Adopted by the Board of Directors at its regularly scheduled meeting on October 30, 2021.

At all times, Sakya Society, a Washington nonprofit corporation, has the responsibility and authority to take precautions if a situation poses a risk of harm to others. This includes risks to: people who are living on the Sakya Society property, Sakya Kachod Choling Retreat Center, including but not limited to paid or unpaid staff and their family members, unpaid or work-trade volunteers, and retreatants; and visitors or persons who are living off the premises but are on the property as a staff member, volunteer, service provider, or day guest.

COVID-19 presents such a risk of harm. While it remains impossible to eliminate all risk of transmission of COVID-19 at Sakya Kachod Choling, the Board of Directors is determined to mitigate as much risk as is achievable.

Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is an important step in reducing the risk of harm. Receiving a vaccination is in harmony with the Buddhist principles of valuing others’ lives, avoiding harm to others, and not taking life. The Sakya Society Board encourages all eligible persons to obtain a vaccination against COVID-19. Her Eminence Sakya Jetsun Chimey Luding Rinpoche, board chair, and her family, including the Holinesses and Rinpoches in India, have received a vaccine and encourage others to do the same. His Holiness the Sakya Trichen and the Sakya Dolma Phodrang have sponsored mass vaccination drives in India.

Vaccination Policy for Staff Members and Administration

At the same time, the Board recognizes that some people are unable or unwilling to be vaccinated against COVID-19. This group may include staff who live at Sakya Kachod Choling or serve in a position of administration. Sakya Society encourages staff members and administrators to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. Although Sakya Society is not imposing a vaccine mandate for everyone, it may require vaccination for specific staff positions that involve frequent interaction with other persons. Interacting with Sakya Kachod Choling staff could increase someone’s risk of contracting COVID- 19, although precautions are taken to reduce the risk of infection by unvaccinated persons. For example, unvaccinated resident staff members are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result before they are allowed to move to the property.

Unvaccinated staff or residents are at a greater risk of contracting and becoming seriously ill from COVID-19. They must sign an acknowledgement that they will undertake the following: take care of their own medical needs and expenses should they become infected; follow the directives of Sakya Society’s administrators to mitigate risks to others; and not hold liable Sakya Society or any of its directors, officers, staff, contractors, or volunteers for any issues related to COVID-19.

Vaccination Policy for Day Visitors

Sakya Society is unable to verify the vaccination status of day visitors, including service providers, taxi or other drivers delivering or picking up people, and people who come on the property even though the center is closed to the public. Interacting with these visitors could increase someone’s risk of contracting COVID-19.

Vaccination Policy for People in Retreat or Resident Work-Trade Volunteers and Other Resident Guests

All retreatants, work-trade volunteers, and other resident guests must be fully vaccinated before their arrival at Sakya Kachod Choling. People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving their second dose in a Pfizer or Moderna two-dose series, or two weeks after receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine or 15 days after receiving the second dose in an AstraZeneca two-dose series. The effective dates of other vaccines will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Resident guests in this category must provide proof of vaccination on arrival at Sakya Kachod Choling by showing their Vaccination Record Card from the CDC or comparable proof of vaccination for citizens of other countries. An image on a phone is acceptable. No other form of proof will be recognized.


All persons on the Sakya Kachod Choling grounds are required to wear masks while in indoor public spaces if one or more other persons are present, with the following exceptions. No masks are required in private living spaces such as rooms, retreat huts, yurts or tents or while eating.

Masks are required outdoors for all unvaccinated persons if they are engaged in any activity that requires them to be within six feet of another person for five minutes or more. Masks are recommended for a vaccinated person when in the presence of an unvaccinated person under the same circumstances.

COVID-19 Symptoms and Testing

Any individual on the property who experiences symptoms of COVID-19 must be tested for COVID-19.

The PCR test for COVID-19 is available on San Juan Island at Peace Island Hospital, but only for individuals who have symptoms. A doctor’s order for the test is required and can be obtained online without a visit for PeaceHealth patients or by calling the Hospital clinic, which will arrange a virtual appointment with a doctor who can order a test if appropriate or, as a last resort, by a visit to the Emergency Room.

Any retreatant, work-trade volunteer, or other resident guest who tests positive for COVID-19 must leave Sakya Kachod Choling immediately to seek medical assistance or to recover somewhere else. Arrangements or plans for this contingency should be made before arrival at the retreat center. Sakya Society staff will not be able to

guarantee transportation. It would be helpful to have a vehicle available to drive if the person is well enough or a driver in case the person is too ill to drive.

Any staff member, paid or unpaid, or their family member living with them at Sakya Kachod Choling, who tests positive for COVID-19 must leave immediately or agree to and comply with the self-isolation or quarantine opportunities on the property that are required by the Sakya Society administrators. Sakya Society reserves the right to direct anyone to not enter or to leave the property if Sakya Society’s board chair determines or if the officers determine that the risk of COVID-19 cannot be sufficiently mitigated.


To the extent possible, residents in all categories will be given time alone in the kitchen to prepare meals, with allowances made for families to cook together. Meals should be eaten outside on the balcony or in private rooms to free the kitchen for preparation only.