Over the past month, our news feeds have been inundated with stories about the Coronavirus (COVID-19). What started out as a few cases abroad has turned into tens of thousands of cases worldwide, with some of the infected in Ohio only hours away from Dayton.

With so many conflicting reports about what people should and shouldn’t do in the midst of this outbreak, it’s difficult to know what information is correct, and what advice we should follow. Should we wear masks? Are we really heading toward a society-wide quarantine? If so, what items should we stock up on? Is it true that some people might have the virus and not even know it?

Luckily for us, Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) and the JCC Association of North America (JCCA) have provided us with invaluable information regarding COVID-19. Both JFNA and JCCA have also taken steps in an effort to help keep the community safe.

JFNA has decided to postpone several upcoming conferences and missions, including the Investment Institute, Intermediate Federation CEOs mission to St. Petersburg, the National Young Leadership Cabinet mission to Riga and Paris, and the Israel Action Network mission to Israel. Events further out on the calendar are currently being evaluated.

JCCA held a conference call last week, where a representative from the CDC shared facts about the virus and ways we can protect ourselves. The recommendations include the following:

  • Wash your hands: specifically, before eating, after using the restroom, and touching common surfaces.
  • Use hand sanitizer: while washing your hands is best, use hand sanitizer when that option is not available.
  • Cover your mouth: when coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth with a tissue. If one is not available, use your arm/elbow to cover your mouth.
  • Avoid touching your face/biting nails: also, for those who nervously bite on pens/pencils, this should be avoided as well.
  • If you are sick, stay home.
  • Limit travel.

It was also recommended that JCCs disinfect common surfaces more often, and have disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer available.

After the phone call, I emailed staff with a list of the above recommendations. We also strategically placed hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes throughout the building for staff and visitors to use. Our facilities staff have increased the frequency of disinfecting common surfaces.

Currently, it is business as usual, plus we have incorporated the recommendations from the CDC. In our preschool, we already enforce high levels of sanitary practices; the recommended CDC precautions are already in place. We are reviewing all necessary policies and procedures in the event additional measures are necessary.

This week, I am participating in two additional webinars through JCCA, focusing on what to anticipate and how to be prepared. One of the most important things for us is that we act as a community and work together to keep us all safe. If you have any questions or input, I welcome your correspondence.



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