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Family Life and Learning Health and Safety Protocols

As of January 15, 2021

This plan has been formulated based on guidelines from the CDC, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), our peer programs, and Campus Operations Plan. Additional updates from the BJ Re-Entry Task Force December, 2020 Report are incorporated as well.

As the status of community spread and vaccination continue to shift, these policies and procedures are subject to change.  

Guiding Principles

We are committed to providing a safe, nurturing, and warm learning environment for all families. Our participants’ mental health and social-emotional development continue to be our priority, as we manage new protocols and safety measures.

Social interaction among school-aged children is especially important for the development of communication, social-emotional, and interpersonal skills. While the majority of our programming will take place virtually, our hope is to bring children together to meet in person sporadically throughout the winter and spring.

Meeting in person reinforces children’s feelings of connectedness, as well as their belief that the staff and other adults at the synagogue care about them and their well-being. In-person events provide children opportunities to facilitate social-emotional development, which is difficult to replicate through distance learning.

This plan will allow us to:

  1. Ensure that our families can receive a Jewish education while staying safe, healthy, and socially-emotionally supported.
  2. Ensure that our children and families feel socially and spiritually connected, even while physically distant. We would like our families to feel that BJ is a space they can turn to in times of need.
  3. Ensure that we are creating an environment where our families can be active Jewish participants in our current world.

Arrival for In-Person Events That are 30 Minutes or Longer

In order to comply with new safety guidelines regarding social distancing, complete and submitted health screening forms and temperature checks are required when anyone takes part in an in-person FLAL event, both outside or potentially inside of the building.

Participants must have completed a health screening form before arrival at a Family Life and Learning event. Health screening forms for all Family Life and Learning events will be sent on the day of the event. No participant will be admitted to an event without that completed virtual form on the day of the event.

Temperature Check

Upon entry into any Family Life and Learning event, all participants will be given a temperature check. If a participant shows a temperature above 99, the participant will be sent home.

For events with a guest attendance of 30 and above, all participants, regardless of length, will get their temperature checked, and COVID-19 Screening forms must be completed prior to arrival.

Hand hygiene stations, visible signage encouraging guests from separate families/pods to stay six feet apart, and ground signage which designates six feet will be provided at all programs.

Face Masks

All Family Life and Learning staff are required to wear face masks during in-person events.

All participants will be required to wear face masks, which are to be provided by parents or guardians. Participants will not be allowed to take part in any Family Life and Learning events without a mask.

Social Distancing

We recognize that physical distancing is not always easy, but it is necessary. We expect, and continue to ensure, participants remain six feet apart for any in-person event. Families that cannot abide by these guidelines will be asked to leave.


If someone tests positive for COVID-19, it is their responsibility, and that of the testing facility, to report this information to the Health Department. The person, or a city contact tracer, may then contact BJ if we are noted as a site of possible exposure. We would then use the COVID-19 screening forms to support contact tracing to others who were in the exposure zone.


Moving Traditions In the Park

We hope group leaders will be able to organize groups to meet outside, physically distanced, once a month.


Our hope is to hold a brief service for our teens. All of our outlined protocols would remain in place. Information from Town Hall meetings indicate that both Parents (BJ members) and teens feel passionate about providing this spiritual experience for our teens.

Kulanu Outdoors

We are experimenting with an outdoor service in the park with pre-registration required and the above-mentioned guidelines outlined. If weather becomes an issue, we will communicate immediately with registrants and stream the service instead.

Informal Outdoor Pop-ups

Social-emotional and safely distanced activities, such as scavenger hunts, relay races, etc., are intended to help the relational connections in our community. These youth-centered programs will all take place outside. If weather becomes an issue, these in person will be rescheduled.


We are currently working with different retreat centers, medical professionals, and staff to explore the potential to offer retreats in the spring. We will update you in March when we have more information.

Frequently Asked Questions 

If a parent or guardian has a fever, do participants need to stay home?

Yes.  The recommendation would be for the ill person to be tested for COVID-19, as fever is a primary symptom.  If that test is positive OR if the participant starts to develop symptoms, the participant must stay away from pop-up events.

My participant had a playdate or hang out with another person who has now been diagnosed with COVID-19, does my participant need to stay home?

Yes.  If your participant has been exposed (defined as within six feet of the person for 10 minutes or more), your participant must remain at home for 14 days from the last exposure.

A member of my household, or a classmate, was exposed and is now quarantining, does my participant need to stay home?

Yes.  If the member of your household subsequently tests positive or exhibits symptoms, your participant will need to stay home.

How long does my participant need to be absent if they have a cough/fever?

It depends.  If your participant receives a negative COVID-19 test, then they can return to a Family Life & Learning program after they are fever-free for 72 hours without the aid of medication and symptoms have improved. If they do not receive a COVID-19 test, your participant will need to remain home for 10 days AND be fever free for 72 hours without the aid of medication and have improved symptoms.

What happens if someone at my child’s Family Life and Learning event is diagnosed with COVID-19?

If a participant or staff member receives a positive diagnosis of COVID-19, all families in that pop-up program will be notified immediately, and pop up events will not take place for 14 days and be moved to remote learning.


We believe that the social-emotional health of our community is essential during these unprecedented times. These in-person events are for both children and families to stay connected to each other and BJ, as we strive to continue to create, maintain, and grow sacred relationships.

Mike Witman

Written By Mike Witman

Michael Witman currently serves as the Director of Family Life and Learning at B'nai Jeshurun in New York City. He previously served as the Director of Education at Temple Beth-El of Great Neck. Mi...

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