Covid-19 Policy – 2023 Retreat – Updated July 31, 2023

Updated July 31, 2023 – The Arabic Music Retreat aims to make its in-person event safe for everyone. We care deeply about the health of our participants and faculty.

Message from Simon Shaheen:

We are 12 days away from gathering once more at Mount Holyoke College for the 2023 Arabic Music Retreat. We are all looking forward to meeting once again in person for the first time since 2019.

We have finalized our Covid policy and protocols for this year’s event. First and foremost, we care deeply about everyone’s well-being. You should know that Covid is not gone. It is still present, and people are being infected. We have participants and faculty who are immunocompromised. Some participants and faculty will be traveling to the Retreat from around the world. And if a faculty member gets sick at the Retreat, we have no replacements for them. 

Given this situation, our goal at the Retreat is to provide a safe, Covid-free environment for all the participants and faculty. We ask for your cooperation in making that happen, and we ask you to do the following.

Before the Retreat:

– In the week before the Retreat, be careful with possible Covid exposure.
– While you are traveling to the Retreat, please wear a KN95 mask on planes, buses and trains. The blue surgical masks and cloth masks are not effective, so please wear a KN95.
– On August 12th, BEFORE you arrive at the Retreat, please take a Covid antigen test that has not reached its expiration date. If you test positive, please do not come to the Retreat and contact Kay Campbell at:
– On August 12th, if you are not feeling well, (fever, cough, sneezing) please do not come to the Retreat; and contact Kay Campbell at
– Bring one Covid ‘antigen’ test and a KN95 mask with you to the Retreat.

During the Retreat:

– Bring your KN95 mask with you every day at the Retreat. All participants will be asked to wear a KN95 mask at times, such as in Simon Shaheen’s daily ear training class. It is a large class in which we all will be singing together.
– If your teacher or ensemble leader asks you to wear a mask, please do so.
– Please don’t share woodwind instruments with others.
– Wash your hands often, use hand sanitizer, and be aware of the distance between you and others.
– If you want to wear a mask, we encourage that and you are welcome to do so.
– If you get cold-like symptoms (fever, sore throat, sneezing) please check in with Iman or Patricia.

Thank you for your cooperation in helping to keep all of us safe during our week together.

My best regards,

Simon Shaheen

If you have questions about our Covid policy please email