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Saturday, September 11, 2021

Pandemic Protocol for Our Guests

The Sisters of St. Francis of Penance & Christian Charity, Holy Name Province at Stella Niagara extend a warm welcome to guests of the on-campus Center of Renewal (COR) Retreat & Conference Center. During the extended months of the pandemic, please note that additional safety precautions are in place for all persons visiting the campus.  Therefore, for the safety of sisters, residents, employees, and guests, COR RETREATANTS (GUESTS) are asked to follow SAFETY PRECAUTIONS and GUIDELINES (COVID-19 Protocols) set forth by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), Niagara County, and Stella Niagara Leadership. Any COR guest who chooses not to abide by the new safety precautions will be asked to leave the premises. 

VERY IMPORTANT REMINDER:  If you are feeling ill/sick, please stay home.  You should NOT be checking in or staying at the Center of Renewal if you feel ill.  Call us at 716/754-7376, Ext. 2 (and your group leader, if applicable) to let us know you will not be coming.

By simply altering personal behavior consistent with the new safety precautions, COR guests will be able to enjoy their retreat experiences, and the sisters and employees on campus will ideally remain safe and secure. For ease of understanding, COR staff has prepared a welcome & training presentation explaining the new safety precautions for arrivals as needed.

Overnight occupancy in COR will be based on current state regulations plus CDC, Niagara County, and Stella Niagara guidelines. Meeting rooms will be arranged to accommodate approved social distance mandates as needed and appropriate.  Rooms may not be rearranged by guests without advance approval of COR staff.  All safety precautions will be administratively-approved and subject to revision as needed.  Questions or clarifications should be referred to COR Executive Director Nancy P. Askins at 754-7376, Ext. 1.

New Safety Precautions (COVID-19 Protocols Updated as of 4/22/22)

  1. CHECK-IN for GROUPS & INDIVIDUALS:  For mutual safety and health, the Center of Renewal (COR) at Stella Niagara is requiring everyone to show proof of being FULLY VACCINATED (ex., original vaccination cards w/dates) unless unvaccinated due to a documented exemption approved IN ADVANCE of anticipated arrival at COR.  (To avoid problems at check-in, unvaccinated guests are required to submit requests for medical exemption (written from a medical doctor) or religious exemptions for advance review and approval at least two weeks in advance of expected arrival date. There is NO GUARANTEE of an exemption; guests must have received a formal approval in advance from COR to check in, otherwise they will be unable to stay for the event at COR. Call 716-754-7376, Ext. 1 or 2 for specifics.)

ARRIVAL TIMES & PANDEMIC HEALTH CHECKS:  All group leaders and private retreatants will be responsible for confirming specific times of arrival in advance with COR staff to enter via COR’s private entrance door (via COR porch w/black railing). All COR guests will need clearance to enter and stay, and COR staff works flexible hours based on pre-scheduled guest arrival/departure times. 

Fully vaccinatedmeans two Pfizer or Moderna vaccinations (or one Johnson & Johnson vaccine) plus two weeks waiting period AFTER the second injection date. Guests with 2nd vaccine dates less than two weeks before check-in date will be considered unvaccinated and thus will have to be denied admittance for their scheduled retreat or program. Upon arrival, guests must show proof of vaccination and fill out and sign a contact tracing agreement form. Unvaccinated guests with medical exemptions approved in advance by COR (please see “a” above) must present COR’s written proof of the exemption PLUS proof of negative COVID-19 test results administered within 48-72 hours of arrival, and fill out and sign a contact tracing agreement form. (For details on religious exemptions, please see “a” above).  Anyone not successfully completing these steps (or having adverse response outcomes) will unfortunately not be able to enter the rest of the building nor stay at COR for their designated event.  All COR guests will only be permitted to enter via COR Lobby where the health checks will be conducted and signatures obtained.  Although only COR guests should ideally enter the building, anyone dropping off guests must also be FULLY VACCINATED and will only temporarily be permitted to enter the building to help with luggage.

  1. MASKS:  At this time, masks MUST still be worn in the presence of young children such as when near our young Montessori/Kindergarten students who also use the COR hallway during the daytime school hours. Otherwise, fully vaccinated guests are no longer required to wear masks at this time  but may still opt to do so.  Anyone attending a COR event with a formally approved-by-COR-in-advance exemption (see “a” above) will be required to wear a mask during their stay for the safety of self and others; guests should bring their own masks and any other needed personal protective equipment.
  1. SOCIAL DISTANCING & MEETING ROOMS:  Following CDC guidelines, all COR guests are expected to maintain recommended social distancing currently in place during their time at the Center of Renewal; specific details on current mandates will be provided upon arrival and/or request. When school children are in the hallway (typically Montessori/Kindergarten children across from the COR Dining Room), please leave the hallway temporarily by moving into a room until the children have passed.  When using the elevator, follow any signs showing count limitations.  Please leave all furniture as arranged or ask COR staff.
  1. SAFE LOCATION PROTOCOLS (Limited access areas on campus):  Other than OUTSIDE the buildings on campus, COR guests are allowed access ONLY to designated areas WITHIN the retreat center, specifically overnight rooms on floors 2, 3, and north end of 4, COR Lobby and COR meeting rooms on floors 1-2-3,  and meeting rooms and laundry area in the COR basement.   

Absolutely no COR guest should enter any areas past the COR elevator or loading dock, thus limiting the number of people entering the main campus buildings from outside. This means there will be NO PUBLIC ACCESS past the COR elevator or loading dock area.  Once guests have been cleared by COR staff applying safety precautions & protocols, guests are encouraged to stay on campus during their stay at COR, thus limiting the potential of introducing the virus on campus.  If pandemic protocols currently in place during the time of a guest’s stay allow for going on-and-off campus, COR guests are encouraged to use precautions when around large groups of people off-campus.

Anyone choosing not to follow the new safe location protocols (or any other COR Health & Safety Precautions) will be asked to leave the premises. Our #1 goal is to provide safe surroundings for sisters-in-residence including those in the health center, plus all students, employees, and guests.  No refunds will be given in situations of non-compliance with health & safety protocols.


  1. MEALS IN COR DINING ROOM:  If needed, tables may be reserved with social distancing mandates to provide for all guests’ optimal health and safety.  Guests in groups may be assigned specific times for the dining room.  Meals may be served either in a box-lunch style using disposable containers and utensils or buffet style.  Outside caterers will NOT be permitted to deliver food to COR guests.  Also, COR guests not bring in food to share or consume for meals due to health & safety regulations.  Anyone with dietary restrictions and/or allergies should contact COR staff two-weeks prior to arrival for special advance planning with our onsite food service caterer.
  1. SANITIZING OF AREAS IN COR:  All meeting rooms and other key areas throughout COR will be sanitized on a regular basis as managed by the housekeeping staff.  Anyone wanting to self-clean a bathroom or shower more often for their own personal use is welcome to do so. Each group will be responsible for daily sanitizing of their own meeting areas once within the meeting room; groups will be provided with cleaning materials from Housekeeping as needed.  Please do not use any rooms other than those assigned for your specific retreat time.


  1. QUIET HOURS (8:00 PM to 7:00 AM):  Since the Center of Renewal is a retreat center ministry for rest, relaxation, and spiritual growth, all guests are asked to refrain from any loud talking or noise.  Please remember that sound can travel through walls and from one floor to the next through the ceilings, so please, no loud audible sounds (talking, music, etc.) from 8:00 PM to 7:00 AM.

Thank you for following all of our health & safety protocols to ensure all have a safe and enjoyable retreat.  Please contact our staff if you have any questions or concerns.  Blessings to you and yours!