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COVID-19 and Regathering Update - June 2021

We are delighted to share this important update on our re-opening and re-gathering plans on behalf of our Covid-19 Task Force and the Board of Directors.
We are moving directly to the final phase of our re-opening plan, in which all restrictions to gathering for events and services at the congregation, overseen by the Covid-19 Task Force, have been lifted.

What this means to you:
1)    Anyone who feels more comfortable continuing to wear a face mask is welcome to do so. If you are unvaccinated you must continue to wear a face mask at indoor gatherings.
2)    While our Task Force has completed their work, we may continue to have some restrictions in place, as determined by staff in consultation with experts and lay leadership. These may include:
a.     Protocols for our Religious school students who are under 12. We will be setting up classrooms than enable us to maintain distance and will follow guidance for educational settings.
b.     Outdoor family services for August and September and at High Holy Days for under 12s and early childhood, weather permitting, to maximize the comfort of all.
c.     We will survey the congregation later this summer to help us determine the comfort level of our members in being gathered indoors in large numbers. This will help guide any adaptations we might make to High Holy Day services. We have created a schedule of services that allow us the flexibility to respond, as needed, based on what we learn from you.

Why now is the right time:
1)    Our task force has been guided by the science and the numbers of cases in the community throughout the pandemic to discern what we can do that is ‘low risk.’
2)    We are now approaching 90% of the population aged 12 and up in the local towns from which we primarily draw being vaccinated. Those who have been attending our Shabbat services since May have been almost 100% vaccinated.
3)    There were fewer than 50 cases of Covid-19 in the entire State of MA reported this week and the percent positivity of Covid-19 tests this week was 0.34% We have observed no increase in Covid cases in the weeks following Memorial Day weekend.
4)    The high efficacy of vaccination has been proven to date. We urge everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated. If you have any concerns or questions regarding vaccination, Dr. Alan Ehrlich who has served on our Covid-19 Task Force and on the Board of Health for the Town of Westborough, has made himself available to talk with you. You can contact him here
Keeping the good from the pandemic:
While we look forward to returning to so many aspects of congregational life in the coming months, we have also learned a great deal during the pandemic that will guide us as we move forward. This includes the following:
·      As we plan to reintroduce an Oneg Shabbat (dessert reception) in the coming weeks, we will add some health and safety guidelines that will be helpful for the long-term future.
·      We will continue to make all of our services and as many of our adult learning and cultural programs as possible available to access on Livestream or Zoom.
·      We have learned that the best way to avoid spreading any illness is to stay home when sick!
Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to express enormous gratitude to our members who served on our Covid-19 Task Force over the past 1.5 years. They often met weekly and their dedication to the task and to the health and safety of our staff and congregants was remarkable. We thank the Chair of the Task Force, Dr. Glenn Randall, and Task Force members Dr. Alan Ehlich, Dr. Andrea Ciaranello, Matt Wein, Amy Rosenberg, Greg Manousos, Lauren Randall, and Judy Kalman. Steve Winer, Rabbi Eiduson, Rabbi Gurevitz and Steven Goldstein also served on the Task Force. And our gratitude to those who served in the earlier stages of the pandemic: Rebecca Kushins, Kristin Vincent, and Shari Bedar.

Rabbi Rachel Gurevitz

Steven Goldstein, Temple President.

Sat, July 24 2021 15 Av 5781