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COVID-19 Update -- Winter Plan for Indoor Minyan

10/29/2020 03:56:11 PM

Oct29

 

11 Marheshvan 5781
October 28, 2020
 
Dear Young Israel Community,
 
After seven months of Zoom, canopies, parking lots and tents, we are pleased to announce that Young Israel of West Hartford will be reopening our building for indoor daily and Shabbat services, on days the weather warrants it, beginning immediately! This is a huge step forward, as the harshness of fall and winter loom around the corner. 
 
While we are excited about returning to our shul, we want to emphasize to you that our priority is the safety and well-being of every member of our community. To that end, we have made several modifications that will enable us to gather indoors safely, such as HVAC adjustments, enabling additional fresh airflow into the building, navigating the flow of foot traffic in the building, designating seating areas, and much more. We will continue to evaluate & reassess these protocols and ask that you embrace them. Working together, we can look forward to returning to our shul and keeping ourselves and each other as safe as possible. 
 
Moving forward, our Shabbat Sign Up will only open on Thursdays. This will allow us to make an informed decision considering the weekend’s weather and deciding to plan for either an outdoor or indoor minyan. Our plan is to continue to utilize our outdoor minyan space for as long as possible – provided the forecast is above 45 F and does not call for precipitation. Please be sure to carefully read the time and location of the minyan, as it has the potential to change each week
 
Weekly minyan too will continue to operate outdoors, weather permitting. We ask that you please sign up in advance with the recognition that we will convene inside if weather conditions require. Each day at approximately 5 pm, we will assess the next day's weather and notify attendees if the minyan be will inside or outside.
 
New indoor guidelines & modifications are listed below and are available here. Additionally, revised outdoor guidelines can be accessed herePlease review and familiarize yourself with both of them!
 
We want to also highlight one additional, significant change, specifically. Due to physical distancing requirements, we have been forced to greatly reduce the number of usable seats when we are in the sanctuary. We can only seat 20 pods, which roughly a maximum of 30 individuals per service (depending on groupings). To give as many people as possible the opportunity to daven in shul, particularly on Shabbat morning, we have added an overflow sign up. If enough people sign up in this section, then we will have a second Shabbat morning minyan. We can only permit those who have signed up online, prior to services, to enter the building. By the same token, if you sign up – please be sure to come! 
 
We recognize that, unfortunately, we are continuing to see a surge of COVID-19 around the country and across our state. We continue to carefully monitor these background external factors as well and include them in our decision-making process at every juncture.
 
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Rabbi Brander (rabbi@youngisraelwh.org) or our COVID-19 Medical Committee (dr@youngisraelwh.org).
 
Thank you in advance for your understanding and continued diligence in keeping yourselves and our community safe.
 
The Young Israel of West Hartford COVID-19 Task Force
 
Indoor Minyan Guidelines

Rev. 10/29/2020

 
Moving our weekday & Shabbat minyan indoors has benefits and risks; we will enjoy a more comfortable venue that shields us from the elements, with a small decline in safety from COVID-19 exposure. Our default minyan space will still be outside, weather permitting (>45 F and no precipitation); please review our outdoor minyan guidelines here.
 
Please note that everyone must decide what makes sense for their own health. Our goal is to create the safest protocol we can for returning indoors while recognizing that we can never eliminate all risks.
 
1. Masks that cover both the nose and mouth must be worn at all times, before entering the building and during the entire time in the building.
     a. Masks may not have valves.
     b. Children 2 years old and above must remain in a mask with a parent at all times.
     c. Children who are unable to remain masked by parent, unfortunately, should not be brought to Shul at this time.
     d. Neither children nor adults may remove their masks to eat or drink while in the building.
 
2. Health/Travel - All attendees must be in good health. Anyone who meets any of the following conditions will NOT be allowed inside:
     a. Illness for you or household members within the last 14 days
     b. COVID-19 in yourself or close contact with person with COVID-19 in the last 14 days
     c. Travel to a quarantine state (per current CT state guidelines), commercial airline travel or in a public gathering in a known COVID-19 hot-spot within the last 14 days
 
3. All minyan attendees must immediately notify Rabbi Brander or our COVID-19 Medical Task Force should they become ill or diagnosed with COVID-19. This information will remain anonymous but will be used to alert other minyan attendees of a potential COVID-19 positive contact. 
 
4. Online Signup - All attendees will be required to sign up for each minyan in advance; anyone not signed up will be asked to complete an information card for each minyan prior to entering the building; if a minyan is full, anyone who did not sign-up in advance, will not be admitted.
 
4.  Entry/Exit - Everyone must enter & exit the shul through the rear door, at the top of the ramp. The front doors and rear social hall door will remain locked.
 
5. Seating - There is a 10’ minimum between pods. Seating is only permitted in designated areas (pods). Seating in all other areas is not permitted. Please do not adjust seats, chairs or taped barriers.
 
6. Upon entering the sanctuary, everyone must go directly to their seats and remain there through davening – those wandering will be redirected to their seats.
 
7. The coat rooms will NOT be available for use at this time. Everyone should keep their coats, hats and rain gear by their seat.
 
9. Restrooms - Both bathrooms will be available for use. Please note that only one person may be downstairs at a time. There will be a “Bathroom in Use” sign in the main lobby, at the top of the stairs. Please turn the sign to the appropriate side when going to/returning from the bathroom.
 
10. When minyan is over, everyone should exit the building, maintaining at least 6 feet between people. 
 
11. The HVAC systems will be set to run and filter the air the entire time that people are in the building.
 
12.  The rear door and back windows will remain open to help maintain fresh air circulation – please leave them open.

 

Sun, May 16 2021 5 Sivan 5781