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We want to update you with our plans for gradually reopening our building as safely as possible. You may recall from previous communications that we assembled a task force during the summer comprised of congregants and staff with expertise in the medical, administrative, and human resource fields to develop our congregational plan of action. As more information about COVID-19 becomes known, the plan will continue to be updated.

Please check back regularly for updates, as this plan is subject to change.

THE REOPENING PLAN INCLUDES:
  • Four phases through which our building will gradually reopen to increasingly larger numbers of congregants and staff for gathering including: worship, office/administration, adult education, and meetings.
  • Current Phase 2 status (details below). We will move forward or backward to other Phases based on the measures summarized below.
  • In addition to guidance from public health agencies and our medical advisors, upward and downward trends in three measures are monitored:  
    • Test Positivity Rates for TMC Hospital Systems:
    • Effective Reproduction Rate for the Greater Houston MSA
    • TMC Daily New COVID-19 Hospitalizations
REOPENING PLAN GUIDING PRINCIPLES:
  • Stay true to the “Emanu El way” by prioritizing the health and safety of our members, while ensuring that solutions will be fair, accessible, and equitable to all Emanu El congregants.
  • Minimize risk while accepting that no plan will completely eliminate all possible risks.
  • Ensure everyone who enters Emanu El remains as safe as possible. There will be mandatory rules (e.g. wearing masks, wellness screenings, social distancing, etc).
  • Closely following advice of medical professionals and organizations (including CDC and institutional bodies of the Reform Movement), elected officials, and government agencies.
  • Becker School, Helfman Religious School, and B’nei Mitzvah Reopening Plans are developed separately and will be communicated to those families.  

CURRENT PHASE: 2

PHASE 1

WORSHIP
  • Worship will remain virtual on website & social media platforms
  • Clergy will lead from their homes


OFFICE & ADMINISTRATION
  • No members or visitors in the building
  • Beginning Monday, June 15, office staff will be permitted (but not required) to return to work at the temple and will be given two days of the week that they can enter the building. They may not come on other days
  • While in the building and public spaces, social distancing and face coverings will be required. In private offices, staff may remove face coverings
  • Staff screenings will be in place


MEETINGS
  • All meetings will be held virtually via Zoom and/or other electronic methods

ADULT EDUCATION
  • Education will remain virtual
  • Virtual/online platforms for classes will be determined based on what matches most closely with the class/program functions


BECKER SCHOOL
  • TBD/No classes during this time


HELFMAN RELIGIOUS SCHOOL
  • TBD/No classes during this time


METRIC TO MOVE FORWARD TO PHASE 2

In addition to guidance from medical advisors, two measures from tmc.edu website taken on Monday morning each week:

  1. Downward trend of new hospital admissions over 14-day period (as reported on "TMC Daily New COVID-19 Hospitalizations" chart)
  2. Downward trend of percentage of positive tests over 14-day period (as reported by red line on "COVID-19 Testing Trends for TMC Hospital Systems" chart) 

PHASE 2

WORSHIP
  • Worship will remain virtual on website & social media platforms
  • Clergy will lead from an Emanu El prayer space


OFFICE & ADMINISTRATION
  • No members or visitors in the building
  • Staff continues to be permitted (but not required) to work onsite during their specified two days
  • Limited non-staff will be permitted in the building, using the same safety procedures as staff (e.g. Sisterhood gift shop volunteers, building committee members, etc.)


MEETINGS
  • All meetings will be held virtually via Zoom and/or other electronic methods


ADULT EDUCATION
  • Education will remain virtual during this phase
  • Virtual/online platforms for classes will be determined based on what matches most closely with the class/program functions
 
BECKER SCHOOL
  • School began September 8, 2020


HELFMAN RELIGIOUS SCHOOL
  • Virtual classes began on August 30, 2020
  • B'nei Mitzvah Protocols: Families can select up to 10 people to attend both Friday night and Saturday morning in person (subject to advance notice and screening)

 

METRIC TO MOVE FORWARD TO PHASE 3

In addition to guidance from medical advisors, two measures from tmc.edu website taken on Monday morning each week:

  1. Downward trend of new hospital admissions over 28-day period (as reported on "TMC Daily New COVID-19 Hospitalizations" chart) from beginning of phase 2
  2. Downward trend of percentage of positive tests over 28-day period (as reported by red line on "COVID-19 Testing Trends for TMC Hospital Systems" chart) beginning of phase 2

 

METRIC TO MOVE TO BACKWARD TO PHASE 1

In addition to guidance from medical advisors, upward trend of new hospital admissions and percent positive tests over 7-day period (as reported on same charts for metrics to move to next phase) 

PHASE 3

WORSHIP
  • Worship will be held in the sanctuary, allowing for 6-ft social distancing.
  • Limited in-person attendance for Friday night Shabbat worship: Congregants only will be able to sign-up online or call and register for a limited number of available seats in the sanctuary. 
  • An increase in the number of guests that Bar/Bat Mitzvah families may invite to the Saturday morning service.
  • Those over 65 and/or with underlying health issues will be encouraged to continue participating via online methods.
  • Congregants must provide their own kippot/tallitot.
  • Attendees will be required to wear face coverings and spread apart following social distancing standards.
  • Attendees must enter the building through the North Lobby (sanctuary/chapel entrance).
  • Attendees will have their temperature taken before entry; anyone with a temperature exceeding 100.4 degrees will not be permitted inside the building.
  • Attendees must verbally confirm to entry attendant that they meet other "non-symptomatic" CDC criteria.
  • Worshippers will be asked to use hand sanitizer.
  • Worshippers will be required to check-in upon entering the building.
  • No onegs or kiddush.
  • Lifecycle events may be held with no more than 50 people.


LIFE CYCLES
  • Lifecycle events may be held in the building with no more than 50 people
  • No food or drinks may be served at any life cycle events


OFFICE & ADMINISTRATION
  • Staff required to return to work onsite during their specified two days, except those who are over 65 and/or with high risk factors
  • Individual congregants permitted inside for individual pastoral appointments with prior arrangements made


MEETINGS & GIFT SHOP
  • Gatherings of up to 10 people permitted unless meeting may be held just as effectively by virtual means
  • No food or drinks may be served at meetings
  • Larger meetings will continue to be held via Zoom or other electronic platforms
  • The gift shop will be able to hold limited "by appointment only" hours. Watch for information on how to make an appointment


ADULT EDUCATION
  • Gatherings of up to 10 people permitted unless class may be held just as effectively by virtual means; other classes will remain online/virtual during this period
  • Online platform for classes will be determined based on that which most closely matches the class/program functions


BECKER SCHOOL
  • School began on September 8, 2020


HELFMAN RELIGIOUS SCHOOL 
  • Helfman Religious School will be exploring partial in-person options

 

METRIC TO MOVE FORWARD TO PHASE 4

In addition to guidance from medical advisors:

  • Test Positivity Rates for TMC Hospital Systems: downward trend for 42-day period from beginning of Phase 3
  • Effective Reproduction Rate for the Greater Houston MSA remain steady at approximately 1 or below for 42-day period from beginning of Phase 3
  • TMC Daily New COVID-19 Hospitalizations- downward trend over 42-day period from beginning of Phase 3

 

METRIC TO MOVE TO BACKWARD TO PHASE 2

In addition to guidance from medical advisors, significant upward trend of test positivity, effective reproduction rates and new hospitalizations over 14-day period

PHASE 4

WORSHIP
  • Religious services held at the temple, following best practice guidelines determined for safe capacity and number of attendees
  • Prayerbooks can be used
  • Onegs and kiddush may be allowed with servers in place
  • Lifecycle events may be held based, following best practice guidelines determined for safe capacity and number of attendees
  • Receptions may be held with best practices in place for handling food (e.g. servers; no buffet; etc.)


OFFICE & ADMINISTRATION
  • All staff required to return to work onsite


MEETINGS
  • Committee meetings held onsite
  • Food and drinks may be served using best practice guidelines


ADULT EDUCATION
  • Classes with greater capacity held onsite


BECKER SCHOOL
  • School began on September 8, 2020


HELFMAN RELIGIOUS SCHOOL 
  • Helfman Expanded reopening (details to be determined) once reach this phase
  • B'nei Mitzvah Protocols: Larger B’nei Mitzah gatherings permitted on Friday night and Saturday morning (details TBD)

 

METRIC TO MOVE TO BACKWARD TO PHASE 3

In addition to guidance from medical advisors, upward trend of new hospital admissions and percent positive tests over 7-day period (as reported on same charts for metrics to move to next phase)


 
Sat, December 5 2020 19 Kislev 5781