Home / Blog / Update Regarding COVID-19

6/26/20 Update: Two solitary cabin retreatants have arrived at Karmê Chöling and our practicing in the Retreats Area at Karmê Chöling. Following policies developed by KCL’s COVID-19 Task Force, which is following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and state health officials, the retreatants walked themselves to their cabins and made no contact with the staff. Interviews with the Retreats Master took place outside, masked, and at least six feet apart.

6/5/20 Update: Despite an outbreak of COVID-19 in Winooski, a city in Chittenden County 85 miles east of Karmê Chöling, state officials outlined a series of orders today that open the door to increased but limited lodging opportunities in the state of Vermont. The orders go into effect June 8. In mid-June, Karmê Chöling, whose COVID-19 Task Force is following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and state health officials, will accommodate solitary cabin retreatants who follow strict guidelines, which include isolation from KCL residents and outdoor workers. Learn more at VTDigger.com: https://vtdigger.org/2020/06/05/vermont-officials-eliminate-travel-quarantine-for-some-open-indoor-dining/?is_wppwa=true&wpappninja_cache=friendly

5/15/20 Update: Vermont Gov. Phil Scott extended the state of emergency to June 15.

Via VTDigger: With just one Covid-19 patient now in an ICU in a Vermont hospital, Gov. Phil Scott on May 15 continued to open the state to an economic recovery.

Scott promised he would relax the stay home/stay safe orders that have kept Vermonters in their homes since mid-March. While he extended the state of emergency to June 15, he assured Vermonters that if Covid-19 infection rates continue to stay very low, outdoor dining, close-contact businesses like salons, and other indoor businesses would be open by June 1. He also said the state’s limit on gatherings, now set at 10, would be expanded to 25 people.

5/6/20 Update: While Karme Choling remains closed to all visitors, today Gov. Scott has added an amendment to the stay at home/stay safe order — reopening certain outdoor recreation facilities and trails. Hikers rejoice!

Play Smart and Play Safe. Addendum 6 to the Executive Order (Stay Home/Stay Safe), is hereby amended to make clear Vermonters may leave home to get fresh air and exercise and resume limited social interactions and gatherings of 10 or fewer, preferably in outdoor settings, provided that physical distancing and protocols for hygiene consistent with guidance from VDH and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), are observed.

4/10/20 Update: Vermont Gov. Phil Scott has extended the “stay home/stay safe” executive order through May 15 to slow down the spread of COVID-19. Learn more at VTDigger.

3/26/10 Update: Vermont Gov. Phil Scott issued a “stay safe at home” order on March 24, requiring all Vermonters to stay at home, leaving only for essential reasons critical to health and safety. The order is in effect through April 15, and may be extended. Check in with our blog for further updates.

3/15/20 Update: Due to the current uncertainty surrounding the spread of COVID-19, Karmê Chöling will be closed to all visitors beginning Sunday, March 15, through March 31. We are continually monitoring the situation and, if necessary, may extend this closure. We feel that it is important to take this simple preventative step rather than risk increasing the harm of this virus. 

In alliance with the larger community and most of the world right now, we are partnering to slow the spread of this virus. We are monitoring the coronavirus situation in Vermont and throughout the nation daily, and have put new health & safety procedures into effect for our residential staff and volunteers. As an additional precaution we are postponing the arrival of any new volunteers until April, and KCL staff members who are returning from abroad will be self-isolating for 14 days, at a location off-land.

In addition, the Parinirvana Celebration on April 4th will be offered as a live, online-only event.  We will give you more details on this as they become available. 

It’s also important to add that we are addressing this situation with both practical actions and practice. Today, several of our staff joined the healing White Tara practice, offered through Shambhala Online, and we continue our daily protector chants, practices, and offerings.

We will keep you posted on any further developments.

3/13/20 Update: Karmê Chöling wants to reassure everyone that we are daily monitoring the COVID-19 situation in Vermont and nationally, and are following all recommendations from the Vermont Dept. of Health regarding preventative measures and whether to hold large gatherings. Do keep in mind that we do not ramp up programming until the end of April and, as we monitor the situation, we will be deciding whether to take more drastic measures before anyone arrives for the program season, including canceling programs if that is what is called for. We are looking into offering much of the April 4, Parinirvana Day event online, and will let you know of further developments.

As the virus situation develops we will keep you posted on the status of the program season in May and on the well-being of the KCL residents


Hello Shambhala Sangha,

Here in the programs office at Karmê Chöling, we’ve started fielding questions and concerns about how coronavirus may affect the upcoming program season, so we thought we’d let everyone know what we’re doing to prepare. At this time, there is no plan to cancel any of our programming based on coronavirus. Karmê Chöling is actively developing protocols to address and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Please check our blog regularly to see more of what we are doing to keep everyone safe and healthy.

As part of our preparations for the upcoming season, we are consulting with medical professionals and other knowledgeable sources, including the Infection Preventionist at the local hospital and the Vermont Deptartment of Health, to establish new procedures to minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19. When you come, you will see both physical and operational changes informed by best practices in health and safety — and you may find yourself on a doorknob sanitizing team.

Karmê Chöling is taking the situation seriously, and we are also committed to offering a sane and safe practice container, especially in this time when fear and confusion are so prevalent.

DO follow common sense precautions: If you are at risk because of chronic health conditions, monitor travel advisories from WHO. If you are ill, whether COVID-19 or the common cold, stay at home where you will not risk infecting others.

We look forward to hosting you this summer. If anything changes, we will let you know. Until then, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our Rusung, Andy Benson, who is leading the charge towards COVID safely.  He is available at rusung@karmecholing.org.

Marian English
Director of Practice, Education & Programs



  1. This is extremely irresponsible. Dharma centers all over the country are closing down operations for weeks or months and so should KCL. Disgraceful. Many people will get infected as a direct and indirect result of this foolish decision to continue programming.

  2. Mike de Give says:

    Hi Petee.

    Thanks for your reply. I understand your comment and that it comes from a place of deep concern.

    We do not ramp up programming until the end of April. And since, on a daily basis, we are monitoring the counsel of the Vermont Department of Health, we feel we have time to take further measures before anyone arrives for the program season, including canceling programs if that is what is called for.

    As we said above, If you are ill, whether COVID-19 or the common cold, stay at home where you will not risk infecting others. If you are at risk because of chronic health conditions, monitor travel advisories from WHO.

    We are consulting with medical professionals on protocols of health and safety, and on a daily basis are reassessing our options as the end of April approaches. We will update this blog as our response to the virus changes, based on medical advice.

  3. Louis Linsley says:

    Ok. I appreciate the steps you’re taking to protect the Sangha and visitors from COVID-19.. But, do you believe it prudent to rely on folks coming to KCL to self diagnose?
    In other countries up to 80% people infected with COVID-19 have mild to No Symptoms. The virus lives on surfaces for over two days.
    COVID-19 is a big, big problem.

    • Mike de Give says:

      Hi Louis.

      Karme Choling is committed to helping flatten the curve of the spread of COVID-19. There is no opportunity for any visitor to self-diagnose because we are not allowing visitors on the land at this time. Even long-time employees and volunteers who usually arrive each workday are currently not allowed on the land. The only people in the house are the same people that have spent all winter together.

      Before this self-imposed two-week quarantine is over, we are going to re-evaluate the situation using local medical resources and the Vermont Department of Health as guidance. If it’s not safe to re-open, we will extend the quarantine. We do not want to risk exposing others, or ourselves, any more than you do.

      We’ve made our first two events of the program season available via online-streaming, since social distancing will very likely still be in effect.

      Thanks for your concern. We share that concern. I hope I have been able to make things clearer. If not, please let me know.

  4. I very much look forward to my volunteer experience in July but am very aware that this may or may not be possible.
    We all have legitimate concerns regarding this virus situation. It is my hope that we all can remain calm and act responsibly within the guidance of CDC and other professionals. I trust that the staff at KC holds the highest regard for all concerned and will not make decisions that could potentially cause harm.
    This situation has heightened our awareness of uncertainty and magnified just how terrible it feels. Yesterday I was listening to a talk by Pema Chödrön speaking on a different topic but still quite relevant. I found this very helpful “place the fearful mind in the cradle of loving kindness” it’s a beautiful image. Let’s continue to see each other as whole, healthy, and complete. Let’s hold each other in the cradle of loving kindness.

    • Mike de Give says:

      Hi Gia.
      We sure look forward to your volunteer time, and to meeting you, whenever health and safety makes that possible. We’re looking over our entire programs calendar, particularly the programs scheduled in what would normally be the beginning of our season, to reschedule retreats to a time that makes more sense.
      Until then, as you say, let’s all hold our minds in the cradle of loving kindness.