At the Covid-19 Committee meeting held on February 9, 2021, the following actions were decided by a consensus of the committee regarding the re-opening of the Congregation Or Tzion facility and the opening of the Roz Goodell Religious School. These actions are a result of the careful consideration for the health and safety of our congregants, clergy, and employees.
1. Vaccination: According to experts, our best hope of getting life “back to normal” is for the population to achieve herd immunity. This cannot happen unless an estimated 80% of the population either becomes ill with COVID-19 or gets vaccinated. Vaccines are currently available to all our clergy and staff. A unanimous consensus of the committee does not exist to make this mandatory, but we strongly encourage everyone in our congregation to vaccinate and bring any of your medical questions to the Covid Committee. The Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly has clearly stated that it is a halakhic obligation for Jews to vaccinate themselves unless their doctors determine that it is dangerous for that specific person to be vaccinated due to a pre-existing condition. We are proud that past Or Tzion Rabbi, Nate Crane, was part of the voting group that published this teshuva. To check if you qualify and to schedule your vaccine appointment, click HERE.
2. Opening of Sanctuary/Services: All our clergy members are in process of being vaccinated and we will wait until each of them are fully vaccinated (+ 10-14 days) before asking them to return to the sanctuary for services with congregants. Our plan is to resume services in person on or about April 1, 2021, a final date to be determined by Rabbi Klatzker after he receives his second vaccination in March. When in-person services resume, all mitigation strategies as previously defined, including temp checks, facemasks, distancing, handwashing, reservations, and limited numbers in attendance will be observed. We will not require attendees to be vaccinated, although we strongly encourage vaccination for all those eligible.
3. Opening of Roz Goodell Religious School: The current joint statement from AZDHS/MCDHS acknowledges that with careful mitigation strategies in place, transmission in school is infrequent and that schools need to be open. In this context, we will plan to reopen the RGRS on March 7, 2021.
Teachers that are not planning to vaccinate, and those that are already fully vaccinated, will be asked to return on March 7. Teachers planning to vaccinate but not yet completed will be given the option to teach in person or to participate in hybrid model teaching until their vaccination series is completed including the 10-14 day waiting period after their second vaccine.
4. Opening of Campus: On March 7th, when we reopen for school, we will also allow small groups (<15) to have on-site meetings, with the same mitigation strategies as utilized for services. These meetings will need to use large spaces to maintain distancing. Executive Director, Nicky Spivak will coordinate the calendar to avoid too many meetings at the same time. Our Youth programs will be expected to adhere to the same rules.