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Temple Beth Shalom Phases for Building Opening

These guidelines are in place for the safety and health of our Temple Beth Shalom community and are subject to change at the discretion of temple leadership.

Resource: http://www.austintexas.gov/page/covid-19-dashboards

 

Also see our main Covid webpage for forms to request seating at Shabbat services, private reflection time in the sanctuary, health screening form and more.

 

Phase A: No In-person Activities

City of Austin is in Stage 4 or Stage 5

  • All worship, programming and events will be virtual.
  • No staff in the building, unless pre-approved by the Executive Director.
  • No members or visitors allowed in the building.

Metrics to Move Forward to Phase B

In addition to guidance from the Building Reopening Task Force, data from the Austin Public Health website (austintexas.gov/covid19) will be assessed each Sunday morning. The APH data must indicate the following:

  • City of Austin must be Stage 3, Stage 2 or Stage 1
  • Downward or stable trend of new hospital admissions over a 14-day period
  • Downward or stable trend of percentage of positive tests over a 14-day period

Phase B: Limited Access

City of Austin is in Stage 3, Stage 2 or Stage 1

  • All Shabbat services will be livestreamed. Some clergy might lead from Temple Beth Shalom sanctuary without congregants present, or services will be held in the sanctuary with limited attendance (capped at 30 people not including clergy or volunteers).
  • High risk individuals are strongly encouraged to stay home.
  • No members or visitors allowed in the temple without a prior reservation.
  • Staff may work onsite (with approval of Executive Director) or remotely.
  • Religious School will remain virtual for the entirety of the first semester. Plans for second semester will be announced by January 2021. Update: Second semester will continue with a virtual platform.
  • B’nai mitzvah candidates may have the option for a virtual or in-person service. In-person services will have an attendance cap of 15 people per family (not including clergy or volunteers) and abbreviated service content.
  • Funerals, memorials, and weddings will be limited to 30 people in the sanctuary.
  • All meetings should be conducted virtually when possible. If an in-person meeting is necessary, it will be limited to 10 participants.

Metrics to Move Back to a Previous Phase

In addition to guidance from Building Reopening Task Force, an upward trend of new hospital admissions and percent positive tests over 14-day period and/or if there is a confirmed case of Covid-19 in someone who has been in our building.

Metrics to Move Forward to Phase C

In addition to guidance from Building Reopening Task Force, data from the Austin Public Health website (austintexas.gov/covid19) will be assessed each Sunday morning. The APH data must indicate the following:

  1. City of Austin must be in Stage 2 or Stage 1
  2. Downward or stable trend of new hospital admissions over 28-day period
  3. Downward or stable trend of percentage of positive tests over 28-day period

Phase C: Increased Access

City of Austin is in Stage 2 or Stage 1

  • Shabbat services will be held in the sanctuary with limited attendance (capped at 60 people not including clergy and volunteers) and livestreamed.
  • High risk individuals are strongly encouraged to stay home.
  • No members or visitors allowed in the temple without a prior reservation.
  • Staff may work onsite (with approval of Executive Director) or remotely.
  • Religious School will remain virtual.
  • B’nai mitzvah candidates will have the option of a virtual or in-person service. In-person services will have an attendance cap 60 people per family (not including clergy and volunteers) and abbreviated service content.
  • Funerals, memorials, and weddings will be limited to 60 people in the sanctuary.
  • Clergy may choose face-to-face pastoral and hospital visits following City of Austin guidelines for safe visits.
  • All meetings should be conducted virtually when possible. If an in-person meeting is requested, the number of participants will be determined by the space provided.

Metrics to Move Back to a Previous Phase

In addition to guidance from the Building Reopening Task Force, an upward trend of new hospital admissions and percent positive tests over 14-day period and/or if there is a confirmed case of Covid-19 in someone who has been in our building.

Metrics to Move Forward to Phase D

In addition to guidance from the Building Reopening Task Force, data from the Austin Public Health website (austintexas.gov/covid19) will be taken each Sunday morning. The APH data must indicate the following:

  1. City of Austin must be in Stage 1
  2. Downward or stable trend of new hospital admissions over 42-day period
  3. Downward or stable trend of percentage of positive tests over 42-day period

Phase D: In Person With Best Practices

City of Austin is in Stage 1

  • Religious services will be held at the temple, following best practice guidelines determined for safe capacity and number of attendees.
  • Onegs and kiddush may be allowed with servers in place; no buffets.
  • Lifecycle events may be held in the building, following best practice guidelines determined for safe capacity and number of attendees.
  • Religious school held on campus, following best practice guidelines, determined for safe capacity and number of attendees.
  • Receptions may be held with best practices in place for handling food (e.g. servers; no buffet; etc.).

Metrics to Move Back to Previous Phase

In addition to guidance from the Building Reopening Task Force, an upward trend of new hospital admissions and percent positive tests over 14-day period and/or if there is a confirmed case of Covid-19 in someone who has been in our building.

While no one can guarantee an environment will be completely safe, we have studied and addressed many factors of building environment, including air flow. As part of our effort to provide a safe and healthy environment in our building we have researched standards and publications from a variety of sources, including the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, CDC and NASA among others. 

Based on this research and advice, we will be operating our equipment that brings outside air into the building at least 24 hours prior to and constantly during the time a space is occupied. We will also have the fans in the heating/air conditioning operating at least 24 hours prior to and constantly during the times spaces are occupied. In addition, we will be servicing and replacing filters in our heating/air conditioning systems more frequently.

We have purchased stand alone HEPA filtering units as appropriate for smaller contained spaces such as offices or meeting rooms. It is important in these more confined spaces that the air be ‘turned over’ more frequently. HEPA filters have been found to be the most reliable way of quickly and effectively filtering virus particles, including COVID, from the air. A maintenance protocol based on manufacturer recommendations has also been put in place.
 
Though these steps involve additional costs that have not been anticipated in our current budget, the staff, Board of Trustees, and advisors have made them a priority.
Of course, as we all know, in spite of the measures we are taking, it is critical you do your part by wearing an effective mask, distancing, and getting vaccinated when available.

 

 

Disclaimer: All temple sponsored in-person events and services must adhere temple protocols. When the temple is notified of a confirmed positive COVID-19 case in someone who has been in our building, Austin Public Health Department will be notified. Any contact tracing, notifications, or other recommendations made by the Health Department will be handled by the temple accordingly.

 

Re-Opening Task Force Members: Patti Bridwell, Elana Bizer, Sharon Hausman-Cohen, Lori Freedman, Rabbi Freedman, Karen Fingerman, Dennis Gross, Jennifer Kramer, Lori Levy, Noreen Long, Jordan Magidson, Sheldon Markowitz, Mark Salmanson

Tue, June 22 2021 12 Tammuz 5781