Updated: 2 September 2020
The Vipassana Centre has been closely following the requirements to safely run courses under Covid19 Alert Levels One and Two.
Under Alert Level Two course numbers are reduced to enable physical distancing of at least one metre at all times, with a maximum of 46 students per course. Under Covid19 Alert Level One requirements, 1m distancing is encouraged where possible, but will depend on course numbers.
Most meditators will be accommodated in single rooms, and communal areas, such as the meditation hall, dining rooms and bathrooms, will be cleaned regularly.
All meditators must observe the following:
There is to be no physical contact between people at any time at the Vipassana Centre, apart from in an emergency, at any Alert Level.
Good hand hygiene. Regular thorough handwashing with soap and water. Hand sanitiser will be available in/around all communal areas. Note: if you have sensitive skin or any allergies to this type of product, please bring your own sanitiser.
Good cough/sneezing etiquette: coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the crook of the elbow and then performing hand hygiene
Any unwell student must report their symptoms immediately to the management, and if these symptoms could be related to Covid19, will be required to leave the centre (see below)
All students must provide current and complete contact details on application in case contact tracing is required.
At levels 2 and 2.5, meditation students are strongly encouraged to wear masks, which they will need to provide themselves and hand wash them as required. If you possibly can, please bring a good supply of masks with you (either disposable or washable), as the Vipassana Centre will not be providing these for everyone. Students who wear a mask during the course must ensure proper hygiene practices (such as changing masks when damp, not touching them; and good hand hygiene) to avoid the increased risk of virus transmission associated with poor mask use.
Masks can interfere with the practice and technique of meditation. Therefore, students who choose to wear masks in the meditation hall will be asked to practice without a mask when meditating in their own room, so that they can learn and practice this technique properly.
All participants should be in very good health. Participants over 70 or who have health conditions that would place them at higher risk for complications of Covid19 may be advised to wait until a later time.
It is very important that all people on site at the Vipassana Centre are well. Anyone who has been unwell with any possible signs of Covid19 within the past 14days must not come to Dhamma Medini until:
they have been cleared by Healthline or their GP
they have been symptom free for at least 48hrs, with or without a negative Covid19 swab.
Anyone who has been in close contact with a suspected, probable or confirmed positive Covid19 case must not come to Dhamma Medini until 14days after this close contact, providing they have remained well (asymptomatic) throughout this time frame and have been cleared by Healthline or their GP. They should also notify the Centre of all the above, prior to arrival.
During a course, anyone developing respiratory symptoms or other signs of Covid19 is required to inform the Centre management immediately and must leave the course for medical assessment. This is for the safety of the course as a whole and for the wellbeing of the other students.
If an unwell student who has left the course tests positive for Covid19 while the course is running, then all participants may be required to immediately stop the course and self-isolate at their home or another suitable location for 14days. This will be confirmed at the time by Regional Public Health. Self-isolation will NOT be possible at the Vipassana Centre.
It is therefore essential that all participants (students and servers) have the means to leave the Centre independently and self-isolate at short notice without depending on public transport or air travel, as this may not be possible if they are either unwell or deemed a close contact of a Covid19 case.
Shuttle-bus and ride-share options are currently available again as of 9th July, 2020. However this could change at any time, and all students and servers must still have the means to leave independently and without public transport if they become unwell or need to self-isolate.
For old students:
Vipassana courses around the world are only possible through the efforts of old students, i.e. meditators who have completed at least one 10-day course in this tradition. The Covid19 situation presents unique challenges for Dhamma Medini, as traditionally many of the old students serving on courses have come from overseas. The current border closures are likely to have a significant impact on course server numbers, so any interest from old students to serve rather than sit courses in the coming months is welcomed. Old students who have applied to sit the course may be asked to serve the course at very short notice, including while the course is underway, if needed for the course to go ahead. Priority may be given to those old students willing and eligible to serve initially in order to be confident the course has sufficient servers to go ahead.
**THE COVID19 SITUATION IN AOTEAROA/NEW ZEALAND IS CONSTANTLY EVOLVING. PLEASE BE AWARE THAT CHANGES TO COURSE CONDITIONS OR COURSE SCHEDULING (INCLUDING COURSE CANCELLATIONS) MAY BE MADE AT VERY SHORT NOTICE, INCLUDING ONCE A COURSE IS ALREADY UNDERWAY.