TSTI Building and Schools COVID-19 Policies and Procedures

(Revised 12/27/2021) | (Reviewed 12/27/2021)

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. 

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, link to policy below.)
  • Hold Shabbat and other religious services inside our chapel and sanctuary, with capacity limits.
  • Move forward with in-person classes in our Linda and Rudy Slucker Religious School, with exceptions for the week following school vacations, when we will be remote to ensure all are healthy when they return to school. (For specific religious school policies, please link to policy below.)
  • Move forward with hostingour Hebrew High students for classes and limited events in our indoor spaces, with exceptions for the week following school vacations, when we will be remote to ensure all are healthy when they return to school.
  • 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.

As of the week ending December 27, 2021 New Jersey lists the Covid-19 Activity Rate for the whole state as “VERY HIGH.” Given that, please anticipate that we may have to make rapid and/or last minute changes to our plans and protocols. Please monitor the TSTI emails and website for updates. And 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 ages 5 years and older will be allowed to enter the building for worship or religious school. Until then, individuals in the process of being vaccinated will be allowed to enter the building provided they can document they are in the vaccination process and show results of a Rapid (Antigen) Test taken within an hour of their visit. 

  • Medical exemptions must be provided to and reviewed by executive director, Beth Blackman, or, if for religious school, to Mindy Schreff.

  • Vaccination information can be communicated in two ways: 1. By uploading it into the congregant portal; or 2. By showing vaccination information upon arrival.

  • Masks must be worn properly (covering mouth and nose at all times), inside and outside the building, and in our parking lot. Congregants attending worship services must wear an N-95 or equivalent-quality mask.

  • The number of people allowed in attendance at indoor worship and gatherings will be limited to ensure proper distancing and ventilation. 

  • The Covid Advisory Panel has set the maximum capacity in the Sanctuary at 75  people; maximum capacity in the Chapel iscurrently 50  people. 

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’ve been exposed to Covid-19 and you are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated, you must quarantine for two weeks before returning to our building

If you’re not fully vaccinated and you’ve recently traveled outside of NJ, NY, PA, CT or DE, you must participate in temple programming remotely. You may return to in-person attendance after seven full days, if you test negative on days 3, 4, or 5 after returning from travel. (A PCR test is preferred and must be used if you have any symptoms.) You must wait ten days to return if no testing is done. This policy is in keeping with the South Orange-Maplewood and West Orange school districts (see above).

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

We will notify you if you have been (in the vicinity of someone) on temple grounds who tests positive for Covid-19. Please note that congregant confidentiality will be maintained at all times.

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 a rapidly 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