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Covid-19 Response

Updated COVID-19 Guidelines 

We hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the beautiful summer weather. We wanted to communicate some changes to our COVID policies. The MAC has continued to meet monthly and continues to monitor the pandemic and other factors to ensure the health and safety of our community. Considering the slowly improving picture for COVID in Massachusetts and the recognition that the vast majority of infections are mild, the MAC has decided to make some changes in its recommendations that seek to balance safety and comfort for the community. WHAT IS CHANGING: The following changes will go into effect this coming Shabbat, August 13, 2022.  Eating Indoors: We will now allow eating indoors. This means that kiddush will be moved indoors and you are allowed to take your mask off while you are actively eating or drinking. We will continue to provide outdoor seating for those who prefer to eat outdoors while the weather permits. We believe that it is reasonable in the current environment to leave this choice up to each individual’s evaluation of risk and personal safety. Services: We are restoring duchening/birkat kohanim (Priestly Blessing) to our services as had been our longstanding practice prior to COVID. WHAT IS STAYING THE SAME: Masks: We are continuing to require that all congregants entering the building be masked while in the building. This includes service leaders and anyone singing or chanting, including haftarah. Speakers may remove their masks when alone on the bima. We have carefully considered the ongoing need for all of these policies and this one is no exception but we recognize it bears some explanation. As much as we all wish otherwise, the virus is still very much circulating. While it is causing milder illness than earlier strains, it is not at all reliably harmless and is in all cases quite disruptive. We believe the evidence continues to support the conclusion that mask use in group activities limits the spread of the infection and we do not want to put anyone in the position of having to choose between participating in our prayer services and their own safety. This policy will be for now, but we will continue to monitor the pandemic and make changes in the future as warranted. Vaccination: We continue to encourage everyone to be vaccinated. While we will not continue to require vaccination for entry to the building, unvaccinated individuals, and children above the age of 2 are required to wear a medical grade mask over their nose and mouth while in the building. Please see below for separate rules for children while attending Hertz Nursery School. Kitchen: If you are holding an event at the Temple, you will be allowed to use the kitchen to heat and prepare food. Please note that anyone in the kitchen must wear a Level 2 or higher mask (as labeled on the box) and as always adhere to all kitchen kashrut policies. If you have any questions, please reach out to Karen Nahary, Services: We continue to abstain from the Torah processional during the Torah service. It will remain suspended until further notice. This means that the Torah will stay on the bimah for the entire Torah service. All service leaders (including Haftarah readers) must wear a mask when singing or chanting, even if they are the only ones on the bimah. Religious School: We will continue to be a mask-friendly environment which means that masking will be a personal choice by the parent(s) for their child(ren). COVID Awareness: Given the extreme contagiousness of the current COVID variant, it is absolutely incumbent upon all of us to absent ourselves or family members from the Temple if there is any sign or symptom of infection.  HERTZ NURSERY SCHOOL: Masks: We will continue to be a mask-friendly environment which means that masking will be a personal choice by the parent for their child(ren). Drop off/Pick Up: This can happen at the classroom door rather than the front door. Any parent/guardian not vaccinated must wear a mask covering their nose and mouth while in the building. All vaccinated parents and guardians in the building for longer than 15 minutes must wear a mask the entire time they are in the building. If the parent or guardian designated for drop-off or pick-up has been exposed to COVID-19 or has symptoms, they are asked not to enter the building and rather to be in touch with Leisa Glass for special arrangements. Vaccination: We continue to encourage everyone to be vaccinated. If you are looking for a vaccination appointment for your child, you can contact their pediatrician or use the Massachusetts VaxFinder website: . Thanks for your attention and wishing you and your family all the best and good health.

Medical Advisory Committee (MAC)                              Neil Aronson, President
Mark Popovsky, M.D., Chair                                          Karen Nahary, Executive Director           
Allie Hershey, NP, APRN
Rafi Kieval, M.D.
Ken Sperber, M.D.

Tue, August 16 2022 19 Av 5782