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KBI COVID-19 Standards

Letter from the President

I write to you all to provide an update on KBI's COVID measures. As we have over the last two years, the Officers and Directors of the KBI continually review the state of COVID transmission in our community and the latest medical understanding of the virus. What we now know today is that vaccination, with a booster when eligible, is the most important tool we have in preventing the spread of COVID and reducing the severity of infections. Masks and social distancing have played an important and necessary role in protecting us over the last two years. COVID is not a static virus, however. It mutates and changes, and so must we. While Omicron generally results in less severe illness, especially for the vaccinated, it is extremely transmissible. This is both good news and bad. Cloth masks, and even surgical masks, do not offer a substantial degree of protection from Omicron. I no longer believe these masks are necessary or effective. Several months ago, before Omicron became the dominant variant, the Board adopted the Virginia Department of Health COVID Level of Community Transmission as a framework to evaluate when COVID measures could be relaxed. This framework was based around the particularities of Delta and earlier variants. The VDH Community Transmission level framework, with a focus on the number of cases, is no longer relevant in light of the current Omicron variant. As we begin our third year of the ever-evolving landscape of COVID, it is important to consider what we give up by masking and not coming together as a community to socialize. Over the last two weeks, I have solicited feedback from our community about people's comfort levels with relaxing our COVID precautions. The feedback overwhelmingly favored relaxing our masking requirement. I took this feedback to the KBI Board this Wednesday with my recommendation that the Board withdraw our COVID measures that had been necessary to provide a safe place for the community to daven.

Therefore, effective immediately:

● Masks will be optional for attending KBI services and while in the building

● Kiddush after davening on Shabbat will be held inside in the social hall

● Shabbos groups will resume once the KBI basement remediation is complete

We will continue to monitor the development of COVID-19 variants and make adjustments as necessary. Thank you, Elliot Fitzgerald, KBI President

Mon, August 15 2022 18 Av 5782