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Saturday, September 11, 2021

Pandemic Protocols 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 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) and Stella Niagara Leadership. Any COR guest who chooses not to abide by and live with the new safety precautions will be asked to leave the premises. 

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 any approved social distance mandates currently in effect.  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.



  • 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 accommodation areas assigned on 2nd, 3rd, or 4th floors (north end only on 4th floor) COR Lobby and COR meeting rooms on 1st floor,  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.  Thus, no one will enter the main building lobby, the Sisters’ Dining Room, the swimming pool in the school, nor any other areas on campus other than those designated as approved for COVID-19 Safe Location Protocols for COR guests. The only exception is if COR guests are given permission by advance reservation with COR to attend Mass in the Sisters’ Chapel in the main building, which would be based on current limitations due to pandemic protocols in place at that time; in that event, specific directions will be given by COR staff to guests to restrict access only to limited areas and hallways. Also, 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 allow for going on-and-off campus, COR guests are encouraged to wear masks when near others and/or inside of buildings they may be visiting.

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


  • CHECK-IN for GROUPS & INDIVIDUALS:  As of 9/11/21, all Center of Renewal guests scheduled to arrive in the next few weeks must be FULLY VACCINATED, or if unvaccinated, provide proof of negative COVID-19 test results administered within 48-72 hours of arrival. 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 porch w/black railing). This is necessary since all COR guests will need clearance to enter and stay, and COR staff works flexible hours based on pre-scheduled guest arrival/departure times.  Contact Nancy or Donna at COR for more details as needed related to your specific group or retreat (716)754-7376.

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 ago will be considered unvaccinated, and will therefore not be able to be at the Center of Renewal.   Upon arrival, guests must show proof of vaccination and fill out and sign a contact tracing agreement form. Unvaccinated guests with medical or religious exemptions must also have their temperatures taken, provide proof of negative test results as described above, answer pandemic-related questions, and fill out and sign a contact tracing agreement form. 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 be FULLY VACCINATED and will only temporarily be permitted to enter the building.

  • MASKS ARE REQUIRED FOR EVERYONE (whether vaccinated or not):  If you’re on the move, you’re in a mask. All guests must wear proper facial masks at all times whenever on the move in all common areas, for example while traveling in hallways, gathering in or walking through meeting rooms, walking within the COR Dining Room. Exceptions would include when in one’s own sleeping room, taking a shower, eating at your seated place in the COR Dining Room. Contact COR staff for specifics.
  • SOCIAL DISTANCING & MEETING ROOMS:  Following CDC guidelines, all COR guests are expected to maintain recommended social distancing 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 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, please follow any signs showing count limitations. Furniture in rooms will be arranged to adhere to current social distancing guidelines and mandates; therefore, guests are not permitted to rearrange furniture without advance approval from COR staff.
  • MEALS IN COR DINING ROOM:  Tables for non-vaccinated guests with medical or religious exemptions are reserved with social distancing mandates to provide for all guests’ optimal health and safety.  All chairs must remain where placed at tables, and chairs marked with stop signs are not to be used. Guests in groups may be assigned specific times for the dining room.  There are limitations on buffets or any shared food at this time due to health & safety restrictions. Meals will typically be served in a box-lunch style using disposable containers and utensils, with other packaged food items provided and made available for individual access. 

With safety and social distancing of prime concern, outside caterers or restaurants will not be permitted to deliver food to COR guests from off-campus. Also, COR guests may no longer bring in food to share or consume for meals due to health & safety regulations and contractual agreements.  Anyone with dietary restrictions and/or allergies should contact COR staff for special arrangements with our onsite professional food service caterer led by a classically-trained chef.

  • 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.  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.  Please do not use any rooms other than those assigned for your overnight stay and meeting space. Bathrooms and other high-touch areas will be regularly cleaned by Housekeeping.  Anyone wanting to self-clean a bathroom or shower more often for their own personal use is welcome to do so.                                                                                                                                 
  • 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 the health & safety protocols to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable retreat. Please contact our staff if you have any questions or concerns.  Blessings to you and yours!