Dear WJC Families:
As you may know, case numbers, positivity rates, and hospitalization rates have all trended significantly downward in our region. Governor Hochul lifted the statewide indoor mask mandate effective February 10, the CDC revised its guidance on masking on February 25, Governor Hochul lifted the mask mandate for schools effective March 2, and the New York Office of Children and Family Services revised its mask requirements for child care settings effective March 2. Under the CDC’s revised guidance, WJC is now considered to be in a low-risk area, in which masking indoors is no longer recommended .As a result of these developments, mask-wearing at regular WJC events is now optional as of March 7.
With respect to vaccination, we continue to require that those who are eligible to be fully vaccinated enter our building. At this time that includes those age six and above. We reserve the right to ask for proof of vaccination at any time at our discretion. We may impose additional proof and/or other requirements for special events such as the Gala that are expected to attract a large gathering indoors. Those who are experiencing any symptoms of COVID, or have recently been exposed to someone with COVID, should not attend WJC events.
Our decision to end mandatory masking, at least for now, should not be seen as an indication that the risk of COVID-19 transmission has been eliminated. The shift is based on the current state of the pandemic in our community and the guidance of regulatory authorities. We will continue to monitor COVID-19 metrics in the local community, as well as the outcomes of mask-optional policies. If we feel that conditions warrant a return to required masking for a period of time, we will not hesitate to implement it. We will continue to provide streaming options and try to maximize outdoor options when weather and other circumstances permit.
We understand that the decision regarding whether/when to wear a mask may engender feelings of unease or apprehension for individuals and within families. As we navigate the changing COVID environment, we need to treat each other with understanding and empathy and build a sense of trust and cohesion among people who may have different points of view and personal circumstances.
There are those in our community who are immunocompromised or will otherwise be uncomfortable with the relaxation of COVID restrictions. We must continue to be sensitive to the feelings of others. The option to unmask is not a license to invade the space of those who are wary. Please be sensitive in your interactions. There will be those who will feel comfortable unmasking and those who will not. No one should be made to feel uncomfortable about the decision to mask. And importantly, those who are immunocompromised should take the necessary precautions to ensure their health and safety.
Thank you for your understanding and support.
Seth Schafler, President
Rabbi Jeffrey Arnowitz
David Goldstein, Executive Director