Dear WJC Members:
To help the WJC community better understand the decision-making process regarding re-opening, the COVID-19 Task Force thought it would be helpful to describe its approach.
The Task Force has reached consensus on all decisions, which speaks to the degree of rumination, depth of conversation, and serious deliberation over risks, benefits, and uncertainty of every choice we consider. Importantly, we have agreed to take the re-opening process slowly so that WJC staff and clergy can identify unforeseen issues before expanding the size or types of events.
The Task Force first assesses the scientific evidence, reviews new medical and public health publications, and monitors guidance from the New York State Department of Health and CDC, as well as from the Governor’s re-opening plan. The nature of WJC as a community institution means it must hold itself to a conservative standard as compared with how individual members might decide for themselves to participate in activities not sponsored by WJC.
As you know, there is still a lot of uncertainty about the SARS-Cov-2 virus and COVID-19, and we aim to make the best decisions balancing the different aspects of potential activities that WJC might host. We think hard about the level of risk and responsibility of all activities and evaluate the degree of “essential”-ness a particular activity might have. For example, limited religious services with a minyan are the first component of re-opening at WJC. However, based on input from our clergy, it was decided that all key religious services should be conducted indoors for acoustic purposes so that anyone participating remotely could hear and no one would feel marginalized if they do not wish to attend because they are concerned about infection and/or are high-risk.
Our goal is to re-start activities with stringent protocols in place that will maximize the safety of our congregants, clergy, staff, and the wider community. As new scientific evidence arises, the new guidance is promulgated, and the pandemic evolves, we will be here to support WJC in its decision-making efforts and will continue to reassess permissible activities as circumstances allow.
We will be back in touch as events warrant.
The WJC COVID-19 Task Force