COVID-19 Developments and Guidelines
Early this week we formed a TIC COVID-19 response team which includes leadership and relevant public health and medical professionals. Our team is monitoring the situation very closely and has been in constant communication all week. We are in touch with health authorities and leadership of other local Jewish organizations. We were among 200+ Westchester Jewish community professionals and lay leadership on a call organized by the Westchester Jewish Council to answer questions and provide guidance. The Westchester County Executive and others from his office, and the Westchester and New York State Departments of Health provided updates.
The situation continues to evolve very quickly and we are organized and prepared to make quick and difficult decisions for our community as needed. We are taking our cues from health authorities including Westchester County Health Department, NYS Department of Health, and CDC. We all must recognize that this is a serious moment that requires us all to increase our vigilance and make smart decisions about health and safety. Below are important updates and recommendations. Please have a close read and take them to heart.
What is the Latest News about COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) in our area?
- Members of two families at Young Israel of New Rochelle have confirmed cases of COVID-19. Our thoughts and prayers are with these families.
- Anybody who attended YINR on February 22 or 23 has been instructed by the Westchester County Health Department to self-quarantine until March 8 (click here for County press release).
- As the capacity of the number of people that can be tested grows, the number of people that will test positive will likely also increase.
- There are currently no known or suspected cases of COVID-19 among our members or among members of Hebrew Institute of WP.
- The current direction of County officials is that people in the area's Jewish community need not engage in measures beyond those recommended for the public at large.
- At this time, we are planning to hold all services, classes, and events as scheduled. We recognize that this a quickly evolving situation and circumstances could change in a moment's notice. We are monitoring the situation very closely and will make decisions in the best interest of the health of our community. Stay tuned for further information and guidance.
Should I Come to TIC?
- If you or anyone in your household is not feeling well or is showing any signs of a cold or illness, please keep your entire family home. Please recognize that the threshold for staying home is much lower and we ask that you err on the side of caution.
- If you are a member of a "high risk" group (including elderly, infirmed, and those with an underlying medical condition), we strongly encourage you to stay home as you are at an increased risk of becoming acutely ill if infected with COVID-19.
- We realize that staying home is difficult and we will miss you, however your health, and the health of our community, is paramount.
- We also recognize that it is a personal decision to attend, not attend, or attend for part. We respect that, and we need to respect each other's decisions, particularly in this moment.
What Precautions Should I take while at TIC?
- We ask that you refrain from physical greetings (handshakes, fist bumps, hugs, kisses). Instead, consider the "elbow bump", "slight bow," or "heart tap."
- We will be holding a more limited Torah procession and we are eliminating the kissing of the Torah and mezuzot.
- During Kiddush, please take extra precautions around the food stations (use napkins when holding serving utensils, take what you touch, sanitize hands before eating, etc.)
- Please keep a closer eye on your younger children to help them practice good hygiene, especially around the food stations during Kiddush.
- We will ensure that soap dispensers are full and we will have some hand sanitizers, though supply is very limited. We encourage you to bring and use your own hand sanitizer for more frequent use and to help our supplies last.
- Our maintenance team has implemented enhanced cleaning and sanitization procedures, including the frequent use of disinfectants on high-touch surfaces.
What Else do I Need to Know?
- Please continue to practice the following common sense hygiene guidelines:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer of at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing with a tissue or elbow; discard tissues after single use.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- If you have any questions about COVID-19, call the Westchester County hotline: 211. They will have up-to-date information and guidance. NYS Department of Health also has a hotline: (888) 364-3065
- If you think you are symptomatic, do not go to the emergency room, you must call ahead before arrival to avoid putting others at risk. You may also call your doctor for guidance.
- Other important and helpful links:
We will continue to keep you posted as the situation develops. We are a strong community and we will do our part to keep
each other healthy and safe. We thank you for your understanding and partnership.
Rabbi Annie Tucker
Senior Rabbi Director of Learning Security Chair