YES! Our Plan Is to Gather IN PERSON!
Despite the success of last year's virtual retreat, we have decided to plan for the best and prepare for the worst. The "best" is clearly our gathering safely in person October 21st-24th for our 18th annual O'Flaherty Irish Music Retreat at Camp Hoblitzelle in Midlothian, Texas. In preparing for the "worst," if the pandemic prevents us from meeting in person, we will resort to a virtual event which we know how to do now.
Of course, we'll be paying close attention to the CDC and other federal, state and local health agencies as October approaches. All predictions so far lead us to believe that it will be safe to meet. We will follow CDC guidelines that are issued at the time, and the safety of our students, staff and instructors will remain our top priority.
We already have made some changes in anticipation of future guidelines. We have limited the number of classes by a third. This was done because we only want to reserve classroom spaces that would accommodate six feet of physical distancing between students. We are also considering modifications to our concerts and dining as well as capping student enrollment. These decisions will be based on the science and data provided in the coming months. By the end of summer, we will make any necessary adjustments.
We have already been asked if we will require participants to be fully vaccinated. The answer is no because there is no legal way for us to verify if they do. However, we will encourage people to get vaccinated, not just to protect themselves, but everyone else. We know that some will still consider the risk too high, and we regret that you won't join us this year. This virus has certainly taken its toll, and your concerns are valid. For those that choose to come, we will celebrate Irish music together at last and perhaps with a renewed passion. Until then, be safe and be well!