COVID-19 Updates


Monday, March 30, 2020 - Message from Jared Powers, CEO


I hope you and your family are healthy and safe. As we adjust to this new normal, we are all recognizing that the coronavirus pandemic is bringing to bear significant short and long-term consequences, and that the Marcus JCC will not be immune.
 
Since we closed our campus, senior management and the Board of Directors have been in constant communication, evaluating the effect this closure will have on the Agency. We are so grateful for our many generous donors whose support is essential. However, program fees and membership are our main sources of revenue. A prolonged closure will impact these revenue streams. Our priority is making sure that when we reopen, we are able to continue impacting the Atlanta community like we have for generations. Therefore, we have had to make necessary, though very difficult, decisions to ensure the long-term future of the Marcus JCC.
 
With a very heavy heart and with the unanimous approval of the Board of Directors, this morning we began the painful process of furloughing and laying off more than half of our staff. This very difficult decision is what will allow us to serve the community again in transformative ways when we are able to reopen. We are offering a variety of benefits to those being furloughed and laid off to ease their transitions.
 
I cannot even begin to express to you how difficult it was to come this decision; nor how heartbreaking it was to deliver the news to our dedicated staff who have helped bring our stellar programs and services to you and our community, and who have built genuine relationships and friendships with you and your families. My heart is truly pained, as I would imagine many of yours will be as well.
 
The remaining staff (many of whom are our Day Camps, Camp Barney Medintz, and Preschool staff), will take on additional work, fulfill additional roles, and take a reduced salary. This reduction in workforce will not hinder our ability to be up and running as soon as circumstances allow. A decision about Camps will not be made until mid-May.
 
The Marcus JCC is more than just buildings and campuses; we are truly a home away from home. These difficult decisions were made to ensure that our community will continue to have the Marcus JCC to provide its life-changing programs and services when we reopen.
 
During our building closure, we are continuing to offer virtual engagement opportunities from many of our program departments, such as Preschools, MJCCA Day Camps, Camp Barney Medintz, Fitness, Outreach, and the Book Festival. So please visit atlantajcc.org/staying-connected often, and I will continue to be in touch in the coming weeks.
 
I am confident that together we will get through this and emerge as a stronger community. May your families stay healthy and strong.

Friday, March 20, 2020 - Message from Jared Powers, CEO


As you know, we made the difficult decision to close our facilities late last week. The impacts related to COVID-19 continue as we closely monitor updates from the CDC and other local, state, and federal government agencies. We have decided to keep the Marcus JCC closed until such time as we are advised by those agencies that it is safe to open.

As we can’t be together in person, I would like to share a brief video message with you.

Though our buildings are closed, we are committed to continuing to build our community. Our incredible staff is hard at work planning virtual engagement opportunities for you and your family. For a comprehensive listing of the live streams, videos, workouts, and all the activities we have planned, please visit atlantajcc.org/staying-connected and check back often, as it is continually being updated.

We also remain focused on preparing for Summer 2020 at MJCCA Day Camps and Camp Barney Medintz. While we can’t predict with certainty when we will be able to reopen, we can ensure that we are ready to bring you the best summer ever when we do!

If you need to reach us, please don’t hesitate to call or email. I hope everyone is staying healthy and I look forward to when we can be together at the JCC.

Saturday, March 14, 2020 - Message from Jared Powers, CEO


After talking with experts, including consultants to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we have decided to keep the Marcus JCC closed and will postpone all programs through Friday, March 20. We will update you with our future plans on Friday.

Based on these conversations and recent developments, two things are abundantly clear:

  1. As testing becomes more readily available in the United States, we are likely to see a significant rise in the number of people testing positive for COVID-19.

  2. The best way to stop the spread of the virus is social distancing.


Our decision to keep the Marcus JCC closed was not an easy one, but we are steadfast in our commitment to keep our community safe and to do our part to stop the spread of this virus. We are all part of a special, close-knit community who learns together, plays together, and forms meaningful connections. As an agency, we would love nothing more than to continue to operate and serve our community during these difficult times in the manner you are all accustomed to. Unfortunately, most of our programs and activities do not lend themselves to social distancing. We simply cannot risk endangering people’s health. We will reopen our facilities when we are confident we can provide a safe environment for our members and staff.

The outstanding and dedicated staff of the Marcus JCC are the heart and soul of everything we provide to the community. Because of this, we are committed to paying our staff during this closure. When we do reopen, we will be relying on them to continue providing the outstanding and important services our community needs and ensuring that the Marcus JCC will continue to be our community’s town square where we can once again convene.

I ask that you please be patient and supportive as we navigate through these uncharted waters. If any member of our community is in need during this time, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Friday, March 13, 2020 - Message from Jared Powers, CEO


We are writing today to let you know that we have made the difficult decision to close the Marcus JCC from 6:00 pm, Friday, March 13 through Monday, March 16
. We will reevaluate this rapidly evolving situation on Monday and be back in touch with you by Monday evening with our plans moving forward.

In addition, The Weinstein School, The Schiff School, The Sunshine School, and our Club J After-School Program will be closed as of 6:00 pm Friday, March 13 through Friday, March 20. We will reevaluate this fluid situation on Friday, March 20 and be back in touch with you at that time with a decision to reopen or stay closed.

As of today, there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 at the Marcus JCC (or The Sunshine School or The Schiff School). We are taking this step because we are listening to health experts who say the best way to keep everyone safe is to practice social distancing. We want to be part of the solution and are committed to keeping our community safe.

All events, programs, and practices scheduled for March 14, 15, and 16 are cancelled.

We are so proud of the community we have built at the Marcus JCC. Every week, we see a diverse group of people walk through our doors – infants, young children, people with special needs, teens, older adults. Our people are the heart and soul of our JCC – and that is why we are so committed to keeping everyone safe and healthy.

If you or your family need special assistance during this time, please reach out to us and will do our very best to connect you to a community resource.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020 - Message from Jared Powers, CEO


Our highest priority is the safety, health, and wellbeing of our children, community members, and staff. The Marcus JCC is consulting with our state public health agencies and the CDC, who are providing guidance as we monitor the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

We are continuously assessing the implications of delaying, postponing, and/or cancelling various programs and activities at the JCC. These decisions are difficult and complicated. We pride ourselves on being a safe and welcoming place for people of all ages and backgrounds to gather, connect, exchange ideas, learn, and grow together. Learning from other communities, we are seeing success in limiting the potential spread of the virus by postponing large gatherings. As a result, the Marcus JCC will only be holding programs with less than 250 people in any one confined space, for the time being.

In addition, with Spring Break for most families in the near future, we are requiring that anyone who visits a country with a level 3 Travel Health Notice not visit the Marcus JCC for a minimum of 14 days upon their return. Please continue to visit the CDC website, as it is updated daily, to see what is being considered on the level 3 Travel Health Notice.

We all need to do our part to limit the spread of the virus. To that end, the Marcus JCC is committed to cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting the JCC on a daily basis. Our larger areas, including our preschool, are fogged with our Gen Eon Disinfectant blower. Our locker rooms are being foamed each night with disinfectant. Additional hand sanitizing stations have been added all around the JCC. Floors are cleaned with disinfectant daily and all lockers and door handles are being wiped multiple times per day.

But please keep in mind that we cannot do this alone and we need you to do your part. Please don’t come to the JCC if you are feeling sick (you must be fever-free or symptom-free for 24 hours unmedicated) and make sure to wash your hands regularly and follow all CDC guidelines to protect yourselves and others. Use the hand sanitizers when you visit the JCC and please wipe down every piece of fitness equipment or weight that you use during the day.

Thank you for your understanding and support as we continue to make these complicated decisions that impact our wonderful community.

Tuesday March 3, 2020 - Message from Jared Powers, CEO


The Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta (MJCCA) is committed to the safety, health, and well-being of our members, staff, and participants. We are always vigilant in our efforts to minimize the spread of infectious disease. As the world monitors the new Coronavirus (COVID-19), I want to assure you that the MJCCA team is keeping up to date, listening to CDC recommendations, and taking proactive steps to keep our community safe. Our planning and policies are being be driven by CDC guidelines.

The following are the specific steps that we are taking in our ongoing effort to prevent the spread of illness within the MJCCA community:

  • Our Support Services team is currently using high-level antiviral cleaning agents to properly disinfect the entire facility on a daily basis.
  • Staff members are being reminded to follow procedures for sanitizing toys in preschool classrooms and Kid Zone, equipment in the fitness center, high-use surfaces, and equipment/supplies throughout the facility.
  • We will be making sure that all youth program participants engage in frequent and proper hand washing and that we remind them about proper use and disposal of tissues. We’d like to remind our adult participants as well.


As the MJCCA team works hard to sanitize our facility, there are steps that I would like to ask you, our valued members and participants, to take to aid in our efforts to promote and maintain a healthy environment here at the MJCCA:

  • Stay home if you are sick! If you exhibit any symptoms of illness, please refrain from coming to the MJCCA until all symptoms have subsided. If you have a fever, please make sure that you are fever free for 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medication, before returning to the MJCCA.
  • If your children are enrolled in our preschool or any of our youth programs, please do not send your children to the MJCCA if they are sick.
  • If you work out in the MJCCA’s fitness center, please use the wipes provided throughout the fitness center to wipe down your equipment, both before and after use.
  • Please wash your hands frequently, consider carrying hand sanitizer, cover your mouth and nose when sneezing (if a tissue is not readily available, use the upper part of your arm/sleeve), and properly dispose of tissues and paper towels in appropriate trash receptacles.
  • If you are planning to do any traveling in the coming months, please take a moment to familiarize yourselves with information about the areas where infection rates are high and the chance for disease exposure is heightened. You can find information on the CDC’s Coronavirus Disease Travel Page HERE.


If you would like more information about the Coronavirus, frequently asked questions, or how to mitigate the spread of the disease, I am providing the following links for your review: CDC Coronovirus Fact Sheet 1 and CDC Coronovirus Fact Sheet 2. For those of you wondering how to discuss this topic with children who may be anxious about what they are hearing, the following article is a wonderful guide for parents: Talking Tools for Parents.

We will continue to monitor this situation and will follow guidelines as they are disseminated from local, state, and national authorities. We maintain our commitment and diligent efforts to mitigate exposure to and transmission of infectious diseases within our community. Please do your part in continuing to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of everyone. As always, please feel free to contact me with any specific questions or concerns.

 

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The MJCCA’s Inclusion Program strives to provide the necessary accommodations and flexibility for youth who require additional support so they may access the transformative opportunities available at the MJCCA. Our Inclusion Team collaborates with parents, educators, and staff to determine if successful program placement is possible. These youth and their families are then supported by our Inclusion Team through program accommodations and may also receive individualized assistance. Click here for more information.