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UPDATES TO OUR COVID POLICY FROM OUR REOPENING COMMITTEE

Effective 05/19/22

For services, events, and group meetings at Temple Sinai (whether or not open to the public, and including rental events), facial coverings (preferably high quality, such as N95 or KN95) are required for entry into the building and while in the building (with the exception of children under 2). 

The exception to this rule is events involving food (e.g. Onegs after services), for which individuals may remove their facial coverings to eat or drink and for which participation means that you consent to being near others who are also unmasked. (We strongly encourage replacing masks when not eating.). For such events, consistent with our values, Temple Sinai will continue to work to be inclusive by providing parallel opportunities, such a separate space during the Oneg for those who wish to remain masked, and by offering to-go (GoNeg!) food. Similar opportunities will be offered for other events. We will also look for opportunities to have food events outdoors, weather permitting. Facial coverings continue to be required at all times for those who cannot be "Up to Date" on vaccination for medical reasons and those who have had a "close contact" within the last 10 days with someone who is COVID positive.

We want to clarify rules about vaccinations. We continue to require anyone 5 years old and up entering Temple Sinai to be "Up to Date," per CDC guidelines (generally this means fully vaccinated plus a booster when eligible; questions and exceptions for medical reasons may be addressed with Drew Barkley). We reserve the right to require proof of vaccination upon entry.

We also want to clarify rules for anyone who has had a positive COVID test. To again enter the building we require the person to (a) have had a subsequent negative test, (b) be free of any fever, and (c) be at least 7 days from the onset of symptoms or the first positive test. For clarity, if the first positive test was on a Thursday (Day 0) the person is allowed to return on the following Friday (Day 8). A mask must still be worn at all times through at least Sunday (Day 10).

We appreciate everyone's patience and flexibility with our challenges as the public health situation continues to evolve and we work to keep each other safe.

Temple Sinai Reopening Update

Effective Date: March 28, 2022

As we continue to monitor the COVID public health situation, we are pleased to announce that we are updating our policy effective Monday, March 28. Our policy, as always, is subject to change at any time based on the public health situation, such as CDC and Allegheny County guidelines and status, currently "green."

Masks will be optional on Temple Sinai property starting Monday, March 28 with the following exceptions. Masks are required:

  • for EVERYONE in the building when school is in session, specifically: Sunday School and Wednesday Hebrew School (4–6PM). (Note: School runs through April. Unmasking is allowed during Monday School.);
  • for anyone over age 2 who cannot be "up to date" (including those ages 2–5 and those for whom it's not medically possible; see below);
  • for anyone who, within the last 10 days, has tested positive or had close contact with someone who has tested positive. (For clarity, anyone testing positive should not be in the building for the first 7 days following the test.)

We continue to require that anyone entering the building must be "Up to Date" on vaccinations, with the exception of children under the age of 5 (for whom a vaccine is not yet available) and those for whom vaccination or "up to date" is not medically possible (who must consult with the Executive Director). However, proof of vaccination is no longer required.

Food no longer needs to be individually wrapped. Space (in the Plaque Hallway) will continue to be provided for those who wish to be in a masked space during Onegs. The "GoNeg" (take away) option will continue.

Culturally, we support those who wish to continue wearing masks.

Contact Executive Director Drew Barkley at Drew@TempleSinaiPGH.org or (412) 421-9715 ext. 111 with any questions.

Temple Sinai Reopening: Phase V Plan & Guidelines

Effective Date of this Plan: February 1, 2022

Participation in Temple Sinai events—services, Life Cycle events (such as baby namings, Britot Milah, weddings, B’nai Mitzvah, funerals), meetings, and other opportunities to be with others in our community—are sacred events. They sanctify relationships in families, with the synagogue, and within the Jewish community. For nearly 2 years, COVID-19 has presented risks for everyone who attends and participates in these events and as a result we have adopted and subsequently modified policies that significantly restricted Temple activities. In light of evolving scientific knowledge, developing public health data, and revised guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) we are again updating our policy in phases and in a manner that balances the values of Kedushah – sanctity, Mishpachah – family, and Pikuach Nefesh – the preservation of life.

As before, this updated policy and our practices will be reviewed continually by the Temple Sinai Reopening Committee, with the oversight of the Executive Committee and Board of Trustees, based on and subject to guidelines and statistics from the CDC, Pennsylvania, Allegheny County, and other governmental authorities and directives.

In addition, as members of a community that values the health and safety of others, we appreciate, it when others remind us of safety measures (e.g. if we have forgotten to mask properly).

In this document, we describe the next phase of Temple Sinai’s COVID planning: namely our Phase V Reopening Plan and Guidelines. In light of evolving science, COVID statistics, CDC, Commonwealth, and local recommendations, and consideration of our Jewish values, the transition from Phase IV (begun November 5, 2021) to Phase V (February 1, 2022) reflects appropriate precautions for in-person gatherings at Temple Sinai.

Please note that due to the rapidly-developing public health situation, the Board has delegated approval of further modifications (including more stringent precautions and decisions to go fully virtual, as the situation warrants) to the Executive Committee, including on short notice or no notice.

Attendees
● “Fully vaccinated” (per the CDC definition1) means “a person has received their primary series of COVID-19 vaccines” and is 2 weeks beyond the series.
● “Up to Date” means “a person has received all recommended COVID-19 vaccines, including any booster dose(s) when eligible.” At the time of this policy for Temple Sinai purposes, Up to Date means specifically: 

Up to Date
(Requirements may change as CDC/FDA and Pennsylvania approvals and guidance change) Temple Sinai allows a 1-week grace period for obtaining boosters. Proof of age may be required for those without a booster shot.

Age (proof may be required) & Regimen:

Adults, 18 years old and up: 

  • At least 2 weeks after the second shot of a 2-shot regimen, such as Pfizer or Moderna, or after the single shot for a 1-shot regimen, such as Johnson & Johnson, AND
  • An additional booster shot (Pfizer or Moderna) if at least 5 months after a 2-shot regimen or 2 months after a 1-shot regimen

Teens and children, 12-17 years old2:

  • At least 2 weeks after the second shot of a 2-shot regimen (Pfizer), AND
  • An additional booster shot (Pfizer) if at least 5 months after the initial 2-shot regimen

Children, 5-11:

  • At least 2 weeks after the second shot of a 2-shot regimen (Pfizer)

Children under 5:

  • Not yet authorized

“Temple Sinai property” includes, but is not limited to, 5505 Forbes Avenue (buildings and grounds) and the Temple Sinai Memorial Park.

● Anyone attending an in-person event (indoors or outdoors) or otherwise on the premises at Temple Sinai:

a. must be Up to Date on vaccinations and provide proof of vaccination, with the exception of children under the age of 5, for whom a vaccine is not yet available, and those for whom vaccination is not medically possible (see below)
b. must properly wear a mask at all times with only the following exceptions:
i. children under the age of two (2) are not required to wear a mask;
ii. the individual leading services may remove the mask only when at the bimah. This is generally meant to include clergy, others with Executive Committee approval, and the individual celebrating a bar/bat mitzvah (joined by family for the “blessing”). This may also include, subject to circumstances, those who must remove their masks to play a wind instrument (but not choir, who must remain masked). The podium and unmasked band members will be significantly distanced from congregation seating and each other; and 
iii. clergy and staff when alone in an office. Clergy and staff may not unmask to eat together.
iv. Properly wearing a mask means covering the nose and mouth; bandanas, neck gaiters, and face shields are NOT an acceptable substitute, but may be added.

● Signs will advise all individuals that by entering Temple Sinai grounds they are asserting that (a) they are Up to Date on vaccination and will provide proof, (b) they will wear a mask at all times, (c) they are not experiencing symptoms of COVID, (d) they are not aware of any recent exposure, and (e) they agree to comply with all COVID requirements while on Temple Sinai grounds. (Exceptions will be made as indicated above. Recent exposure is determined by CDC guidance.) 

● Temple Sinai will provide masks for those who did not bring one and can advise on websites for mask purchase.

● Effective immediately, proof of vaccination is required for everyone entering Temple Sinai property (clergy, staff, members, visitors, and those providing services). (Exception: those on the property for less than 5 minutes, e.g. mail or package delivery.) Proof may be provided in the following ways:

a. Added in advance to a list, by emailing an image of a vaccine card to Sunshine Figlio sunshine@templesinaipgh.org. Once an individual’s vaccination status is recorded, images will NOT be retained by Temple Sinai.
b. In person on entry via card or phone image. (Members may request addition to the list when they present the card in person.)
c. For those added to the list we appreciate your also carrying your card or image, in case of timing issues or human error.
d. Contractors and others providing services may either show proof or have their employers send a letter to the Executive Director warranting that anyone working at Temple Sinai has been vaccinated consistent with the above.

● Those for whom vaccination or a booster is not possible should consult with the Executive Director, who, in consultation with the Reopening Committee, will seek accommodations (such as distanced seating) for participation in Temple Sinai events. Medical evidence may be required.
Spaces and Technology

● For the Leebov Sanctuary: 
a. The walls on both sides of the “Slate area” will be left open during services, allowing the sanctuary and the Falk Auditorium to form a single space for better air flow and greater distancing for those who wish it.
b. While we are not currently limiting capacity (in most cases), although we are removing certain seats from use to reduce proximity and density, pre-registration will be requested (web form (preferred), email, or phone) for Shabbat services and some other events to support the Executive Director and staff in planning and preparing spaces. We will not refuse entry to those who are unregistered, but will require those who enter to check in, including for purposes of proof of vaccination and contact tracing as needed.

● The minyan group will be permitted to meet in the Barnett Chapel and will use hybrid format for services (using a laptop or other computer to videoconference or stream the service). However, the group may be required to move to the Sanctuary as determined by conditions.

● More broadly, hybrid (in person and virtual) programming will be implemented wherever possible going forward.

General Rules for Temple Sinai Gatherings
● Overall Allegheny County and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania guidance must be followed at all times. It is understood that this guidance may change on short notice or no notice. Note that, based on health conditions, with little or no notice, any indoor or in-person events may be prohibited by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or Allegheny County or modified, limited, postponed, canceled, or reverted to a virtual format by Temple Sinai.

● Temple Sinai will post signs with directions and reminders, will ensure that hand sanitizer and masks are available, and may designate specific seating areas as conditions dictate.

● Temple Sinai may check attendee temperatures and vaccination status immediately prior to the start of any event (e.g. on arrival) and deny attendance to anyone who declines to have a temperature check, whose temperature exceeds guidelines, who is exhibiting symptoms of illness, or who is unable or unwilling to provide proof of vaccination.

● Attendees will follow clergy directions for safe handling of the Torah, yod, and other artifacts.

● No food will be allowed at events, except as specifically approved by the Executive Committee. Individual bottled water may be provided.

1 Per the CDC, updated as of January 16, 2022
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/stay-up-to-date.html

2 As of January 11, 2021, only Pfizer is approved for those under 18: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations/children-teens.html


 

Short Term Policy, effective January 3, 2022

PLEASE READ—VERY IMPORTANT COVID UPDATE

ALL TEMPLE SINAI SERVICES, CLASSES, & EVENTS WILL BE VIRTUAL THROUGH SUNDAY, JANUARY 31, 2022

With the significant regional recent rise in COVID cases and the spread of the Omicron variant, Temple Sinai is modifying our rules and practices. A number of these changes are temporary and—we hope—short lived. As always, we recognize that participation in Temple Sinai events—services, Life Cycle events, meetings, and other opportunities to be with others in our community—are sacred events. 

In light of the public health situation and guidelines from health authorities, and in a manner that balances the values of Kedushah (sanctity), Mishpachah (family), and Pikuach Nefesh (the preservation of life), the Reopening Committee has made the following recommendations, which have been approved by the Executive Committee on behalf of the Board of Trustees and are effective immediately.

  1. Temple Sinai will be fully virtual (with exceptions below) for all services, programs, meetings, and school through at least Sunday, January 23. 
  2. All Temple Sinai food-related events (including those off site) are canceled through that date.
  3. The January 9–10 visit of a Cantor candidate is being postponed.
  4. To better serve our members, staff may go to work in the building, following all COVID precautions (masked at all times unless alone).
  5. January B'nei Mitzvah may continue in person (subject to the evolving health situation). The affected families are being contacted directly with specific information and requirements.
  6. When we are able to return to in-person gatherings, we will require proof of vaccination and will provide details about that process soon.

The Reopening Committee will meet prior to January 23 to reevaluate the evolving public health situation. Of course, we all share the goal of safely returning to in-person (and hybrid) services, events, and gatherings as soon as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

In the interim, we are happy to lend Shabbat prayerbooks. Please come by during regular office hours to sign out a prayerbook.  

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with Drew Barkley, Executive Director, at Drew@TempleSinaiPGH.org or (412) 421-9715 ext. 111 with questions.


 

Temple Sinai Reopening: Phase IV Plan and Guidelines

(Effective Date of this Plan: November 5, 2021) 

Participation in Temple Sinai events—services, Life Cycle events (such as baby namings, Britot Milah, weddings, B’nai Mitzvah, funerals), meetings, and other opportunities to be with others in our community—are sacred events. They sanctify relationships in families, with the synagogue, and within the Jewish community. For more than a year, COVID-19 has presented risks for everyone who attends and participates in these events and as a result we have adopted and subsequently modified policies that significantly restricted Temple activities.  In light of evolving scientific knowledge, developing public health data, and revised guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) we are again updating our policy in phases and in a manner that  balances the values of Kedushah – sanctity, Mishpachah – family, and Pikuach Nefesh – the preservation of life.

As over the last year and a half, this updated policy and our practices will be reviewed continually by the Temple Sinai Reopening Committee, with the oversight of the Executive Committee and Board of Trustees, based on and subject to guidelines and statistics from the CDC, Pennsylvania, Allegheny County, and other governmental authorities and directives.

In this document, we describe the next phase of Temple Sinai’s COVID planning: namely our Phase IV Reopening Plan and Guidelines.  In light of evolving science, CDC, Commonwealth, and local recommendations, and consideration of our Jewish values, the transition from Phase III (begun August 5) to Phase IV (November 5) reflects appropriate precautions for in-person gatherings at Temple Sinai.

Please note that due to the rapidly-developing public health situation, the Board has delegated approval of further modifications to the Executive Committee.

Attendees

  • Fully vaccinated” means at least 2 weeks after the second shot of a 2-shot regimen, such as Pfizer or Moderna, and after the single shot for a 1-shot regimen, such as Johnson & Johnson. “Temple Sinai property” includes, but is not limited to, 5505 Forbes Avenue (buildings and grounds) and the Temple Sinai Memorial Park.

  • Anyone attending an in-person event (indoors or outdoors) or otherwise on the premises at Temple Sinai:

    • must be fully vaccinated, with the exception of children under the age of 12, for whom a vaccine is not yet available, and those for whom vaccination is not possible (see below)

    • must wear a mask at all times with only the following exceptions:

      • children under the age of two (2) are not required to wear a mask;

      • the individual leading services may remove the mask only when at the bimah.  This is generally meant to include clergy, others with Executive Committee approval, and the individual celebrating a bar/bat mitzvah (joined by family for the “blessing”).  The podium will be significantly distanced from congregation seating; and

      • clergy and staff when alone in an office.

  • Signs will advise all individuals that by entering Temple Sinai grounds they are asserting that (a) they have been fully vaccinated,  (b) they will wear a mask at all times, (c) they are not experiencing symptoms of COVID, (d) they are not aware of any recent exposure or have had a negative (rapid) COVID test within 3 hours prior to entering the grounds, and (e) they agree to comply with all COVID requirements while on Temple Sinai grounds.  (Exceptions will be made as indicated above.)

  • Temple Sinai will provide masks for those who did not bring one.

  • While Temple Sinai staff will not currently be verifying vaccination or test status, we rely on the honesty of our members and their guests and reserve the right to prohibit entry to anyone for health-related reasons.

  • Those for whom vaccination is not possible should consult with the Executive Director, who, in consultation with the Reopening Committee, will seek accommodations (such as distanced seating) for participation in Temple Sinai events.

Spaces and Technology

  • For the Leebov Sanctuary:

    • The walls on both sides of the “Slate area” will be left open during services, allowing the sanctuary and the Falk Auditorium to form a single space for better air flow and greater distancing for those who wish it.

    • While we are not currently limiting capacity (in most cases), pre-registration will be requested (web form (preferred), email, or phone) for Shabbat services and some other events to support the Executive Director and staff in planning and preparing spaces. We will not refuse entry to those who are unregistered, but will require those who enter to check in, including for purposes of contact tracing as needed.

  • The minyan group will be permitted to meet in the Barnett Chapel and will use hybrid format for services (using a laptop or other computer to videoconference or stream the service).

  • More broadly, hybrid (in person and virtual) programming will be implemented wherever possible going forward.

General Rules for Temple Sinai Gatherings

  • Overall Allegheny County and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania guidance must be followed at all times. It is understood that this guidance may change on short notice or no notice. Note that, based on health conditions, with little or no notice, any indoor or in-person events may be prohibited by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or Allegheny County or modified, limited, postponed, canceled, or reverted to a virtual format by Temple Sinai.

  • Temple Sinai will post signs with directions and reminders, will ensure that hand sanitizer and masks are available, and may designate specific seating areas as conditions dictate.

  • Temple Sinai may check attendee temperatures immediately prior to the start of any event (e.g. on arrival) and deny attendance to anyone who declines to have a temperature check, whose temperature exceeds guidelines, or who is exhibiting symptoms of illness.

  • Attendees will follow clergy directions for safe handling of the Torah, yod, and other artifacts.

  • No food will be allowed at events.  Individual bottled water may be provided.  Note that during this Phase IV, the cooking classes that had resumed during Phase II are suspended.

Mon, July 4 2022 5 Tammuz 5782