Guidance for Synagogues/Communities from the Orthodox Union

A Brooklyn beis medrash is empty Wednesday, except for a janitor sanitizing the room. (Avraham Elbaz)

The following is a portion of the guidance from the Orthodox Union regarding coronavirus safety:

 

As always, shuls and communities must strictly follow the guidelines provided by local and national authorities, including the CDC and local health departments.

In all communities – whether or not there are local confirmed cases of individuals suffering with the Coronavirus – all shuls and minyanim must be closed. Individuals may not attend shuls that remain open, nor convene minyanim in homes or other indoor or outdoor venues.

We encourage shuls to use both readily available and creative technological means to retain virtually their character as a kehilla, including continuing davening and learning together. We similarly encourage Torah Study Shiurim and Sedarim to continue virtually according to their established schedules. At times like this, it is critical that our Torah and Tefillah increase, rather than the opposite. Families and individuals should aspire to turn this period of challenges into an opportunity to bring more Torah and Tefillah into the home.

Public gatherings and Smachot may not take place. Weddings and funerals should be limited to a basic minyan. Brit Milah should be held privately, and Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations postponed.

 

Many individuals – including thousands of students – are returning to their communities from areas with active communal transmission – including Israel, New York and New Jersey. These individuals should practice separation for 14 days in the family home, having a separate room for sleeping, a separate bathroom if possible, and otherwise keeping a safe distance. They should not be the ones doing the shopping trips or any ventures out into the community until they have been home for 14 days symptom-free.

 

We advise strongly against those returning from such areas – as well as all grandchildren – kissing or hugging or having other close contact with elderly grandparents or others considered high risk from COVID-19.

 

With regard to what specific steps to take within the family home to separate those returning from the other members of the family, parents should consult with their own medical advisors and should adhere to all governmental, public health and local medical guidelines for how to practice separation for returnees from areas of active transmission. Many local synagogues and communities are helping members to be informed and connected to appropriate sources of guidance.