Seattle Shambhala Updated COVID policy

While COVID-19 and other serious respiratory illnesses are still widely circulating, Public Health of Seattle-King County has listed the local community impact for COVID at the “Low” level for many months now. Following the recommendations of the Washington Department of Health and the federal Centers for Disease Control, the Seattle Shambhala Board of Directors has decided to no longer require indoor masking at the Center as long as the Public Health assessment of King County remains “Low”. We do, however, still encourage wearing masks to protect those who are more vulnerable and as a form of personal protection.  If the King County Public Health assessment is revised to “Medium” or “High,” indoor masking will again be required, so please stay aware of changes that may be posted at the Center or on our website. 

The Board is also removing the COVID vaccination requirement for in-person programs at this time, consistent with recent King County and City of Seattle guidance. We note that, while the significant protection and transmission benefits of vaccination have not changed, higher levels of immunity in the community from vaccination and from many people having had COVID-19 infections, combined with the availability of new tools for treatment and for improving indoor air quality, mean that the acute threat to the community and healthcare system has decreased. Public health authorities continue to highly recommend vaccination and the bivalent booster, as well as the prudent use of masks in indoor settings for the best protection.

For anyone who is sick with even the earliest symptoms of cold, flu, or known COVID symptoms like change of smell or taste, and anyone who has been exposed the virus or tested positive for COVID in the past 10 days, please refrain from coming to the Center in person, test for COVID, and follow all public health isolation and masking requirements, as documented here. This includes wearing a high-quality, well-fitting mask around others for 10 days after the exposure, and in some cases, quarantine or isolation, distancing from others, avoiding crowded places, and staying away from people at high risk for COVID. Many of our programs are now offered online or on a hybrid basis, so we encourage you to continue to participate via Zoom, if you feel up to it. 

We have also purchased air purifiers, which we will use wherever groups congregate indoors at the Center, and we will open doors and windows to improve air quality whenever the weather and outside noise levels permit.

If you are interested in volunteering to be part of a group tasked with discussing and making suggestions to the Board on health and safety improvements in our Center, please email us at [email protected]

Thank you for your understanding as we strive to maintain a safe and welcoming environment to practice the dharma.

Seattle Shambhala Board of Directors
Janine Bloomfield
Stacy Hall de Gomez
Mark Helsel
Natalie Pascale Boisseau
Bob Salskov

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