Preventing the Spread of COVID-19
With COVID-19 vaccinations having been available to the public for multiple months, the Jesuit Retreat House has modified its COVID-19 protocols in accord with the Center for Disease Control's Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People. People are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 two weeks after having received the second dose or the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The Jesuit Retreat House has resumed whole group gatherings during its summer directed retreats. This includes Masses, reconciliation and healing services, and dining. These gatherings do not ensure social distancing.
While Winnebago County and many other Wisconsin counties are rated as areas of substantial or high level COVID transmission, all retreatants must wear masks when in public indoor settings. This includes Masses, prayer services, and common areas. Retreatants will be reminded of the current transmission level when they arrive at JRH. All retreatants should bring masks with them and be prepared to mask. Masks must cover the nose and mouth and should fit snugly against the sides of your face and under the chin.
When Winnebago County (and other Wisconsin counties) is at a low or moderate transmission level, fully vaccinated retreatants do not need to wear a mask when at JRH. Still, we ask and expect retreatants who are not fully vaccinated to wear a mask when indoors and not in their bedrooms. Also, anyone-vaccinated or unvaccinated-who within the two weeks prior to arriving at JRH has a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 must wear a mask when indoors but not in their bedrooms unless they have received a negative test result since the exposure.
JRH recommends mask wearing for retreatants who are immunocompromised or at increased risk for severe disease from COVID-19, or if they have someone in their household who is immunocompromised, at increased risk of severe disease or not fully vaccinated. This recommendation is regardless of vaccination status and local transmission level.
The Art Room, Loyola Lounge, 12-Step Library, Manresa lounges, Sacred Heart and Annunciation Chapels, and exercise room are open to all retreatants. Retreatants who are not fully vaccinated must wear a face mask in these areas, including the exercise room. Bicycles are available for use outdoors.
Be assured that JRH staff are following the above guidance based on their vaccination status and personal health concerns.
JRH recommends being vaccinated against COVID-19 unless underlying health conditions deem otherwise. As the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has stated, "being vaccinated safely against COVID-19 should be considered an act of love of our neighbor and part of our moral responsibility for the common good." If you are sick or feeling ill, please stay home and care for your health.
Retreatants MUST bring:
Mask(s) - All retreatants should bring with them a mask in case it is needed. We ask and expect retreatants who are not fully vaccinated to wear a mask when indoors and not in their bedrooms.
- Per CDC recommendations, people who are not fully vaccinated are asked to wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose in common areas inside the building. Socially distancing is also recommended. It is not necessary to mask outdoors unless you cannot maintain 6-foot physical distance.
- Sanitizing & medical supplies - Bring the medical and/or sanitizing items needed for you to feel comfortable and safe during your stay; a basic level of sanitizing will be done on-site by staff, but if more is desired it is best that you bring it with you.
Other items you may want to bring:
- Art supplies - The Art Room will be open.
- Books, reading materials - Your room will have a Bible but no other reading materials; books in the Loyola Lounge and 12-Step Library are accessible, but sanitize your hands before/after use.
- Music players & headphones -Are no longer provided in Loyola Lounge; bring your own devices to listen to music; headphones required.
- Snacks - Self-serve items in our snack area will be available. Please follow posted/announced guidelines.
- Writing materials and supplies for journaling and making notes - A pen and some sheets of paper will be in your room; if you think you'll want more, please bring those writing supplies and materials with you.
- Your name tag, lanyard, key card, orientation information, and retreat schedule will be in your room, along with a Bible, pen, and some paper.
- Each room has an alarm clock, two sets of towels and washcloths, small bars of soap, and bed linens and blankets. Your bedspread and a white comforter are stored in the room dresser. If used during your stay, leave the bedspread and/or comforter in the open so that we know that it needs to be laundered.
- Additional room items may be found in the "guest supplies" closets labeled and located on both wings of the first and second floors, including sets of towels, bed linens, pillows, First Aid kits, fans, tissues, bars of soap, and hangars, etc.
- In your room you will have a schedule giving the times for Mass, meals, prayer services, etc. There will be no Mass the first night.
- Your schedule shows who and where you will meet for direction during the retreat. Each director will meet their retreatants as a group that first night and at that time will set your time to meet.
Meals & Snacks
- Retreatants with immunocompromised conditions and those with special dietary needs, please contact the retreat house prior to arrival.
- We ask that all retreatants use hand sanitizer just prior to entering the buffet-style serving line, using the salad bar, or enjoying the self-serve snack area with beverages, fruit, cookies, cereals, and snacks.
Masses & Services
- Returning retreatants will notice some minor changes to the reconciliation and healing services while still offering the spiritual and sacramental sustenance retreatants have found helpful in retreat.
- Live music and singing is still limited.
- The retreat concludes with Mass, breakfast, and departure on the final morning.
- Please let us know after returning home if you should experience COVID-19 symptoms, or receive a positive COVID-19 test result, so that we can notify others on retreat and on our staff with whom you had close contact.