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Re-Opening Protocols and Information

 

The re-opening committee, which includes congregational physicians, will continue to monitor conditions in our community, as well as guidance from government agencies. We have an extremely high level of vaccinated adults, although we are aware that children are not yet vaccinated, and we will be seeing non-Temple members and service people.

No doubt our procedures and guidelines will change as we learn more. We will do our best to provide an environment that is safe and welcoming. As always, we welcome your comments and questions.

It's been a long time since we have been able to pray and hug and sing and meet and learn in our beautiful building. We can be grateful for our members and staff who have sustained us and allowed us to reach this place. 

Summary

There will be one entrance to the building. Everyone who comes in will have to sign in. (On Shabbat, Frank will be available to sign people in if desired.) 
Vaccinated people will not be required to wear masks, but should bring masks for particular situations (bathroom.) Disposable masks for grown ups and kids will be available.

Services will be held upstairs, with adequate fresh air. Unvaccinated individuals should remain masked. They should maintain social distancing. A separate section will be set aside for them during services.

We will continue to Zoom services and some events. 
Food service will be buffet only.
New protocols for school will be announced later in the summer.


Detailed Protocols from The Re-Opening Committee

Executive Summary

 

A high local rate of vaccination, a low incidence of COVID in Massachusetts and the elimination of many state regulations limiting gatherings now make the safe opening of TAA possible. Many members of the congregation have come together to form a reopening committee which has developed these protocols and plans which, hopefully, will allow for the resumption of services, celebrations, in-person meetings and other aspects of temple life that have been on hold or online for the last sixteen months. The Temple plans to reopen on July 17 with the safety protocols presented in this report,
 
As you will see, the protocols presented in this report are based on guidance developed by a number of our congregation physicians and are consistent with the latest scientific understanding of the coronavirus, the way it spreads and the effectiveness of COVID vaccination. We recognize that other religious institutions have taken this information and developed reopening protocols that may differ from ours. We have tried to create a reopening that is safe and meets the needs of our specific congregation and is appropriate for the state of the pandemic in our area.
 
The risk of getting seriously ill with COVID is very low among vaccinated individuals, and the vaccination rate among our congregants is quite high. Therefore, we feel that vaccinated individuals should not be required to wear masks or keep socially distant from others when in the Temple, except when in the bathrooms where masks will be required for all.

But even though our highly-vaccinated congregation is unlikely to spread the virus, unvaccinated individuals remain at risk and still need to take precautions. Therefore, we will require anyone unvaccinated to wear a mask, except when eating and drinking, and to maintain 6 feet of distance from others at all times.
 
In order to maintain a safe environment for all inside the Temple, we will need to inform all who enter of our protocols and to keep track of who is coming into the building. Entry for anyone will need to be pre-planned and coordinated with our office and/or our leadership. Everyone will need to sign into a log book that will allow us to perform contact tracing in the unlikely event that becomes necessary. There will be a “greeter’ at the front door for all events and meetings who will assure safe flow into the building.
 
Services will be held in the upstairs sanctuary. The large space and access to the balcony will allow for adequate distancing and air circulation. We will have traditional services with Torah reading and aliyot, modified to some extent to accommodate distancing. Singing will remain an integral part of our services, though unvaccinated attendees will need to remain masked.
 
Zoom and other technologies will continue to allow community members who are unable to return to TAA in person to participate in the life of the Temple.
 
After being idle for 16 months, the kitchen will return to action after a thorough cleaning. Protocols to allow for the safe preparation and serving of food have been developed and there will be kiddush and other activities in the near future.
 
Children under 12 remain ineligible for vaccination, but their needs must be met as the Temple reopens. A group of physicians and educators has developed protocols for the safe participation of children in temple activities. The plan for the safe reopening of the school in September is being developed and will be announced later in the summer.
 
A more detailed description of the TAA reopening plan is presented in the pages that follow.


Physicians’ Guidance

 

Vaccinated individuals are at very low risk of developing COVID-19 or spreading the virus. Therefore, they are not required to wear masks or to maintain social distancing between each other either indoors or outdoors, except when in the bathrooms where masks will be required for all.

Unvaccinated individuals will be able to attend TAA activities by wearing masks and by maintaining 6 feet of distance between themselves and non-family members when inside the Temple.

There should be exceptions to mask wearing. These include individuals with a medical exception, and children under 2 years old. Children 2-5 years old should wear a mask at their parents’ discretion.

It is appropriate to begin outdoor activities now. No one is required to wear a mask outdoors, but unvaccinated individuals must maintain 3 feet of distance between themselves and others.   

Some individuals should not attend Temple activities. This includes:

Anyone with the following symptoms: fever >100 or chills, body aches, headache, shortness of breath, runny nose or congestion, sore throat, new loss of taste of smell, fatigue, vomiting or diarrhea
Any unvaccinated individual who has had close contact with a COVID-19 positive  person
Anyone who has been asked to quarantine by a doctor or public health official

Everyone entering the Temple should be met by a greeter. The role of the greeter is to sign in attendees for contact tracing purposes, to communicate safety measures and rules and to oversee orderly entry.

The Temple should maintain a remote option, such as Zoom, to allow those who still feel vulnerable to participate in temple life.

We will have masks, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes available to attendees.

TAA may exercise its right to refuse entry to anyone who refuses to wear a mask or follow its protocols.

Fully vaccinated individuals can sing as usual, but unvaccinated individuals 12 and older should avoid singing or sing quietly to themselves. Unvaccinated children under 12 may sing if masked. All unvaccinated individuals must stay 6 feet away from others at all times, including when singing.

Adequate ventilation will be maintained. Windows and doors will be open when possible and appropriate.

No special cleaning of books or tallit is necessary.

No special cleaning of the Temple and bathrooms is necessary.

Masks will be required if more than one person is in a bathroom at one time. Sanitizing wipes will be available in the bathrooms.

The local Board of Health will be notified if TAA learns that a member or worker tests positive.

All TAA related events will follow the above protocols.


Access to the Temple

 

The Temple is OPEN! (with new procedures)
Access to the Temple will be controlled and pre-planned.
Only one door will be used for access at any given time.
There will be masks and the Log Book by the Temple entrance. 
The doors need to be locked when there is no greeter to welcome members and visitors.
Anyone (including guests, workers and delivery people) who wants to enter the Temple needs to coordinate with the office and sign in the Log Book upon arrival.
Access via the back door code must be limited to a few vaccinated individuals and controlled by Temple leadership.
Entering the Temple for services, meetings, events and other gatherings
Every gathering will have a leader to take responsibility for the adherence to safety protocols. Every event should be added to the Temple calendar. (Call or email Jasmine)
There needs to be a greeter (Jasmine, volunteer, meeting chair, Frank) for all gatherings, including small meetings.) They should be ready to greet 15 minutes before the meeting.
See greeter script for how to welcome participants and guests.

Greeter responsibilities
The greeter must ensure that all who enter read the posted health & safety protocols.
The greeter must ensure everyone entering the building for their event signs the Log Book.
The location of the socially distant section needs to be clearly visible to all attendees. 

Attendee responsibilities
Everyone entering the building (including guests, workers, delivery individuals, etc) must sign in and, if not a Temple Member, record a contact phone number.
Everyone entering the building must follow the appropriate protocols.

Find our full list of protocols and information, including protocols for Neighborhood Shabbat, Lifecycle Events, and signage you can expect to see at the Temple HERE

Sat, July 24 2021 15 Av 5781