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COVID-19 Response Levels

Synagogue Emanu-El is currently at Level 4:

Limited Staffing/Controlled In-Person Programs/Virtual Programs


Level 5: Total Synagogue Closure 

Level 5 response will execute total closure of synagogue building until risk is reduced as determined with guidance from medical professionals. No staff or volunteers will be at the synagogue until further notice. Staff and lay leadership will communicate via online/phone to manage synagogue needs. All programs will be virtual. One staff member or lay leader may be in the building at a time for vital synagogue business and building maintenance following Level 2 precautions.


Level 4: Limited Staffing/Controlled In-Person Programs/Virtual Programs 

Level 4 is intended to reduce significantly social contact for the safety of our community. Focus will be on virtual programming and individualized experiences in the building. All Level 2 precautions remain in effect in addition to the following:

  • Number of individual staff and lay leaders permitted in the building at any one time will be minimized based on distancing constraints. Staff will work on a part time basis based on role and need; staff and lay leaders will lead virtual or in-person programs with designated lay volunteer assistance.
  • No more than twenty-five people may be in the building at any time, determined by distancing and mask protocols. Religious School and Youth programming will be offered virtually only.
  • Other individualized programs will be determined on a case by case basis depending on attendance expected and coordinated precautions put into place.
  • Outdoor programs will be planned on a limited basis. Registration will be required.
  • All Level 2 precautions will be maintained.


Level 3: Reduced Attendance for Program & Gatherings/Virtual Program Offering 

Level 3 is intended to limit gatherings to small numbers at the synagogue building (sign up required) with virtual access available for those who cannot attend. All Level 2 precautions will remain in place at Emanu-El, as well as the following:

  • Public programs are permissible but with limited guests in the EE facility based on social distancing requirements. Virtual program access will be available alongside public programs as feasible.
  • Outdoor programs are permissible but limited to social distancing requirements.
  • Staff and limited lay leadership will continue to provide on-site ritual and program services (communications, office function, donations) to support congregational needs. Religious School and Youth Programs will be limited to the above attendee limitation.
  • Other in-person programs will be determined on a case by case basis with appropriate attendance limits and safety precautions.
  • No food services will be available at any programs. 


Level 2: Extreme Caution 

Level 2 response is aimed at increased caution through social distancing and careful hygiene. Italicized /Bold precautions below are required for participation in synagogue events.

  1. Congregants who consider themselves at risk, have chronic medical conditions, or are uncomfortable attending gatherings, should consult their physician. 
  2. The synagogue requires all visitors to use personal masks or disposable masks located at entrances of the building when in proximity to others. Hand sanitizer must be used upon entry and exit and will be available at all times.
  3. Janitorial staff will regularly clean all surfaces including doorknobs, tabletops, and prayer book covers as needed. The Synagogue staff will return to normal scheduling using Level 2 precautions.
  4. All services and programs will be held in areas which allow congregants to space themselves out (suggested 10-12 feet apart).
  5. Congregants who have a temperature above 100.4 F or are feeling different than normal should not attend. The symptoms listed by the CDC (fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion and/or runny nose, nausea and/or vomiting, diarrhea) should not attend under any circumstances. A temperature station will be located in the synagogue atrium.
  6. Congregants are not to shake hands, kiss, or hug, and should give others appropriate distance at all times.
  7. Congregants are not to kiss prayer books, mezuzot, tzitzit or any other ritual items. Torah readers and service leaders will have hand sanitizer when participating in ritual elements of the service.
  8. Congregants are encouraged to bring their own prayer books. Communal talitot will not be available. Congregants are asked to bring their own Kippot and head coverings should not be returned to a communal box.
  9. Special caution will be taken with food preparation and serving to avoid sharing of food serving utensils. South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and medical professionals will be consulted for any approved food services.
  10. Zoom and other on-line video services will be used for adult education Shabbat services and Holidays as feasible for those community members who for health reasons are unable to attend. 


Level 1: Normal Caution 

Level 1 response returns the synagogue to normal function with continued Level 2 precautions available and encouraged, but not required. 


Final determination of Synagogue Emanu-El response level, and any specific determination of building use, will be decided by the Board President, Rabbi, Executive Director and Task Force Chair in consultation with the Task Force. 

Fri, March 5 2021 21 Adar 5781