sessions in the meditation hall during which masking and distancing will be required. You are welcome to use the meditation hall and loft as you wish, following the guidelines of masking and distancing.
- Bathhouse: You are welcome to use the bathhouse and we expect you to limit your use of this shared space. Continue to practice physical distancing and mask wearing. As an alternative, please remember the many outhouses available on the property.
- Sick Policy: If you develop any of the symptoms consistent with our posted COVID symptom list from the CDC, you must inform a staff member via note immediately. You understand that you may be asked to isolate and/or depart as soon as possible depending on the situation. For the well-being of the entire community, we hold the guideline that any COVID symptoms must be immediately reported to Vallecitos staff so that a test may be administered. We understand that some symptoms characteristic of COVID are not due to COVID, but are regular allergies, colds, and other viruses.
- Criteria for non-attendance: Vallecitos requires that anyone who has been hospitalized for COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic be cleared for residing at high elevation by their primary care provider prior to attending retreat. Regardless of vaccination status, you should not visit the center if you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the prior 10 days to arrival or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. If you have had Covid within the last 30 days and are 10 days from the start of your illness, no longer experiencing symptoms, fully vaccinated, and still testing positive please contact us directly to discuss your situation.
*Given CDC recommendations and state guidelines, the only way to ensure we are a safe container is to be certain all (including staff) who come to the land this year are vaccinated. For the safety of our guests and staff, we err on the side of caution, especially given the remote nature of Vallecitos and our communal facilities. Like many retreat centers, we are feeling our way as we consider how to safely reopen. We are excited that we are able to reopen within the ongoing pandemic. We have deeply and thoroughly considered this decision, and we recognize there is no one decision that is inclusive for everyone who wishes to practice at Vallecitos.
The elevation of the ranch is 8,800 feet. Visitors often experience mild symptoms of elevation related illness, including fatigue, headache, dizziness, gastrointestinal upset, sleep disruption and mild shortness of breath. These symptoms often subside during the first 1-3 days but can persist longer for some. In very rare cases symptoms can escalate to a more threatening condition with shortness of breath at rest, persistent coughing, and exercise intolerance.
Prevention is key.
- Acclimatizing: If you are able to sleep a night or two at a lower elevation prior to your arrival, it will help speed the body’s process of acclimatizing (Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos, Denver).
- Hydration: It is critical to stay well hydrated starting several days prior to travel and during your retreat. Hydration is the key to preventing altitude related illness.
- Take it easy: Do not overdo it the first day or two. Stop early when you start to feel fatigue or any prolonged breathlessness.
- High Carbohydrate Diet: Increase carbohydrate intake (pasta, rice, pancakes) to 70% of total calories. This means reducing fat intake.
- Avoid Alcohol, Tranquilizers & Sleeping Pills: All of these things slow your body’s adjustment to elevation.
- Medication: There is prescription medication which helps prevent illness and speed acclimation. If you have a known issue with being at altitude, please consult your doctor before coming.
If you have ongoing medical conditions, a visit to a medical provider familiar with the demands of altitude travel is helpful before your trip. You should address any acute medical issues such as sinus infections, bronchitis, or chest pain with your doctor before you travel.
We can accommodate CPAP machines. We power the CPAP machines with solar powered batteries. There are several considerations to understand when bringing your own CPAP.
- Please note that every CPAP machine’s power usage is different and we cannot guarantee the power supplied will be sufficient for every type of machine.
- For optimal results, please turn your CPAP machine to the lowest setting that is sufficient for your safety to ensure that it will last all night.
- Since our batteries are solar charged, please know that the batteries may not reach their optimal capacity when the weather presents mostly overcast days.
- We only have two casita accommodations equipped with solar batteries to support CPAP use (casitas 3 & 4). You must register for a CASITA if you plan to use your CPAP with our solar batteries. We will notify you after registration if we need to coordinate any other arrangements.
- You do not need any special equipment to use our battery power set up. Your CPAP will plug into an extension cord outlet just like a wall plug at home.
- We must receive advance notification via your registration form if you intend to use a CPAP machine on your retreat.
Having a fragrance free center stems from our commitment to building an inclusive community. Help Vallecitos be accessible to all by planning ahead and bringing only fragrance free products for use during your stay. This includes lotions, shampoos, feminine products, deodorant, essential oils, laundry detergent, hand sanitizer, to name a few. It is helpful to know to steer clear of products labeled unscented as they are often masked scent. It is best to look for products that say “free of fragrance and dyes”. One often missed are natural scents such as coconut or essentials oils as these are still scents that can cause harm to others. Thank you for your consideration.
Contact information for your family and friends in case of emergency.
Participants are asked to “unplug” while on retreat at Vallecitos. However, if there is an emergency and you need to be contacted, your family and friends may either call (505) 469-9017 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vallecitos Mountain Retreat Center is on a remote ranch and one needs to be able to walk on uneven surfaces with relative ease. Please e-mail us if you additional questions about disability accommodations.