UPDATE March 6, 2020
TEMPLE BETH OR CANCELLATIONS
Dear Members of Temple Beth Or,
It is with a heavy heart and great concern that Rabbi Kort and the Executive Board have decided to severely decrease activities at Temple Beth Or, in the week ahead. There have been significant changes in the recommendations for protection against COVID19 (Coronavirus), which we feel that we need to follow.
Both Snohomish and King Counties are recommending all residents avoid large gatherings, particularly non-essential gatherings, and those in higher risk groups should take extra precautions. Snohomish County and the city of Everett declared states of emergency late Wednesday to aid in getting additional resources to fight the COVID-19 outbreak.
“This is a good time to consider postponing events if possible,” Dr. Chris Spitters with the Snohomish County Health District said. “The larger the group, the higher the risk.” Although not mandated, the Health District asks individuals and organizations to make these decisions. “We’re just trying to provide guidelines and if it’s not necessary and can be delayed and deferred, you’re going to reduce your risk.”
Snohomish County is joining King County in recommending that those who are at high-risk take extra precautions to avoid gatherings. That includes people who are:
- Over 60 years old
- Those who have underlying health issues such as heart disease, lung disease or diabetes
- Those with weakened immune systems
- Those who are pregnant
More information may be found at https://komonews.com/news/coronavirus/snohomish-county-residents-should-avoid-gatherings-of-50-or-more.
Again, we cannot emphasis enough the most important steps to protect yourself and others against COVID19:
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid contact with people who are sick; stay home while you are sick
- Avoid close contact with others, cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing
As a small congregation without full time custodial staff, and given the difficult-to-impossible access of scarce cleaning products in our area and throughout the country, we also do not have the ability to perform intensive, frequent cleaning at the Temple.
Rabbi Kort has been in contact with the WA Coalition of Rabbis. With a few exceptions, Greater Seattle synagogues have decided to cancel all programs and gatherings, including Shabbat services this week. Jewish tradition teaches that we must care for those who are most vulnerable. The Executive Board and Religious School principal agree with her that we should embrace this value and cancel public gatherings, including Religious School on Sunday and the Purim celebration on Monday.
Join Rabbi Kort on Facebook Live for Shabbat candle lighting at 5:45 pm and for an alternative Purim experience on Monday night. More information to follow on Purim.
In the coming weeks we may have members who are ill, have been exposed to COVID19, quarantined, or self-quarantined who may need support. We will look into ways to assist these people as best we can while maintaining the highest level of safety for our TBO family.
We will continue to monitor this situation closely and will keep you informed as to what we will be doing in the coming weeks with respect to activities, Religious School, and worship services at TBO. Wishing you a peaceful Shabbat.
Rabbi Kort and Vicky Romero
March 3, 2020
Dear Temple Beth Or Members,
The health and safety of our Temple Beth Or community is our highest priority. The Coronavirus Disease 2019 is an evolving health situation and we will keep updated with the Snohomish County Health District and the CDC, and follow their professional recommendations.
While the Coronavirus is making the news lately it is a good time to remind everyone that it is still flu season. Please keep sick children home and be diligent about covering coughs with cloth (not a bare hand), washing hands frequently (for 20 seconds with warm water), and try to avoid face-touching. While information about the newly identified virus is emerging, it appears to spread similarly to the flu, so these basic precautions remain the best-known protection for both. This is also a good time to remind people to consider getting their flu shot(s). From the Snohomish County Health District: “The most important thing you can do is remain calm, prepared, and informed. It also is important to take standard illness prevention tips. The same steps you take to reduce the spread of flu or other respiratory illnesses are key tools for reducing the spread of coronavirus.”
Out of an abundance of caution, we will attempt to have hand sanitizer at each door for people to wash hands as they enter. We will also use food prep gloves for snacks and oneg preparation and ask people not to use bare hands to take food from a serving tray. NOTE: WE CANNOT GUARANTEE THAT HAND SANITIZER AND GLOVES WILL ALWAYS BE AVAILABLE, as supplies are running out in the stores. However, good handwashing is the best way to make sure your hands are virus-free.
We do ask that anyone experiencing a fever, showing signs of cough, flu, or pneumonia, shortness of breath, or other respiratory conditions that could be contagious, stay home and seek immediate medical attention (be sure to call your healthcare provider prior to going to the emergency room). If you have been diagnosed with, have been exposed to, or have restrictions from your medical provider related to COVID-19 or other communicable diseases, please contact the Temple immediately.
If people would be more comfortable, we support your decision to stay home. Please let the Religious School know if you plan to keep children home. Should anyone who has been to the Temple recently develop a verified case, we will follow recommendations for a thorough cleaning. We will continue to stay close and monitor this situation. More information can be found at www.snohd.org/484/Novel-Coronavirus-2019 and https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
If closure of the Temple becomes warranted, Temple members will be notified by ORbits, phone tree, Facebook, and our website as quickly as possible.
If you have questions or concerns, please contact Vicky Romero.
May we all remain safe and healthy.