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Covid-19 Policies & Resources

Quick Links: General Policies | Religious School COVID-19 Policies | BEECC Preschool COVID-19 Policies | Services during COVID-19 | COVID-19 Task Force Members

COVID-19 Policies & Procedures

Current as of April 20, 2023

Introduction

As a Jewish institution, we follow pikuach nefesh, which tells us that it is each person’s duty as a member of our community to protect all of the community members. This is especially important during this ongoing public health challenge. 

We are deeply proud of Beth Emeth’s work to combat COVID-19 over the past 3 years. We have responded quickly and swiftly with policies that worked to help keep everyone as safe as possible. As the pandemic progressed, new variants appeared, and immunization and treatments became available, policies have evolved and will continue to be adapted in the future. Currently, the COVID task force is reviewing and updating all of Beth Emeth’s COVID policies.   

General Policies 

General Vaccine Policy

Effective April 24, 2023 our vaccine policy will change from a requirement to a recommendation for the general congregation and staff.  Our policies for BEECC and Religious School will also change effective June 10, 2023 (after the last day of this school year) and will be in place for all summer school/camp programs and the 2023-2024 school year. 

We are committed to the health and safety of our staff, congregants, and students. COVID-19 vaccines are an important tool when it comes to protecting your health. With the emergence of new variants, it is more important than ever for everyone to stay vigilant and up to date on their vaccines. The CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend COVID-19 vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older. 

We know that the vaccines are very effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalization, and death. However, we now know that the mild protection against any COVID-19 infection and transmission wanes starting around 3 months after the last booster and markedly drops after 6 months. (The good news is that the protection against serious disease is still holding up – so get your vaccines and boosters!) For this reason, we have decided it is best to move to a vaccine recommendation policy for our congregation. 

It is consistent with Conservative Jewish values that everyone does everything possible to take care of our bodies in all ways possible. We continue to promote and strongly encourage COVID-19 vaccination for all congregants, staff, and students. 

We have prepared a COVID-19 Vaccinations Q&A page to address questions we anticipate. If that page does not include the information needed, please direct any questions to the COVID-19 Task Force at covid19@bethemeth.org. We will update the Q&A page regularly with additional information of widespread interest.

General Mask Policy

The wearing of masks within CBE facilities, and at CBE sponsored events is optional, with the following exceptions:

  • Our staff may, at their discretion, require that visitors to the office and other spaces wear a mask. Please be respectful of any signs or requests that you mask in certain spaces as you move around the building.
  • As the size of our in-person events and the make-up of attendees can fluctuate, please be mindful that there will be events where size or circumstances will require attendees to mask. That will be noted on the website and event publications. If you’ve arrived without one, masks will be provided.

Contact Tracing and Notification

In general, CBE does not require that community members notify the synagogue if they have had exposure to COVID-19, or become ill, nor do we generally conduct contact tracing (specific policies apply to exposures and illnesses among BEECC and religious school students and staff. Please see the BEECC and Religious School sections below for details). 

However, if you become ill or test positive for COVID-19 following an in-person event at CBE and would like to let others who attended the event know, we will do our best to help facilitate notification so potentially impacted individuals may take appropriate measures to monitor and safeguard their health and the health of their families. 

If you would like to make a notification, please email COVID19@BethEmeth.org with details of the event you attended, when you experienced symptoms or tested positive, and a listing of those individuals with whom you had close contact including table mates for a meal, those you had extended conversations with or anyone else you feel may be at greater than average risk. A task force member or staff person can reach out to those people and we will do our best to allow you to remain anonymous if you desire, however, we cannot guarantee complete anonymity.  

Religious School Policies

Religious School Vaccine Policy 

Consistent with the general synagogue policy requiring vaccination of all those medically eligible, all religious school students must have current documentation of vaccination on file with the religious school office prior to the start of the 2022-23 school year. 

Medical exemptions will be accepted provided they are on medical practice letterhead and signed by a physician, physician assistant or advance practice nurse. Students who have a medical exemption on file with the RS office will be able to attend school. Students with a medical exemption will be required to wear a mask while indoors at Religious School.

Click here to upload vaccine documentation. Families with multiple children enrolled must complete a separate form for each child.

Religious School Mask Policy 

Masking is optional in religious school classrooms for the 2022-23 school year. This may be subject to change as we continue to monitor the information and recommendations from the CDC and the Virginia Department of Health.

Until the indoor mask mandate for BEECC is dropped, targeted for December 1, 2022, masks will continue to be required in the common areas (hallways, restrooms, etc.) of the school wing when BEECC programs are in session. For Religious School this means that students must wear masks indoors in common areas on Wednesday evenings due to Religious School being co-located with BEECC aftercare.  

Religious School Illness Notifications and Testing

Religious School Required Notification of Positive Tests
To protect the health and safety of all members of our community, it is essential that the Religious School team be informed if any member of your household tests positive for COVID-19 or if your child has been in close contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19.

To report a positive test result or close contact, please email COVIDNotification@bethemeth.org. Our team will provide guidance as to next steps and the timeline for when your child will be able to return to school. It may be necessary for us to inform other families about a potential exposure risk; this notification will not include any names or personal information about the child or adult involved.

If you have questions about potential exposure risks or whether or not your child should participate in activity, please contact COVID19@bethemeth.org. We strongly encourage you to err on the side of caution to protect your child, your family, and our entire community.  

Religious School Exposure Notifications
If your child is identified as a close contact of an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 while at Religious School, you will receive an email with specific instructions for next steps, including the contact tracing process. 

Religious School Exclusion Criteria
Children who have experienced two or more of the following symptoms within the past 24 hours are not allowed to attend school:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting
  • Excessive/unusual fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle or body aches
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Significant change in appetite
  • Otherwise feeling unwell

If your child has a pre-existing health condition that presents with any of the above symptoms, a note from their pediatrician documenting that those specific symptoms are not due to COVID-19 will be required and your child will not be excluded based on those specific symptoms.

If your child has been identified as a close contact of an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19, and they are not yet fully vaccinated, your child may not attend school until they have been cleared to return following quarantine requirements (see Return-To-School section).

When your child is fully vaccinated (at least two weeks after the final dose in either a two- or three-dose series), they will not be required to stay home if they are determined to be a close contact of an individual who tested positive for COVID-19. 

Religious School Return-To-School
If your child was excluded from school due to COVID-like symptoms, you must submit a negative rapid antigen or PCR test result completed after the onset of symptoms and your child must show improvement in symptoms and be fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of symptom-reducing medication. Click here to find a testing location near you

If your child has tested positive for COVID-19, the following protocols must be followed:

  1. Email COVIDNotification@bethemeth.org with the positive test result and date the test was completed.
  2. With Day 0 as the date of the positive test, your child must stay home and isolate from the other members of your household as much as possible. 
  3. If your child is fever- and symptom-free for at least 24 hours without the use of symptom-reducing medication, your child is able to return to Religious School on or after Day 6. Your child will be required to remain masked at all times through the end of Day 10. 
  4. If your child is still experiencing symptoms on Day 5, they must remain home through at least Day 10. If your child is fever- and symptom-free for at least 24 hours without the use of symptom-reducing medication, your child is able to return to Religious School on Day 11.
  5. Your child must test negative on a rapid antigen test the morning they return to school. 
  6. If your child continues to experience symptoms past Day 10, please contact their primary healthcare provider for further guidance.
Section III: Beth Emeth Early Childhood Center (BEECC) Policies

BEECC Vaccine Policy
Consistent with the general synagogue policy requiring vaccination of all those medically eligible, all BEECC students must have current documentation of vaccination on file with the BEECC office prior to the start of the 2022-2023 school year on Tuesday, September 6, 2022. 

Enrolled BEECC students must adhere to the following timeline:

  • First dose of vaccine (either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) administered no later than September 5, 2022. The student’s vaccination card must be submitted to the BEECC office prior to the first day of school on September 6.
  • Follow schedule for second and third doses (as necessary based on the specific schedule for each vaccine). As the student receives additional doses, their updated vaccination card must be submitted to the BEECC office. The final vaccine dose should be administered no later than November 16, 2022.
  • Fully vaccinated (at least two weeks after the final dose in a series) no later than November 30, 2022. The completed vaccination card must be submitted to the BEECC office.

Students who have a confirmed medical exemption, documented in a letter from a licensed healthcare practitioner, on file with the BEECC office will be able to attend school. BEECC will not accept any non-medical exemptions from this policy. Students with a medical exemption will be required to wear a mask while indoors at BEECC and may be subject to quarantine when necessary.

Click here to upload vaccine documentation. Families with multiple children enrolled must complete a separate form for each child.
 
BEECC Masking Policy
The mask requirement will remain in place for the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year until further notice. All individuals who are two years or older must remain masked while in all BEECC indoor spaces. We are targeting December 1, 2022 as the date when we hope to remove the mask mandate; this may be subject to change as we continue to monitor the information and recommendations from the CDC and the Virginia Department of Health.
 
BEECC Required Notification of Positive Tests
To protect the health and safety of all members of our community, it is essential that the BEECC team be informed if any member of your household tests positive for COVID-19 or if your child has been in close contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19.

To report a positive test result or close contact, please email COVIDNotification@bethemeth.org. Our team will provide guidance as to next steps and the timeline for when your child will be able to return to BEECC. It may be necessary for us to inform other families about a potential exposure risk; this notification will not reveal any names or personal information about the child or adult involved.

If you have questions about potential exposure risks or whether or not your child should participate in preschool activities, please be in contact with BEECC Director Jocelyn Dorfman. We strongly encourage you to err on the side of caution to protect your child, your family, and our entire community.  
 
BEECC Exposure Notifications
If your child identified as a close contact of an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 while at BEECC, you will receive an email with specific instructions for next steps, including the contact tracing process and any applicable quarantine requirements. 
 
BEECC Exclusion Criteria
Children who have experienced two or more of the following symptoms within the past 24 hours are not allowed to attend preschool:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting
  • Excessive/unusual fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle or body aches
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Significant change in appetite
  • Otherwise feeling unwell 

If your child has a pre-existing health condition that presents with any of the above symptoms, a note from their pediatrician documenting that those specific symptoms are not due to COVID-19 will be required and your child will not be excluded based on those specific symptoms.
 
If your child has been identified as a close contact of an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19, and they are not yet fully vaccinated, your child may not attend school until they have been cleared to return following quarantine requirements (see Return-To-School section).

When your child is fully vaccinated (at least two weeks after the final dose in either a two- or three-dose series), they will not be required to stay home if they are determined to be a close contact of an individual who tested positive for COVID-19. 
 
BEECC Return-To-School
If your child was excluded from school due to COVID-like symptoms, you must submit a negative rapid antigen or PCR test result completed after the onset of symptoms and your child must show improvement in symptoms and be fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of symptom-reducing medication. Click here to find a testing location near you

(or a note from your child’s pediatrician stating that the symptoms were not due to COVID-19. This documentation must be submitted to the BEECC office prior to your child’s return to school date.)
 
If your child is designated as a close contact of an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 and your child is not yet fully vaccinated, we will follow the following quarantine protocols:

  1. With Day 0 as the date of exposure, your child must stay home through at least Day 5.
  2. Your child must take a rapid antigen test or get a PCR test no sooner than Day 3.
  3. If your child receives a negative test result and they have not developed any COVID-like symptoms, your child is clear to return to school on Day 6.
  4. If your child develops COVID-like symptoms during the first five days, please contact your child’s primary healthcare provider for further guidance and notify the BEECC Director.
  5. When your child returns to school, they will be required to wear a mask while at school through the end of Day 10. 

If your child has tested positive for COVID-19, the following protocols must be followed:

  1. Email COVIDNotification@bethemeth.org and Jocelyn Dorfman, BEECC Director, with the positive test result and date the test was completed.
  2. With Day 0 as the date of the positive test, your child must stay home and isolate from the other members of your household as much as possible. 
  3. If your child is fever- and symptom-free for at least 24 hours without the use of symptom-reducing medication, your child is able to return to BEECC on Day 6. Your child will be required to remain masked at all times through the end of Day 10. 
  4. If your child is still experiencing symptoms on Day 5, they must remain home through at least Day 10. If your child is fever- and symptom-free for at least 24 hours without the use of symptom-reducing medication, your child is able to return to BEECC on Day 11. Your child must test negative on a rapid antigen test the morning they return to school. 
  5. If your child continues to experience symptoms past Day 10, please contact their primary healthcare provider for further guidance and notify the BEECC Director.

The task force continues to monitor public health guidance and the metrics for our community and, if needed, we will revise our policies accordingly. We welcome the input and feedback of members and guests. If you have any questions or concerns regarding COVID-19 policies, please contact COVID19@bethemeth.org. Feedback can also be provided through the form located at https://form.jotform.com/213468172650153

Services

All services will be held in person, with a Zoom option available for those unable to attend at the synagogue. There may be a few exceptions; please refer to our Services webpage or calendar for additional information.

COVID-19 Task Force

Our COVID-19 task force is composed of representatives from our leadership, the school, the various demographics in our congregation, individuals versed in public health and safety, and a physician.

  • Scott Wollek, Chair
  • Fran Besalel
  • Leslie Lesch
  • Ellen MacDonald
  • Denise Moldover
  • Lauren Moses
  • Diane Norman
  • Ora Cohen Rosenfeld
  • Jeff Waldman, M.D.
Tue, May 28 2024 20 Iyyar 5784