TSTI Building and Schools COVID-19 Policies and Procedures

(Revised 4/8/2022)

The staff, clergy, and lay leadership of TSTI are doing everything possible to keep our community safe given the ever-evolving Covid-19 pandemic. We are doing our best to keep our policies equitable and consistent but will make changes as dictated by our Covid Advisory Panel and as needed to ensure the community’s health and safety. The goal is to open or keep open our schools and facilities with strict protocols. These protocols for our building and schools will be reviewed weekly and updated as needed. 

The TSTI Covid Advisory Panel, which consists of educators, clergy, lay leaders, and medical experts representing a range of relevant specialties, reserves the right to reverse course on any policies, or to change them in any way needed to protect the health and safety of our students, congregants, staff, and clergy and are grateful for your cooperation in the matter.

This will allow us to:

  • Move forward with in-person classes in our Iris Family Preschool and SOMSD Preschool classes (when allowed by the South Orange-Maplewood School District). (For specific preschool policies, click here.)
  • Hold Shabbat and other religious services inside our chapel and sanctuary
  • Move forward with in-person classes in our Linda and Rudy Slucker Religious School, with exceptions for the week following school vacations, when we may be remote to ensure all are healthy when they return to school. (For specific religious school policies, click here.)
  • Move forward with hosting our Hebrew High students for classes and limited events in our indoor spaces, with exceptions for the week following school vacations, when we may be remote to ensure all are healthy when they return to school. (For specific Hebrew High/Youth policies, click here.)
  • Allow staff to work in the building as needed.
  • Allow our lay leadership to conduct some meetings and work, as needed, in the building.

All of this is dependent on every one of us following protocols to keep ourselves and others safe and healthy. We understand that our guidelines may be different from your schools, workplaces, gyms, and other places you visit. As a synagogue, the well-being of every member of our community is a sacred responsibility.

NOTE: Please monitor the TSTI emails and website for updates in order to learn of last minute changes to our plans and protocols.  Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.

What We Are Doing to Help Keep Our Community Safe

  • As of February 2, 2022, only fully-vaccinated individuals age 5 years and older are allowed to enter the building for worship or religious school.  Medical exemptions must be provided to and reviewed by executive director, Beth Blackman, bblackman@tstinj.org, or, if for religious school, to Mindy Schreff, mschreff@tstinj.org.
  • Vaccination information can be communicated in two ways: 1. By uploading it into the congregant portal, which will return an email with a green check mark that can be shown at the door, one for each member of your family; or 2. By showing vaccination information upon arrival.
  • Congregants and visitors who are not eligible for vaccination at this time (those under five years of age) must remain masked while inside the building.
  • Masks must be worn properly (covering mouth and nose at all times), inside the building. Congregants attending worship services must wear an KN/KF94 or 95, or N95 mask.
  • While we encourage everyone to wear masks, as of 3/7/22, mask wearing outside is optional. We reserve the right to reverse this policy at any time. 
  • The number of people allowed in attendance at indoor worship and gatherings may be limited to ensure proper distancing and ventilation. 

For the health of our community, please adhere strictly to these protocols:

An individual is only considered “vaccinated” two weeks after their final vaccine dose is administered. If only one shot in a two-shot sequence has been given, or two weeks have not passed since the last dose, the individual is considered to be unvaccinated, or not fully vaccinated for the purposes of these guidelines. At this time, boosters are not required, but we recommend that you become “boosted” if you are eligible.

If you test positive for Covid-19, and you have been on temple grounds in the ten days prior to your positive test, please contact Beth Blackman so that we can reach out to others who may have been exposed.

If you are ill (congestion, cough, fever, upset stomach, etc.) or are exhibiting any symptoms of Covid-19, please do not come to the temple. Please consider being tested for Covid-19. 

IMPORTANT: One of the best ways you can keep yourself, your family, and our whole community safe is to limit indoor exposure of people who are not fully vaccinated. Please limit indoor exposure of not fully vaccinated students in our schools to other unvaccinated individuals. If you are gathering indoors where people are not fully vaccinated, please remain masked. 

We recognize this is an ever-evolving situation. The staff, clergy, and lay leadership of TSTI appreciate your understanding and compliance with these policies. If you have questions, please contact Beth Blackman. Together, we will continue to maintain the health of our sacred community.

Beth Blackman, Executive Director
Rabbi Daniel M. Cohen
Elise Joy and Marjie Terry, Co-Presidents