We want to thank you for your patience as we navigate the winding road to our in-person return.
The Board and Staff are looking forward to an exciting year filled with opportunities to strengthen and grow our community. We are gratified that IFFP has not skipped a beat: offering meaningful virtual High Holy Day Services, Gatherings, and Sunday School. At the same time, we are eager to return to in-person experiences, safely and soon. To that end, here is our plan.
When we are together in person our Gatherings and Adult Groups will be hybrid: members will attend physically at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School (CESJDS) while a live-stream will be available for virtual members and any members not comfortable meeting in person. We plan to hold Sunday School in person, with appropriate safety precautions in place. COA and COA Prep classes will have remote options to support families outside of the DC area and those local students having other commitments making it difficult to attend in-person.
Criteria for In-Person Hybrid
With input from IFFP members, Staff, and the COVID Prevention Task Force, we have defined criteria to guide Board decisions for returning to in-person.. We will revisit the criteria below every two weeks, with any changes communicated to the Community.
- Our primary data metric will be Montgomery County COVID data – weekly cases per 100,000 residents (Montgomery Dashboard).
- We will also monitor Fairfax County COVID data (Fairfax Dashboard) to ensure cases are trending in the same direction.
- When the primary data metric falls to 50 or below (moving from Substantial Transmission levels to Moderate Transmission levels), and remains below 50 for at least three days, the Board will convene to consider a return to in-person.
- When the primary data metric either trends upward for one week and/or rises above 50, the Board will convene to consider returning to virtual only.
- To allow Staff time to plan and prepare, there will be up to two weeks between the decision to return and the actual return to in-person.
- Current data
- As of 9/28/21, the weekly cases per 100,000 residents was 76.1.
In-Person Protocols and Guidelines
When we do return to CESJDS, we will need to follow certain guidelines for everyone’s safety. The Board will develop such protocols in collaboration with our COVID Prevention Task Force and CESJDS. Likewise, we will draw insights from the experiences of fellow communities of worship. The Board will provide such guidance in advance of returning.
Now that we have well-defined criteria for considering a return, we are focused on planning outdoor activities for us to be together. We are in active conversations with CESJDS to determine if and how we can use their outdoor space for Gatherings, Sunday School, or other activities. We are also planning activities at local parks or other outdoor venues as early as October, so the IFFP community (including the kids) can enjoy each other’s company safely in the near term. More to come!
Especially now, we appreciate the need for transparency and clear, open communication. The IFFP Thursday Bulletin will include updates on the COVID metrics described above, and we will gauge interest in holding a ‘town hall’ similar to last Sunday’s Adult Group for the Board to answer questions and hear concerns. Always feel free to email Board Chair John Mills at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or feedback about this plan or any other input.
Thank you again for being valued members of the IFFP community. We look forward to a fruitful year together.
The IFFP Board