Canyon Ranch

Mindi Morin, managing director of Canyon Ranch in Lenox, says the resort is notifying guests who stayed at the facility last week, after an employee tested positive for COVID-19. 

LENOX — In an unusual move, the town’s school district leader is allowing the head of Canyon Ranch in Lenox to respond publicly to an accusation against the luxury destination resort voiced at a recent parents meeting.

According to interim schools Superintendent William Cameron, a parent attending a remote informational meeting last week alleged that the resort “is flouting federal and state COVID-19 directives and guidelines.”

The unidentified parent claimed that “some students attending Lenox’s public schools are children of Canyon Ranch employees; by implication, these children might therefore be more likely to bring the novel coronavirus into Morris Elementary School and Lenox Memorial Middle and High School than other children,” Cameron wrote in a prepared statement.

Cameron said that the public school district “does not ordinarily distribute commercial information through its schools or its e-mail system, and doing so would open a door that we could not close.”

Canyon Ranch Managing Director Mindi Morin did not attend the remote meeting at which the accusation was made, but she requested that her response be made public.

“Under the circumstances, I agreed,” Cameron said. “I do not see Ms. Morin’s letter as an advertisement for a local business. Rather, I see it as offering Canyon Ranch an opportunity to respond to accusatory claims made about it at a public meeting sponsored by the Lenox Public Schools.”

The letter from Morin was shared in an email blast with the school community.

“Our disseminating this document is not an endorsement of Canyon Ranch’s services,” Cameron said. “It is simply an opportunity for a party aggrieved by what was said about it at a public meeting, a meeting convened by the Lenox Public Schools, to have an opportunity to respond to those claims.”

In her response, Morin emphasized that Canyon Ranch “has taken our hygiene protocols to a higher level than ever, and made adaptations to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Our standards meet or exceed government and regulatory guidance, and the guidance of our own team of experts” led by Dr. Richard Carmona, a former U.S. surgeon general.

She explained that, except for visitors from states exempted from Gov. Charlie Baker’s requirements, all guests are informed of the obligation to self-quarantine for 14 days when visiting Massachusetts, or produce a negative COVID test result given up to 72 hours before arrival. The notification occurs during the reservation and check-in procedures, Morin stated.

Morin wrote that the visitor policies reflect guidelines from the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other relevant government authorities.

She also listed a series of specific requirements:

• All guests receive a pre-arrival mandatory screening to verify health status and answer any questions;

• All guests and staff members have temperatures checked upon arrival;

• Ranch staff and guests must wear cloth masks at all times, except in guest rooms, while eating, swimming, receiving certain spa services and while outdoors with 6-foot safe distancing;

• All dining venues will be set and monitored for safe 6-foot distancing and in line with state occupancy guidelines. Buffet and salad bars are suspended until further notice.

The list of required precautions is the same as was issued before Canyon Ranch reopened to guests July 23.

In her statement, Morin stressed that “as a long-time business partner of the Lenox Public Schools, we have always supported our community, schools and students and will continue to do so during this ‘new normal.’ ”

She urged anyone with additional questions or interested in touring the property to contact her directly. Her e-mail address is

Clarence Fanto can be reached at, on Twitter

@BE_cfanto or at 413-637-2551.