About TABI | COVID-19 Re-opening Guidelines

Phase One | Phase Two | Phase Three | High Holy Days | Religious School

Our lives have been changed dramatically in the past months due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. We will get back together again at TABI– hopefully soon – but things will have to change. The way forward will not be a matter of following a timetable, but of faithfully discerning the signs of the times, and responding accordingly. “Pikuach Nefesh” – saving lives – is always held above all else in our tradition.

For the foreseeable future, we anticipate our lives to be shaped by the timeline set by COVID-19. We will face difficult choices between our religious needs and communal desires and what is safe and sound. We also know that if we push the envelope too far and reopen our building and resume gathering prematurely, we may unfairly force on our more vulnerable members the choice between keeping themselves and others safe and participating in congregational life.

We have been consulting with local and state officials and following closely the guidelines of our Reform Movement to help us come up with a plan for resuming our spiritual life at TABI. This is not at the exclusion of our increased online presence. We will continue our Streaming and ZOOM meetings and opportunities for people to connect – especially if they are not yet comfortable coming back into the building. Remember, too: we may have to move back and forth between phases if second and third waves of infections emerge. The advice of public health officials may change as more becomes known about COVID-19. We appreciate your flexibility, patience, and support as we move through the reopen phases.

We pray for a spirit of discernment, for wisdom, and patience. We pray for researchers and medical professionals; for the planners; for the ill and recovering; for those grieving and struggling with the weightiness of these times. May the memories of those lost to COVID-19 live on for a blessing.

A Model for Returning to TABI

Phase One:

“Phase One,” in most models, begins when there are two weeks of declining case counts, widespread availability of testing, contact tracing and no PPE shortages.

(Now through June 5)

  • We will continue holding online worship services only via LiveStream.
  • We will continue recording in the sanctuary, while maintaining at least 6 ft of space between the rabbi and the musicians.
  • Life Cycle Ceremonies (weddings, funerals) should be kept to less than 10 in attendance. If you need to help set a limit, consider using immediate family.
  • Classes, Religious School, Book Clubs, etc. and small groups continue to meet online.
  • We will keep office functions as limited as possible to ensure essential operations. Barbie will continue to work from home, as will the Rabbi. However, they may start to spend some time at the office. Those coming into the office will need to wear masks; we will continue to make sure that surfaces, including the phone, are regularly sanitized.
  • Masks will be available by the front door for those that don’t have one coming in.
  • Executive Committee and small groups of less than 10 might consider meeting in person while wearing masks and maintaining social distancing or they may continue meeting online.
  • High risk individuals (people over 60 and those with underlying conditions), whether staff or volunteers, should continue to shelter in place.

Phase Two:

We might expect several weeks of improving conditions to pass before this shift to Phase Two. This will require careful observance of physical/social distancing recommendations on an ongoing basis.

(June 5 – July 3)

  • Worship, depending on size:
  • Assuming in Phase Two we are allowed to have up to 50 people at worship: We will continue holding online worship, Livestreaming from the sanctuary with inperson participation from no more than 50 individuals
  • Worshipers will have temperature checked as they enter TABI and be asked to use hand sanitizer. Anyone with temperature over 99.8 will be asked to leave.
  • You will be asked to sign in upon entering the Temple, in case someone is diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • Masks will be required, and we will provide if worshipers don’t have one.
  • We will hold in person worship, but we will make ensure enough space to allow for social distancing. We will have a contingency plan for overflows beyond the approved number of people. “Family seating” areas will also be provided.
  • Friday Evening Services will be held in the Social Hall in the Visual Tefilah Format – no books or song sheets. Chairs will be spread out through the room to allow for 6 feet of distance between worshipers. There will be NO Oneg Shabbat.
  • Members must bring their own kippot and tallitot.
  • Small children will need to adhere to social distancing guidelines. If they can’t follow the guidelines parents should refrain from bringing them to TABI until social distance guidelines are relaxed.
  • Saturday Morning Services will take place in the Sanctuary with no more than 50 chairs spread out to allow for social distancing. We will need to limit volunteer participation and handling of ritual objects and the like. Therefore:
    • There will be no Torah procession
    • Only the Rabbi will handle the Torah, dress and undress the Torah and open the ark.
    • Musicians will need to play their own instruments and maintain Social distance when playing.

General recommendations for worship during Phase Two:

  • Wearing cloth face masks while at TABI is required, as is recommended in public spaces.
  • Singing is among the riskier behaviors when it comes to spreading droplets/aerosols which can carry the virus a significant distance and remain suspended in the air. A cloth mask is needed if there will be singing.
  • Distancing: Chairs will be set in such a way that only 50 are available and they are spread out 6 feet apart. “Family Seating” areas will be available.
  • There can be no Oneg on Friday or Kiddush on Saturday during this time. We should encourage people to leave the building rather than mingling.
    • Life rituals (weddings, funerals, confirmations) could take place in a more traditional way, with careful attention to guest lists so as to keep under the 50 person limit, and physical distancing plans. No receptions can take place at TABI during this time.
  • The use of nametags will be discontinued until further notice.

Phase Two - Small Groups, Classes and Meetings:

  • Masks will still be required to be worn in the building.
  • Classes can be offered in person. We will also maintain some online options for people who do not feel comfortable attending.
  • Regular office functions could resume more or less safely while maintaining social distancing and wearing masks. Continue to attend to cleaning and sanitizing the office. Pay particular attention to high-touch surfaces and cleaning hands after dealing with the offering.
  • Executive Board and Board and Committees might consider meeting in person while wearing masks and maintaining social distancing or continue meeting online.
  • Allow building users/renters to resume operations, with a plan to address cleaning needs and agreement to observe gathering and distancing protocols.

Phase Two - General Building Practices:

  • Post signs indicating symptoms and urging people to stay home/seek medical attention if they have symptoms.
  • Maintain a good stock of tissue, soap, hand sanitizer and disposable paper towels for drying hands.
  • Leave all doors open (office, rest room, social hall, etc.)
  • Maintain a small waste basket at each restroom door to allow opening the door with a paper towel when exiting and then disposing of the towel.
  • Clean the building regularly and between user groups, paying extra attention to high-touch surfaces.
  • If we become aware of someone in the Synagogue or a building user who is infected with COVID-19, we need to put a communication plan into action, and cooperate fully with contact tracers.
  • High risk individuals (people over 60 and those with underlying conditions), whether staff, volunteers, or program participants, should consider continuing to sheltering in place.

Phase Three:

Phase Three is based on a re-evaluation of the situation using the original criteria. We might expect several more weeks of improving conditions to pass before this shift.

It is always possible that conditions will not improve, and infections will increase again. In that case, physical distancing recommendations would need to be tightened temporarily in order to get back on track. Progress will not necessarily be linear. We must continue practicing careful hygiene, following of the physical/social distancing recommendations, encouraging people to stay at home if they have any symptoms of illness, and to cooperate with contact tracers if they are diagnosed.

(July 3 – TBD)

  • High risk individuals (people over 60 and those with underlying conditions), whether staff, volunteers, or program participants, should consider continuing to shelter in place during Phase Three.
  • Wear cloth face masks while at TABI and in community programs, as is recommended in public spaces.
  • Worship:
    • We will offer in-person and continued Livestream of both Friday and Saturday Services.
    • Physical distancing may not be required in Phase Three. We recommend that we still avoid crowding in the sanctuary to the extent possible.
    • We will research public health recommendations on group singing as we arrive at this phase.
    • You will be asked to sign in upon entering the Temple, in case someone is diagnosed with COVID-19. o We will continue to hold Friday Services in the Social Hall (Visual Tefilah) and Saturday Services in the Sanctuary using the Prayerbooks.
    • We will still NOT have Oneg or Kiddush, encouraging people to leave the building rather than mingling.
  • All classes, meetings and small groups can meet in person. We recommend maintaining some online options for high risk individuals and those who do not feel comfortable being in public.
  • Office functions could resume as normal, with attention to cleaning.
  • Groups, teams, and committees could meet in person.

High Holy Days

Because we have no way of knowing when each of these “Phases” will begin nor do we know exactly how long they will last, we cannot yet tell you what the holidays will look like at TABI. Assuming we are in Phase Three or beyond, we can assume that we will be able to offer an inperson High Holy Day Service at TABI. Whether we will need to offer “multiple services” to keep numbers down or move into the social hall for larger space with more distance between chairs or move to a service that does not use books are all “options on the table.” It is too early to know. High Holy Day Services will certainly be “different” than they have been, but we assure you they will be meaningful and being able to physically gather will be celebrated.

Religious School

The safety of our children is paramount. Later in the summer, after we have more information from the EVSC and Warrick County School System, we will come up with a plan for the continued religious education of our children.