March 13, 2020

Dear Community Members-
The Federation would like to share with you the updated precautions we are implementing in response to the current COVID-19 virus outbreak. For the health and well-being of our members, program participants, staff, and guests the Jewish Federation of St. Joseph Valley is suspending public use of the Jewish Federation building until Monday, April 13th. Accordingly, activities such as ESL classes, Zumba, Forever Learning, mahjong, and other events will not be held at the Federation during this period. We are investigating options for offering some previously scheduled Federation programs, such as the CRC “Israel on Campus” event, online, and will provide updated information when available. Also, Rowan Kelley, our Director of Jewish Family Services, is implementing steps to ensure that community members who rely on JFS can continue to have their urgent needs met, while at the same time looking out for the health of our volunteers and staff.

During this period, we expect that the Federation office will remain open for staff to continue with operational tasks. If you plan to visit the office for a business or personal matter during this time, we encourage you to call prior to your visit to ensure staff will be present to assist you. The Federation requests that if you are not feeling well and exhibit any symptoms of illness, please refrain from visiting the Federation until all symptoms have fully subsided. Similarly, if you believe you may have been in contact with someone exposed to COVID-19, please refrain from visiting the Federation until your possible infection has been ruled out. 

The Federation will continue to monitor developments and will provide any updates regarding Federation operations as necessary. Our team will continue to plan community events for mid/late-April and May. If circumstances require modification of these events, we will communicate those changes to our community through emails and Facebook. Please RSVP for any of these events you wish to attend. This allows us to be able to contact directly those we know are attending if there are changes.

We continue to encourage our members, guests, and staff to follow local and CDC guidelines regarding everyday prevention. 

These guidelines include:
·        Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
·        Avoid close contact with people who are sick
·        Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care (if you have a medical appointment and suspect you may have COVID-19, you should call ahead to your healthcare provider before visiting to inform them)
·        Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or use the inside of your elbow (throw away used tissues, and immediately wash your hands)
·        The CDC recommends that protective face masks should only be worn if you are sick and you are going to be around other people (it recommends that you not wear a facemask if you are not sick or caring for someone who is sick, as facemasks may be in short supply and should be saved for caregivers)
·        Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily

For additional information you might find helpful in your own individual preparations, you may wish to view the following local and national links:

I f you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Jewish Federation office at 574-233-1164.
We would like to thank our staff members, especially Emily Benedix, Rowan Kelley, and Dan Cossman for their dedication and proactive planning during the past few weeks, and we thank you for your cooperation and support. 
Shabbat shalom,

Mike Kirsch
Interim President
Ben Davis
Executive Director