Since March 2021, our community has come together online to create new and meaningful ways of connecting. We also know our profound need to connect with one another face to face and heart to heart.
In April 2021, our congregation formed a Re-Opening Task Force to explore options and protocols for an eventual return to in-person gatherings. The task force has been working with the kavanah (intention) of upholding our community’s safety, as well as our congregation’s values of accessibility, inclusivity, welcoming, and mutual responsibility.
In the spirit of these values, and with responsible intent, we will begin holding outdoor social gatherings at the JCC in June 2021 and outdoor Fourth Friday Shabbat services in July 2021. July and August’s Fourth Friday services will be both in-person and livestreamed. July and August’s Second Saturday Shabbat services will remain on Zoom. (Please see our online calendar and subscribe to our mailer for exact dates and times.)
Factoring in multiple variables – the rate of local vaccination, the high percentage of our members who are vaccinated, rates of infection in Washtenaw County, key remaining unknowns (whether those vaccinated can transmit the virus, particularly through singing; possible surges from variants), and the latest guidelines from the CDC and state – we have determined the following guidelines (listed below) will best serve the health and safety of our community this summer.
These guidelines were created with the recognition that while some of the risk-mitigating protocols may be stricter that an individual’s current COVID safety practices, we are a kehillah kedosha, a holy community, covenanted to protect the safety and health and of each and every one of our members.
Expectations of attendees of AARC’s in-person outdoor events and services, summer 2021:
- All are welcome at our outdoor events and services, both members and non-members.
- All in-person attendees must pre-register for each event or service, providing their name, the names of anyone attending with them, and their email and phone number; those who have not pre-registered will be asked to register on arrival.
- If you currently have or have recently experienced a cough, sore throat, aches, fatigue, gastrointestinal distress, or loss of sense of smell or taste, or have had close contact within the last 14 days with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, we ask that you stay home.
- If you or someone in your home or social circle is considered at high risk, either for health or reasons of advanced age, we encourage you to keep them safe by staying home yourself.
- Everyone, including children (age 4 and older), must properly (i.e., fully covering nose and mouth) wear at least one mask at all times.
- All attendees should maintain 6 feet of distance between themselves and anyone else who is not a member of their family/pod.
- Parents with children are asked to keep their children with them, and/or to ensure that their children are playing in a low-risk manner with other children. Children will have access to the JCC’s outdoor playground.
- Although there will be chairs available, attendees are also encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets.
- For now, food and drink will not be served due to the requirement to remain masked. However, if you or your children need to eat or drink for health reasons, please feel welcome to do so, but be sensitive to maintain at least 6 ft of distance from other attendees when temporarily taking off your mask.
- For Fourth Friday Shabbat services, members with AARC siddurim are asked to bring their siddurim with them and return home with them; for those without, siddurim will be available for use. Attendees are asked to bring their own tallitot and kippot.
- With the JCC building remaining closed for the summer, a wheelchair-accessible Porta Potty will be available for everyone’s use.
Please note that in-person events may be canceled or moved online if COVID risk levels significantly increase closer to the event, or if weather does not allow for meeting safely outdoors. If that does happen, we will communicate with the congregation with as much advance notice as possible. Additionally, some of these protocols may change as the summer progresses, COVID numbers (hopefully) decrease, and more people are vaccinated. If and when those changes take place, we will notify the congregation of the updated protocols.
To everyone who has helped our community continue to grow and thrive during this challenging time – thank you, and thank you in advance for your flexibility. We all look forward to safely connecting again in person.
Updated June 6 2021