August 25, 2021
August 25, 2021
Dear JCC Friend,
As we have shared with you before even the first case of Covid-19 was reported in Allegheny County, the health and safety of our members, guests, and professional staff is the JCC’s top priority. Consistent with our mission, we remain resolute in this commitment for as long as it takes our community to fully emerge from the pandemic. We are inspired by the Jewish value of pikuach nefesh (saving of a life) and our longstanding tradition that the preservation of human life takes precedence over other practices.
All along, we have believed and followed the science and the ongoing guidance from our panel of medical experts and national and local health authorities. Each operational component to our multi-phased reopening has been rigorously pressure tested by our colleagues at the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative, a nationally recognized expert in quality improvement in healthcare and community settings. This methodical and well-informed approach has enabled us to serve thousands of you throughout our region – in-person and without interruption – for over 15 months as we adapt and modify programming and health and safety procedures along the way.
Our latest announcement on August 3rd requiring face masks for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals while indoors at the JCC is expected to continue until Allegheny County falls below the high or substantial community transmission rate.
Since that announcement, our leadership has carefully reviewed additional ways to better support community well-being and enhance mitigation of Covid-19 exposure and potential virus spread. With this in mind, and with the unanimous support of the JCC Board of Directors last week, we announce the following new requirements:
- JCC Employees: Effective October 18, 2021, all current full-time and part-time staff will be required to provide proof of vaccination as a condition of their employment with the agency. While more than 95% of our employees are fully vaccinated (far greater than Allegheny County’s current adult vaccination rate of 64.5%), we believe this measure offers the best mitigation strategy available to us in addition to the current indoor mask requirement. Effective immediately, all new JCC employees must be vaccinated to secure employment with the agency.
- JCC Members/Guests: Effective October 18, 2021, JCC members and guests over age 12 will need to show proof of vaccination to gain access to indoor health and fitness facilities and other programs under our direct supervision. We have intentionally provided this window of time to encourage those of you who are long-standing JCC members and have yet to be vaccinated or those of you who have not yet made the decision to vaccinate your adolescent children the opportunity to do so at your earliest convenience before we can no longer serve you in the manner you have been afforded until now.
These vaccination policies will be implemented as open-ended, with
any changes or reversals informed by updates relating to infection
rates, transmission data, variant developments, and local, state,
or federal regulations.
We encourage you to click on our FAQs that provide greater detail about how we plan to implement the member/guest vaccination requirement and the limited exemptions that will be made available. We also note that JCC services provided through a contract with the Allegheny County Area Agency on Aging will not require proof of vaccination as a condition of service, though we strongly recommend older adults registered for the senior center be vaccinated and other programs within the JCC will require older adults be vaccinated to participate.
We recognize that not everyone will agree with our decision, but it has become increasingly clear that our community’s health is better served when everyone becomes vaccinated and that a large number of unvaccinated people worldwide allows for the pandemic to continue and the virus to mutate. Our commitment to community frames everything we do. This decision is supported by the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Public Health Association and similar mandates are being implemented in an increasing number of leading employers and service providers nationwide.
We thank you for your continued cooperation as we work together to support each other through this extended public health challenge and do our utmost to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 in our area.
Brian Schreiber, President & CEO
William S. Goodman, Board Chair