Updated: August 29, 2022
COVID-19 remains widespread and has become more transmissible. Moreover, while vaccines are safe and effective in preventing the most serious and fatal consequences of COVID, the current variants present serious health risks even for vaccinated individuals. Those variants have been shown to evade much of current immunity, and are still able to cause long COVID and other serious complications in vulnerable individuals. As a result, COVID continues to be much more dangerous than the flu. Recognizing this, Kerem Shalom’s Board of Directors, acting on advice from its COVID-19 Task Force, has adopted the following policies for all services and synagogue-sponsored events in our building.
- Attendees Must Be Fully Vaccinated: Everyone entering the building must be fully vaccinated. This means you have received the base COVID-19 vaccine doses (two doses of Pfizer or Moderna or one dose of Johnson and Johnson) AND at least one booster (if eligible). We strongly encourage everyone to get all additional boosters for which they are eligible. If you have not yet received these vaccinations please join us in community via Zoom.
- Attendees Must Wear Masks: Everyone is required to wear a mask, covering both the nose and mouth, when in the building unless speaking to someone who is deaf or hard of hearing. Note that masks should have at least two layers of fabric. (These mask recommendations from the CDC may be helpful.)
- Speakers Can Be Unmasked but Must Test: Anyone who will be speaking from the bimah can do so without a mask, but can do so only if they have received a negative result from a rapid antigen test within 24 hours prior to the service or event where they are speaking.
- If you test positive or have been exposed: Please do not attend in-person events during the isolation periods described in the CDC’s detailed guidelines for those who have COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. In addition, please do not attend large gatherings at Kerem Shalom, such as High Holy Day services, during the time when the CDC guidelines call for those who had COVID-19 to wear masks in public settings. We prefer (but do not require) that people also follow this guidance for other services and events at Kerem Shalom.
- Eating is Allowed …But Only in Separated Spaces: Onegs after services and other food are allowed only in places and forms where people who remain masked will not come in contact with people who are unmasked. Post-service onegs, for example, will take place in settings away from the sanctuary, the atrium, and the entrance such as the Social Hall, the far end of the lobby near the school wing, or outside.
- Assess Your Own Situation: Although we are taking these precautions, please keep in mind that COVID-19 remains a very contagious disease. If you have any concerns about attending an in-person service or event at Kerem Shalom you should evaluate your personal risk by reviewing this information from the CDC and, possibly, contacting your healthcare provider to discuss your situation.
These policies, which were last updated in August 2022, are regularly reviewed by the COVID-19 Task Force, which meets regularly to assess current trends and new information and, if needed, to recommend new policies to the board. The task force also reviews proposals for special events and activities at Kerem Shalom.
Thank you for your help in mitigating COVID risk at Kerem Shalom and for continuing to come together in community during these challenging times.