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Dear JCC Friends,

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, we have done our utmost to serve you and our community, with health and safety the JCC’s top priority.

By following the science and medical experts and following the guidance of the CDC and local health authorities, we continue to successfully serve people of all ages and abilities in our facilities, operated child care and camping programs, restored fitness and wellness activities indoors, reopened locker rooms, and supported ongoing public health and nutrition programs.

Welcome!


As of October 18, a one-time proof of COVID vaccine will be required to enter the JCC.

You can bring in proof of vaccination for you and your eligible household members the next time you are in the building.

How to show proof of vaccination:

➡ In person only: Cannot be mailed or emailed
➡ You only need to show proof one time
➡ You can present your Vaccine Card, a photocopy of the card, or a digital version on your mobile phone at the following locations:

Squirrel Hill: Centerfit Desk

South Hills: Front Reception Desk

August 25, 2021

Dear JCC Friends,

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

Read the op-ed The Imperative to Preserve and Safeguard Life – Why Two JCCs Announced Vaccine Requirements, by Brian Schreiber and Dava Schub, HERE

  • Why doesn’t the policy go into effect until October 18?

We want to best afford our members, parents with minor children over age 12, and staff who have yet to be vaccinated the opportunity to do so before our policy takes effect.  This gives currently unvaccinated individuals seven full weeks from our announcement to be become “fully vaccinated” (two weeks after their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, or two weeks past a single Johnson & Johnson vaccine).   We do not view success as denying people access to the JCC; rather we strive to influence more people to make the decision to become vaccinated.

  • Why isn’t the JCC allowing members and guests to present recent COVID test results in lieu of vaccines?

Throughout the pandemic, we have maintained consistent protocols for both professional staff and members and guests. Following this approach, we believe that our requirement that all professional staff must be fully vaccinated by October 18, 2021 (with no exception for negative test results), should apply also to our members and guests. Furthermore, the frequency in which our members and program participants are typically present at the JCC makes accepting COVID tests in lieu of vaccines logistically impractical.

  • Is indoor mask wearing still required?

Yes – for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals while Allegheny County remains in high/substantial community transmission rate.   Any changes in our mask requirements will be communicated to you at a later time.

  • What about health screenings and temperature checks upon entry into a JCC facility?

Effective, August 24, 2021, the JCC is no longer performing health screenings or temperature checks. Instead, there are signs posted at our front desks reminding members, guests and staff that they should not enter our facilities if they are experiencing any Covid-related symptoms or have not completed at least a 10-day period of isolation after having tested positive for Covid-19.

  • What about your letter to members mentions that proof of vaccination will not be required for JCC services provided through a contract with the Allegheny County Area Agency on Aging. Are there any other programs that will be excluded from the vaccine mandate?

Yes. Programs for which participants may receive government funding, such as early childhood and our after-school offering, will not require a Covid-19 vaccination, though it is highly encouraged. However, should any children within these programs seek to participate in JCC enrichment activities, including swim lessons, basketball clinic, JDays, etc., the vaccine mandate will be applied to them and their household members.

  • This is private health information—why does the JCC think it can require it?

We have consulted with outside legal experts who assure us that verifying vaccination status does not infringe on your legal rights.

  • How do I show proof of vaccination when I arrive?

Any member who is 12 years and older should be prepared to bring in proof of vaccination upon arrival at a JCC facility. Our front desk staff will take note of your proof within our customer relationship management system and will not store any detailed information other than your vaccination status.

  • Can I email a picture of my vaccination card instead of bringing it instead of bringing it in?

Since your vaccination card contains protected health information, please do not send it to us. You must bring proof to us in person, and you only need to bring it in person one time.

  • What if I forget to bring proof of vaccination on or after October 18, 2021?

Unfortunately, unless you are not age eligible for a vaccination, have been granted a medical or religious/moral exemption or participating only in a government funded program, you must show proof of vaccination to enter. No exceptions will be allowed.

  • What if I have a medical condition that prevents me from getting vaccinated or a religious/moral objection to getting vaccinated?

We will accommodate medical and religious exemptions based on an individual evaluation of necessary documentation. If you believe you qualify for an exemption, please go to the tab below titled, “Forms to Request COVID-19 Vaccination Exemption” and complete the required information. The JCC will carefully review each request and determine if the request should be granted. After your request has been reviewed and processed, you will be notified, in writing, if an exemption has been granted or denied. The decision is final and not subject to appeal. Individuals are permitted to reapply if new documentation and information should become available. If your request for exemption is accepted, you must comply with additional mitigation requirements.

  • I have no intention of getting vaccinated, so what now?

We wish you would reconsider your choice because this is a matter of public health.  As we get closer to October 18, we will provide you with an update on how you can modify your membership status should you remain unvaccinated.

  • Alright, you convinced me.  How can I get vaccinated?

Follow this link to the Allegheny County Health Department vaccine information homepage that provides further information for you.

Note: After October 18, people can enter the JCC facilities if they produce appropriate Covid Vaccine documentation, as detailed above. 

General Information about Covid-19 pdf

What is SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19?
SARS-CoV-2 is a coronavirus that causes COVID-19, a respiratory illness. The virus is currently spreading from person-to-person. Health experts are concerned because this virus causes severe illness and pneumonia, and even death, in some people.

How does COVID-19 spread?
Currently COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly through close contact from person to person, including between people who are physically near each other (within about 6 feet). People who are infected but do not show symptoms can also spread the virus to others.

How severe is COVID-19?
Most coronavirus illnesses are mild with fever and cough. The vast majority of people with this coronavirus infection do not require hospital care. A much smaller percentage of people get severely ill with lung and breathing problems like pneumonia. Elderly people and people with underlying medical conditions are at highest risk for severe disease.

What are the symptoms?
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19: 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 or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea. This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

When do I seek medical evaluation and advice?
If you have COVID-19-like symptoms, contact your doctor first. Do not go to the emergency room.
Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs. If you have difficulty breathing, it doesn’t mean you have this coronavirus, but you should call 911.
If you’re over 60 and you have underlying conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and lung disease, come up with a plan with your doctor to identify your health risks for coronavirus and how to manage symptoms. Contact your doctor right away if you do have symptoms.
If you have symptoms and you were exposed to someone confirmed to have the virus, call your health care provider.

What should I do if COVID-19 variants are spreading in my area?
Viruses constantly change through mutation, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur.
Sometimes new variants emerge and disappear. Other times, new variants persist. Multiple variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been documented in the United States and globally during this pandemic. To date, studies show the current authorized vaccines are effective against identified variants in helping to prevent severe illness and death.

How can I protect myself from COVID-19?
It’s important that everyone take steps to reduce the spread of coronaviruses, especially to protect those who are more vulnerable.
• Get a COVID-19 vaccine.
• Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth to help protect yourself and others.
• Stay 6 feet apart from others.
• Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available.

Should I get a COVID-19 vaccine?
Research indicates that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective in preventing severe illness and death. Everyone 12 years of age and older is now eligible to geta free COVID-19 vaccination. If you have questions about COVID-19 vaccines, visit the CDC for answers to frequently-asked questions and the Commonwealth of PA to find a vaccine near you. You can also speak with your healthcare provider to get answers specific to your health.

How is COVID-19 treated?
There are no medications specifically approved for COVID-19 for use outside of hospital settings.
Most people with mild COVID-19 illness will recover on their own by drinking plenty of fluids, resting, and taking pain and fever medications. However, some cases develop pneumonia and require medical care or hospitalization, and there are current studies on different treatment options for individuals requiring that level of care.

Can you get re-infected with COVID-19?
Cases of reinfection with COVID-19 have been reported. Current studies are ongoing to determine how likely reinfection is, how often it occurs, how soon after the first infection reinfection can take place, how severe are cases of reinfection, who might be at higher risk for reinfection, what reinfection means for a person’s immunity, and if a person is able to spread COVID-19 to other people when reinfected.

Where can I get tested?
Your physician’s office is a great place to seek a test. Testing is typically conducted by taking a swab from the nose. Visit Allegheny County to find information on COVID-19 testing opportunities available to you.

Overview

Operating Hours

Squirrel Hill:
Monday through Thursday: 6 am-8 pm
Friday: 6 am-6 pm
Saturday and Sunday: 8 am-1 pm

Squirrel Hill Access: Beginning Thursday, September 9, 2021:
-Forbes & Centerfit doors will be open to members during all operating hours
-Darlington doors will be open from 8 am-1 pm weekdays and closed weekends to general public. Early Childhood families will have access 8 am-6 pm weekdays only.
-Robinson doors will be open from 1-8 pm M-F; closed on weekends.

South Hills:
Monday through Friday: 6 am-6 pm
Saturday and Sunday: 8 am-1 pm

Overview
  • Member Entrances:
    Squirrel Hill: Centerfit Entrance through the Forbes Avenue garage. Squirrel Hill Early Childhood Development Center only access is through the entrance on Darlington Road.
    South Hills: Entrance remains the same
  • Virtual JCCPGH:
    View your registrations, classes and access our 24/7 on demand and virtual live classes on Virtual JCCPGH
  • Reservations required for some activities through MINDBODY (click HERE for log-in and info).
  • Personal Training:
    Current clients can schedule with their Trainer.
    New clients – Please contact Laurie Wood (Squirrel Hill) or Elaine Cappucci (South Hills) to get started.
  • Group Exercise:
    We offer a robust schedule of virtual live and in-person group exercise classes HERE
  • Aquatics:
    Lap Swim by Reservation through MINDBODY:

    • Log-in HERE
    • For more info, click HERE

    Schedules including Open Lap Swim hours:

We’re moving forward together! For questions, please call 412-521-8011 or email [email protected]

Health and Safety
Cleaning and Sanitizing
Protocols meet and exceed CDC guidelines
  • Cleaning agents used to sanitize the facilities and equipment, including new electrostatic sprayers, are EPA compliant to neutralize viruses including Covid-19.
  • High-touch areas will be disinfected frequently throughout the day.
  • The Fitness Center will be disinfected daily; members must clean equipment before and after their workout; staff will follow up after each use.
  • Disinfecting Stations have been set up throughout the facilities.
  • New electrostatic sprayers are being used.
  • Commercial cleaning and janitorial services will perform deep cleaning and disinfecting throughout the building daily.
  • Placement of HEPA fan/filtration units in common areas to improve ventilation per CDC guidance.
  • HVAC filter replacements and system adjustments to increase the continuous flow of outside air in accordance with CDC guidance.
Sanitizing
  • Hands-free Hand Sanitizer Stations have been added throughout facilities.
  • Disinfecting Stations have been set up throughout the facilities.
  • Members are required to wipe down equipment after each use.
  • Hands-Free Water Bottle Filling Stations: Water fountains have been limited to water filling stations only. Please bring your own water bottles.

For additional information:

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