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COVID Resources

COVID-19 Minyan Policy (updated 3.5.2021)


We are in the middle of upgrading our policies to reflect the new reality of COVID vaccinations but they are not yet ready for primetime. Please see regular email announcements for specific weekly changes as we continue to relax restrictions.

In the meantime, please continue to follow these policies below.
 

  • DO NOT ATTEND SHUL IF:
    -- You have received a positive COVID test.
    -- You (or anyone living with you) is experiencing any of the COVID symptoms as defined by the CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html).
    -- You have been exposed to someone who has either tested positive for COVID or who is experiencing any of the COVID symptoms (see link above). Exposure guidelines are defined by the CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/public-health-recommendations.html).
    -- You are awaiting results of a COVID test because you were exposed to someone who tested positive to COVID, you were exposed to someone who took a COVID test for possible exposure, and/or you are symptomatic.
  • Guests, Visitors, and/or Recent Travelers (Public Air/Train/Bus or Private Car):
    -- GENERAL: Guests, visitors, and/or recent travelers are encouraged to contact the NTS COVID Committee about attending minyan/services. Please email: exec@newtocoshul.com. We thank you for your cooperation! That said, here are some general guidelines:
    -- WHERE TO SIT: Guests, visitors, and/or recent travelers are welcomed at shul ONLY outside on the back porch or fully outside the physical building by the windows. Guests, visitors, and/or recent travelers are currently NOT permitted inside the building.
    -- PROCESS TO ENTER BUILDING: Guests, visitors and/or recent travelers who wish to enter the building must follow the "AFTER EXPOSURE" procedures under "Re-Entering Shul" (see below).
    -- TZEDAKA COLLECTORS: Guest, visitors, and/or recent travelers who are collecting tzedaka must speak to the rabbi for permission in advance (rabbi@newtocoshul.com) and observe all other rules.
    -- VACCINATED PEOPLE: Guests, visitors, and/or recent travelers who have been vaccinated, please see "COVID Vaccine" section below.
  • Re-Entering Shul:
    -- AFTER POSITIVE COVID TEST: This will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis as there are several contributing factors. The NTS COVID Committee will review all individual cases. Please email: exec@newtocoshul.com. We thank you for your cooperation! 
    -- AFTER EXPOSURE:
     In general, we require a 7-day wait before testing (one can test on day 7), OR a 10-day wait without symptoms, before returning to shul. We require a wait period of 7 days post exposure (or post travel) before testing (one can test on day 7) and the test cannot be a "rapid" test. Any negative COVID test results obtained prior to day 7 (i.e. on day 6 or prior) post exposure or post travel, or testing done via a "rapid" test will not be accepted as valid to re-enter shul.
    -- GUESTS, VISITORS, AND/OR RECENT TRAVELERS: Please follow "AFTER EXPOSURE" guidelines (above).
  • COVID Vaccine:
    -- GENERAL: We highly recommend those who attend our minyanim get a US FDA-approved COVID vaccine if able and eligible to receive it. This is not mandatory to attend our minyanim. Please consult with your physician before making any health-related decisions.
    -- ALL OTHER COVID POLICIES: Those who have received the COVID vaccine are still required to follow all other shul COVID policies including what to do after exposure, masking up while on shul property, etc.
    -- GUESTS & VISITORS FROM OUT OF TOWN: (Welcome!) Please note that even if you have been vaccinated, we still request that you choose a seat outside on the back porch or fully outside the physical building by the windows. We continue to request you not come inside the building.
    -- LOCAL COMMUNITY MEMBERS & GUESTS: Local Atlanta community members and guests known to us (only!) who have completed their vaccination through a US FDA-approved COVID vaccine and waited two weeks post-vaccine, may now enter the shul building immediately after travel, without waiting for a test or for the passage of 10 days (thereby bypassing the procedures detailed in "Re-Entering Shul" - see above).
    -- PROOF OF VACCINATION: The rabbi and NTS COVID Committee reserve the right to ask for proof of COVID vaccination or to deny entry to any individual at their sole discretion.
  • On shul property, everyone must:
    -- Wear a mask that covers BOTH the mouth and nose at all times.
    -- Maintain appropriate distance (6+ feet) from anyone else (unless there is a partition).
  • At this time, no children under the age of 9. Any children 9 or above must sit with a parent and follow all other policies. If you want to request an exception, please contact the NTS COVID Committee exec@newtocoshul.com.
  • Our shul is a "no touch zone":
    -- Please bring your own siddur, chumash, and/or any other sefer (books).
    -- Please refrain from kissing the mezzuzah and/or Torah.
    -- All doors and windows will be propped open.
  • We have one available bathroom (the hall bathroom) available to congregants. Please:
    -- Wipe down any surfaces as you leave (wipes provided by the shul).
    -- Please use hand sanitizer before returning to minyan (hand sanitizer provided by the shul).
  • Members who believe that they have COVID are asked to report their condition through a confidential form created for our local synagogues: Atlanta Synagogue COVID Alert Network. This initiative is being spearheaded by local health experts, and you can read more about it below. We need accurate data in order to run our community safely, and we expect if you daven with us that you will cooperate with this effort.
  • In general, even off shul property we kindly ask that those who attend our minyanim to exercise appropriate caution when they socialize. In particular, please avoid private or public kiddushes and multifamily indoor meals in which masking and separation are by nature difficult to maintain.
  • We strongly encourage anyone who is considered "higher risk", as defined by the CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-at-increased-risk.html), to seek a medical professional's advice regarding attending shul.
  • Minyan registration is currently NOT required for any minyan - whether Shabbat or weekday.
  • To make everyone feel as comfortable as possible, we have THREE minyan "zones":
    (1) Inside the building (approximately 15 spaces).
    (2) The back porch (approximately 10 spaces).
    (3) Fully outside the physical building by the windows (approximately 6 spaces).

    Additional Notes:
    -- Both men and women are welcomed to attend minyan and we have women's sections available in all three minyan "zones."
    -- All building windows and doors will be propped open to maintain steady airflow which will maximize the safety of our congregants.
    -- Please note the use of the term "spaces" (not "seats," per se). There can be multiple seats in a "space." This will allow multiple members of the same household to occupy the same "space" and sit together.
    -- Please do not move any chairs; they have been set up in a very specific arrangement to maintain social distancing.
NTS "COVID Committee"


The COVID Committee is made up of the NTS Executive Committee in consultation with Rabbi Seeman. Very simply, we try our best to see what is happening with COVID in the world, US, Georgia, Atlanta, and the greater local Jewish community. With advice and input from healthcare and medical professionals, we make NTS policies we feel will best protect the people who come to NTS. Our policies evolve as the information evolves. The most up-to-date shul policies are all found here on this webpage. For more information, please contact the NTS COVID Committee at: exec@newtocoshul.com.

Synagogue COVID-19 Tracking System


Atlanta Synagogue COVID Alert Network

Dear Members -

Thanks to an initiative launched by Dr. Raphael Harpaz, we are able to take part in what we hope will become a community-wide system that will help us track COVID-19 rates in our shul and in the broader Orthodox community throughout Atlanta. 

While Rabbi Seeman is often one of the first to know if there is serious illness among congregants, that is not a robust or foolproof system, and you may not know if it is adequate to guide your decisions. To address this problem, we are initiating a shul-based COVID-19 tracking system. The system is confidential, and it works like this:

In brief, congregants who believe that they have COVID-19 are encouraged to report their condition and to respond to a few questions using this form. The information goes to a confidential mailbox that is managed by a trusted individual, and a weekly report is shared with participating rabbis. This part is thus quite effortless.

In addition, each rabbi at participating shuls (at this point, BJ, OHT, and NTS) can decide whether he wishes to be alerted in a more immediate manner should a congregant learn that he/she had been contagious when attending minyan, so that steps can immediately be taken, if necessary, to alert others participating in that minyan.

If there are any questions regarding the rationale or details of this project, please feel free to contact Reuven Travis at exec@newtocoshul.com. We thank Dr. Harpaz for taking the lead on this important initiative!

All the best.

Reuven Travis
Rebecca Schmerer
Yoni Graber
NTS Executive Board

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