Friends, families and supporters:
Hello and happy Friday to all. From all of us at JFGH, we hope you’re staying safe, arranging vaccination and looking forward, as we are, to a spring season that promises renewal and continued progress toward getting our lives back on track!
We are hard at work on updating protocols to reflect our vaccination status. Our focus is essentially threefold:
- Welcoming family visitors.
- Encouraging and supporting people reuniting with friends and family.
- Re-opening our in-person supports.
Folks continue to ask good questions, the most substantial of which is “when will we re-open?” While we can’t offer a date certain, we envision a gradual, cautious return to something resembling normal in the coming weeks. As you know, JFGH is well and truly on our way to becoming fully vaccinated. Per data as of this week, 89.3% of our staff have received at least the first of two vaccine doses, with 68.5% of us having received both doses of the vaccine. Among folks we support, more than 96% have received at least dose 1, with just under 90% having received both doses. All of these numbers will increase by end of today, as we have another 27 people supported by or working for JFGH receiving second doses today alone!
As we celebrate our vaccination status internally, we remain aware of the still-slow vaccination process across our communities. In Maryland and Virginia (data are as of 17 March¹), only 12.9% and 13.1% of state residents have received both doses (or, in very small numbers, the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) of the vaccine, respectively. We have quite some way still to go. This influences our decisions on re-opening and re-animating our supports and services.
For people we support and their families, we recognize that Pesach is right around the corner (everyone cleaning to within an inch of your lives??) and, for those who celebrate it, Easter is in just over two weeks. These are holidays during which, in normal circumstances, families come together. We are cognizant of not just the holidays but of just how long it’s been since we’ve been able to celebrate precious holidays together. We are working on—and will announce separately to families and folks we support—revised protocols that account for vaccination status and allow for, in admittedly finely defined circumstances, families coming together once again. Please watch for information from our team of Program Managers and other members of Leadership.
Lastly, a final reminder (read: nudge) to join us for MC Live, tomorrow evening at 8.30 pm. Yes, there’s still time to register! According to Psychology Today, “a hearty chuckle releases endorphins, feel-good neurotransmitters that have an effect similar to narcotics, and endorphins are part of the reason laughing is so contagious. Laughing also has many health benefits such as increasing blood flow and improving mental and physical resilience. In fact, it’s not unlike a vigorous workout session.” So, there you have it! MC Live is your Shabbos workout!!
Thank you so much for all you do to support JFGH and our work. Stay safe and healthy, wear your mask/wash your hands/practice social, physical distancing, and as soon as you get the opportunity, get your vaccination. We’re so close to putting this extraordinary year behind us. And as ever, together, we got this.
David Ervin, JFGH CEO, firstname.lastname@example.org