Solel’s Return Committee – June 2021

by Solel Announcements, May 27, 2021

Solel’s Return Committee is focused on creating and implementing the plan that will move us from where we’ve been throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to where we all want to be in post-COVID times. Our group includes Solel’s professional staff, some Executive and Board members, a medical doctor and a Human Resources professional with experience in back-to-office planning. What’s more, we’ve been consulting directly with outside experts including Peel’s Medical Officer of Health, as well as other experts in law and insurance, for example. We want you to know that we’ve been working hard to make sure we can all get back to worshiping and meeting in our building as soon as we can do it safely.

Our Guiding Principles

Above all else, Solel is a Jewish organization, and our highest principle is Pikuach Nefesh – to save life. We all want to get back to the way things were before COVID, but we need to be sure that we don’t ask any congregant, visitor or member of our staff to take an unwarranted risk with their life and health.
We’re also guided by an important framework being used by liberal Jewish congregations everywhere as they develop their own plans for returning to their buildings. These are the questions that we have to be able to answer whenever we look at any element of our plan:

  1. Is it legal? We won’t take any step which violates local, provincial or federal laws or regulations. We also look very closely at the best current advice or our local Medical Officer of Health and other credible medical experts.
  2. Do we have a policy in place? We need to be sure that we have a clear policy for every aspect of our return plan. This needs to be written down and well communicated so that everyone understands what is and is not OK and what to do to keep everyone safe and healthy.
  3. Do we have the people and processes in place to enforce the policy? There’s no point in having a clear policy if we don’t have the staff, volunteers and other resources, including technologies and supplies to make sure these policies are enforced.

We need to have the right answers to all of these questions before we can move ahead with returning.

The Return Plan

The return plan is not finished yet, but our group has been hard at work on the plan. We can share that the plan, as it is coming together, includes the following elements:

  • Health screening
  • Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
  • Face coverings
  • Physical distancing
  • HVAC
  • Attendance and contact tracing
  • Public health reporting in the case of known or suspected cases
  • Continency plans in case of illness
  • Adapting activities including services and social gatherings

      Committee Activities

      Obviously Solel is not alone in working on a return plan and we have been in frequent contact with other synagogues in the Greater Toronto Area and all around the Reform Movement, sharing ideas and resources. We’ve participated in several workshops on everything from general return planning to specifics like how to include music in worship safely and how to run safe Hebrew School programming.
      We have had ongoing direct discussions with Peel’s Medical Office of Health, Dr. Lawrence Loh and we encourage you to join us on Tuesday, June 1 at 7:00pm for a virtual town hall with Dr. Loh where you can get your questions about COVID and safe return answered. Zoom connection information is in your Shammas email, or contact the office for details.
      We are in conversation with other groups in Solel, including members of the House Committee, the Religious Committee and in particular the High Holy Days Planning Committee to make sure that everyone who has a stake in executing the return plan is aware and involved in the complex decision-making process.
      Our committee meets often and in between meetings our members are working diligently on the many different aspects of our return plan. We also want to hear from you. Shortly you’ll be hearing about opportunities to participate in moderated discussion groups about the return plan.
      The pandemic has been long and difficult for many Soleniks. We are all looking forward to returning to a more normal situation. And although we know that this will take a little bit more time, and it won’t happen all at once, we’re confident that we will get there.

      We look forward to seeing you at the Virtual Town Hall on June 1 and in other venues very soon.

      Dr. Michael Zajdman
      Roselyn Allen
      Robbin Botnick
      John Lewsen
      Emma Weizenbluth
      Sue Dean-Norton
      Rabbi Audrey Pollack
      Arliene Botnick
      Joel Brown

Filed under: Congregational News

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