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Outdoor Pool Update | Plans for a Phased Reopening | June 5 Fitness and Aquatics Facilities Update | Message from the CEO and Information about the Closure of the OFJCC
Expanded Hours for the Reopened Bill Heller Outdoor Lap Pool Starting Friday, July 10:
- Monday-Thursday: 7:00am–2:00pm and 6:00–8:00pm
- Friday: 7:00am–2:00pm and 4:00–6:00pm
- Saturday-Sunday: 8:00am – 2:00pm
About the Reopened Bill Heller Outdoor Lap Pool
We are thrilled that the Bill Heller Outdoor Pool is now open for adult lap swimming to active members who reserve a swim time!
If you would like to start enjoying the pool again and are not currently an active member, you can start or reactivate your membership by emailing [email protected].
If you are an active member and want to find out how to reserve times in the lap pool, visit paloaltojcc.org/Outdoor-Pool. This page also contains information about the new safety protocols that are in place to keep everyone healthy.
While swimming and visiting campus will look different for a while, we're still the same OFJCC and we're very excited to welcome you back to campus to swim!
Current Hours for the Bill Heller Outdoor Lap Pool
- Monday-Friday: 7:00am – 2:00pm
- Saturday-Sunday: 8:00am – 2:00pm
Our Plans for the Next Few Months
We are beyond excited that the Shelter-in-Place orders from the County of Santa Clara have begun to ease, and this means the COVID-19 cases have begun to stabilize. The OFJCC is dedicated to improving people's well-being, and this critical indicator of the community's health is wonderful to see. We are also thrilled to hear from Governor Newsom that gyms will be able to reopen in some areas later this week. While the County of Santa Clara has not yet given a timeline for fitness centers in this county to reopen, we are watching carefully and hope to have more news to share soon.
All this means that we are getting ready for our first in-person programs to resume on the OFJCC campus! During our closure, we have been continuing to offer new fitness, Jewish learning, youth, arts, Israel and community programming through our Virtual OFJCC and other channels. In the meantime, we have spent the three months of our closure learning everything we can about keeping our community and staff safe from COVID-19.
We have consulted with doctors, epidemiologists, safety experts and numerous public health authorities, and have compiled a massive "playbook" to guide everything from how we wipe down our door handles to how we help members reserve times in the Fitness Center. Many of our programs have needed to be reimagined in ways large and small, to comply with physical distancing requirements and also to take what we have learned about creating programs online and incorporate it into how we plan events on campus. It has been a massive effort, but we are thrilled that it will make us well prepared to begin gradually resuming operations on campus.
Even so, information continues to change every day, and we know that we will need to be flexible and learn along the way. Even more importantly, we know that you need to know how we are keeping you safe. So starting next week, we will be publishing a summary of this "playbook" online here on our StayHealthy page, and updating it regularly.
Safety is a partnership, too. New health screening procedures will be in place for every person entering campus, and we will be observing new safety protocols that need your help to succeed, from observing physical distancing to wiping down exercise machines. As each program resumes on campus, we will share details with you about how you can help.
In the meantime, we want to give you a sense for what "reopening" looks like. Please note that the phases and timeline described below are subject to change, depending on the latest County directives and guidance from public health authorities.
Phase 1: April–June
Throughout the Shelter-in-Place, we have been working to make sure we are ready to open at the earliest opportunity. This means new cleaning routines, new health and safety protocols, new training for our staff, and countless small changes to how we configure our space. In the meantime, we have been continuing to offer new fitness, Jewish learning, youth, arts, Israel and community programming through our Virtual OFJCC and other online programs, such as Beged Kefet. Our virtual programs have given us a way to offer you great JCC programs in the comfort of your home, and to reach out to people all over the world, and will remain part of how we deliver programs even when we reopen.
Phase 2: By July 6
The County of Santa Clara has moved into a new phase in its SIP orders, and that means that we are able to reopen certain critical programs serving children and offering outdoor facilities. Our Preschool Camp and summer J-Camp programs will run from July 6–31. We are planning to open the Bill Heller Outdoor Pool for fitness members to swim laps later in June, with a new reservation system for 45-minute blocks of time. Our new safety protocols will all be in force, and every person coming to campus will be required to go through a health screening before entering. We await new guidance from the County on when our full fitness facilities can begin to resume operations.
Phase 3: Summer and Early Fall
We currently anticipate being able to proceed to Phase 3 in the summer and early fall, assuming that restrictions from the County continue to ease. This means that Preschool will begin its new school year on site in August, with smaller classes and no mixing of children or teachers. Our Beged Kefet Hebrew school will also resume with the new school year. We expect that over this period we will also be able to resume swim lessons, certain small programs and a new set of outdoor fitness options. We also expect guidance from the County on when we can open more of our fitness facilities, and plan to do so quickly once it is allowed.
Phase 4: TBD
Large events and certain fitness programs and classes that require shared space will likely be suspended until a vaccine is available or therapies for COVID-19 are significantly improved. We will continue to update you here on our StayHealthy page.
We are so excited to begin seeing you on campus again soon! There is much more information to come, so please continue to watch your email, and look for further updates here.
Fitness and Aquatics Facilities Update
Earlier this week, we were excited to see updates to the County of Santa Clara's Shelter-in-Place Order, lifting or loosening certain restrictions. Notably, as of today, outdoor pools are legally permitted to reopen (under a number of stringent restrictions), while indoor pools and fitness facilities remain closed. We are thrilled by this news. Here is a brief update about the steps we are taking so that we can reopen the outdoor pool to lap swimmers in compliance with this Order.
- At this moment, the OFJCC campus is still closed.
- The detailed guidance from the County provides a number of specific new requirements for staffing, facilities and the number of swimmers in the pool. Our team has been working throughout this week to change our setup so that we can comply.
- The Order requires 300 square feet of pool space per swimmer. In practical terms, that means that there can be only one swimmer per lane.
- To accommodate this and make the pool available to as many members as possible, we are creating a new reservation system so that swimmers can reserve a 45-minute bloc of time. The number of reservations available to each member in a week will be limited. Further information on hours and how to register for your swim time will be available soon.
- Hours will be somewhat limited over the summer.
- The Order requires that locker rooms remain closed. The restroom at the indoor pool area will be available.
- All visitors to campus will have their temperature checked and have an observational health screen done before being allowed to enter campus.
- Swimmers will need to come dressed in swimwear and bring their own towel. A sanitized caddy will be available to each swimmer to store personal effects.
- Swimmers will be required to leave right after their swim is complete.
- New cleaning procedures have been put into place to ensure that all touched surfaces are cleaned regularly throughout the day, and we are working to provide new COVID safety training for all staff.
We are making good progress on all of these changes. While we are not ready to open the outdoor pool today, we hope to have everything in place to open later this month. We know that many of you are anxious to know about swim lessons and our other fitness facilities as well.
- The current Order does not yet allow for indoor pools or fitness facilities to reopen.
- Unfortunately, the current restrictions do not allow us to run youth swim team or swim lessons. We plan to resume youth swim team in the fall, assuming that the County permits us to do so, and we are working to prepare for resuming swim lessons quickly as restrictions continue to loosen.
- Gyms remain closed, but certain outdoor recreational and fitness activity is permitted. The OFJCC campus, including Freidenrich Community Park, is still closed at this time. However, we are exploring options for safely resuming some outdoor fitness activity in the coming weeks.
We will keep you posted on all of these points.
A message from CEO Zack Bodner
The OFJCC has temporarily SUSPENDED OPERATIONS.
See the full message from our CEO, Zack Bodner, here.
- No Fitness dues will be charged in April or until the closure ends. If you would like us to keep billing you in order to support employees and staff on furlough, please write [email protected] and say "Keep my membership active."
- No tuition for preschool or Club J will be charged in April or until the closure ends.
- Most staff is on furlough, but will still have 100% of their health care coverage covered, with support from generous donors and members.
- A small number of staff remain, on reduced hours. Please bear with us if staff is unable to respond quickly to inquiries.
- Your donations help employees, including those on furlough. We are making extraordinary efforts to concentrate our resources on caring for our staff and maintaining our readiness to re-open. You can help by donating at paloaltojcc.org/Donate. If you would like to direct your donations specifically to helping furloughed employees who are facing personal hardship that may require additional intervention, please designate the "CEO Discretionary Fund for Staff in Need." Our CEO, Zack Bodner, is using 100% of that fund to help employees in need.
Many of you have had questions about the decision to close and what it means for you.
Q: Are you still billing me?
A: No. As of April 1 and until the end of the closure, we are not charging monthly membership dues, nor are we charging monthly tuition for our preschool or Club J afterschool programs.
Q: Who got laid off?
A: Almost nobody. We have placed most employees on temporary furlough. This means that health care coverage continues to be paid 100%, and that we hope to bring as many staff back as quickly as possible once public health authorities tell us we can re-open.
Q: Who's still there?
A: A limited group of people, with reduced hours. We still have a number of instructors and program staff providing online experiences for you at our Virtual OFJCC site. And we have a small group of people making sure that our facilities and organization are ready to resume normal business operations as soon as possible.
Q: Why aren't you able to keep paying your employees?
A: The OFJCC is a nonprofit, community-supported institution. Every dollar that comes in—about 80% of it in the form of membership dues, preschool tuition, event tickets and class fees—goes back out again as staff compensation, facilities upkeep and direct program expenses. When the County of Santa Clara ordered the shelter-in-place, that meant that the vast majority of that revenue stopped coming in immediately. Fortunately, many hundreds of community members have stepped up with incredible generosity to ask that they continue being charged membership dues or to offer donations in support of staff. It has been profoundly heartwarming to see this level of support from the community. Unfortunately, it simply isn't enough in the face of this unprecedented situation of an extended and indefinite closure. We are making extraordinary efforts to concentrate our resources on employee compensation, and have been able to keep all staff at their full regular pay for the first three weeks of closure. Our staff's creativity, dedication and commitment to serving the community are extraordinary, and we are working to make sure that these emergency measures are temporary and short-lived.
Q: I don't understand. Aren't you still charging membership dues? Why not?
A: No, we aren't. As of April 1, we are not charging monthly membership dues unless the member has explicitly asked us to do so. We are grateful to hundreds of members who have voluntarily agreed to continue their membership dues by writing [email protected] and saying "Keep my membership active." Our members are diverse in every respect: age, ethnicity, religion, connections to the Jewish community, wellness needs and income. Many are on limited incomes or in precarious financial circumstances, something that has been accentuated by the current economic conditions. We know this is a time of uncertainty for everyone. We welcome ongoing membership from those who are in a position to make that choice, and are doing all we can to focus those resources on supporting employees. For everyone else, we have placed membership dues on hold until the closure passes, and we look forward to welcoming you back as active members when we re-open.
Q: Why aren't you getting some of this government aid I've been hearing about?
A: We have been closely following the federal legislation and are working very hard to make use of any assistance that the government offers. While legislation on a major aid package was passed on March 27, specific details about the application process, the timeline for loans, etc., were not immediately made clear. It is important to understand that it may be weeks or months before any actual funds become available to organizations. We continue to follow emerging news about government assistance extremely closely and will make use of every opportunity.
Q: What about tickets I bought for an event?
A: We'll be in touch very soon. When the closure orders came, we had to cancel dozens of events with thousands of tickets. We are grateful to all those who purchased a ticket for an OFJCC event and are trying to reschedule as many events as possible. We have tracked every single ticket, and are working hard despite the closure to make sure that every ticket-holder is able to get credit for their tickets. The closure means that there are no staff on campus to process ticket cancellations in the normal way, so we have been working on a technical solution to make sure you get credit for your tickets ... and we are very close! You can expect to get an email from us very soon.
Q: When will you re-open?
A: We wish we knew—but it will be as soon as we possibly can! We are following the orders of the County of Santa Clara and the guidance of public health authorities. We can't wait to re-open and begin serving our community again. In the meantime, come join us online at our Virtual OFJCC!
What to Expect While the OFJCC is Closed—and How You Can Help
Thank you for your patience as we have begun working through the logistics of a sudden shutdown, starting with health and safety issues and how to support staff. Much is still up in the air, but here are a few updates about tuition, membership dues and programs.
- Fitness: All accounts are being placed on hold for April, so members will not be billed on April 1. When we reopen we will resume billing automatically, prorated for the open portion of that month, unless you have told us you wish to cancel your membership.
In the meantime, we want to help you stay healthy and connected! Yesterday we sent out a link to a series of 95 Les Mills training workouts you can do at home. We'll be adding content from our own instructors and partners, and sharing it with you throughout our closure.
- Preschool and Club J: Tuition will be frozen, so you will not be billed on April 1. When we reopen, we will resume billing, prorated for the remaining portion of the school year.
Our preschool teachers and Club J staff are all working hard to stay connected with your kids and to help you at home. For the preschool, we have already filmed about 80 videos from our teachers and music specialists for upload to the OFJCC's Vimeo channel, and we are setting up morning Zoom calls for every classroom. Club J, likewise, is planning to film about 20 videos by the end of the week. There is much more in the works for both preschool and Club J, so please watch your messages!
- Programs: The CDC is now recommending that all programs with 50+ people be cancelled through the start of May. (An updated list of cancelled programs may be found at the bottom of this page.) We will be communicating separately with ticket holders for these and previously cancelled events very soon. In the meantime, we are also working on virtual opportunities for programs as well. From Hebrew language classes to Zoom Passover seders, stay tuned for options to engage with your OFJCC family online.
- Supporting the Staff: Our dedicated, creative, positive, hard-working team are the backbone of this community center. Many people have asked how we are taking care of them. The answer is that right now, all of our staff are being paid. Our leadership team has been working around the clock to figure out how to extend that for as long as possible, in the face of daily changing information about the length of the closure and what the Federal government might do. The lifeblood of this agency is the support that we receive from our community—whether in the form of membership dues, tuition, class fees or direct donations. If you are in a position to help, you can contribute to the OFJCC's ability to continue supporting its employees and fulfilling its mission.
DONATE HERE TO SUPPORT THE STAFF
Thank you for your generous support and your patience during these difficult times. We wish you the best of health and look forward to seeing you soon.
Santa Clara County Announces Shelter-in-Place Order; OFJCC Closure Extended to April 13
The County of Santa Clara has issued new shelter-in-place orders, effective at 12:01 AM on Tuesday, March 17. In compliance with these orders, the Oshman Family JCC will remain closed until at least April 13.
We want to thank the many, many members of our community who have written in to express their support and concern for our staff and for the OFJCC. We are immensely grateful for your words of encouragement. We also know that many of you have questions about membership, preschool and Club J, and OFJCC programs. Please understand that our campus is closed—not just to members, but to staff as well—and that it may take us some time to address these questions. We are keeping track of every question, we are doing our best to figure out answers as quickly as we can, and we appreciate your patience with us under these extraordinary circumstances. Please continue to watch this space (www.paloaltojcc.org/StayHealthy) for updates in the coming days.
Precautionary Closure of the OFJCC
The Oshman Family JCC will be temporarily closing, for at least two weeks starting this Sunday night, March 15.
- There has not been any confirmed case of COVID-19 here.
- This is precautionary and in line with new instructions today from the County of Santa Clara.
- We will be closed for at least two weeks, and will continue to communicate with you as we know more.
Over the last couple of weeks, we have been communicating with you about our ongoing work to keep OFJCC members and our community healthy in the face of the novel coronavirus. We are grateful to all of you in our community who have helped keep others healthy, and we are proud of our staff's stepped-up cleaning, disinfection and campus hygiene efforts. As far as we are aware, no individuals at the OFJCC have tested positive for COVID-19.
Today, the County of Santa Clara announced new restrictions banning most gatherings of 35 people and closing schools. In deciding to close, we are complying with the County's new mandate and doing our part to reduce the rate of transmission. We encourage all of you—particularly those whom the CDC considers vulnerable—to take appropriate precautions to keep yourself healthy.
This is a terribly painful decision. The role of the Jewish Community Center has always been to be the one place that people can gather, connect with one another, and exercise their bodies, minds and souls. It is a place where people welcome and take care of one another. That continues to be our mission. In the coming days, we will be working to find creative ways to keep connecting people with each other, whether that is through distance learning or exercise broadcasts or check-ins with isolated people in our community. We will also be doing everything possible to reopen quickly, from deep cleaning to staff training and, of course, staying closely in touch with our public health authorities. In the meantime, many of our staff will be impacted. You already know the extraordinary dedication of the teachers, trainers, presenters and countless others who are the lifeblood of this place. We will be doing everything we can to ensure continuity for them, and to make it possible for them to be back in place the moment our doors reopen.
At this time, we will not be able to issue refunds for March membership or tuition. Please know that we are grateful for your investment in the OFJCC and do not take it for granted. We will continue to communicate with you in the coming days as we determine our next steps. We appreciate your patience during this unprecedented situation and your understanding that we are working as fast as we can to plan for this new reality and to prioritize health and safety.
We will continue to post updates on this page (www.paloaltojcc.org/StayHealthy).
Thank you for your support and your understanding—and for taking care of each other at this difficult time. We are proud to serve this community.
Keeping you safe and healthy is always our highest priority at the OFJCC, and toward that end, we continue to follow the guidance from the CDC and local health authorities to prevent and minimize the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. For information about Moldaw Senior Residences located on the Taube Koret Campus for Jewish Life, please visit www.moldaw.org.
Public health guidance states that the following groups are vulnerable and should avoid attending programs and events:
- Those over age 60
- Those with underlying health conditions including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, chronic lung diseases like COPD, chronic kidney or liver diseases, endocrine or metabolic disorders, or other conditions that could heighten risk
- Those with compromised or severely weakened immune systems
Here at the OFJCC, we have stepped up our already rigorous cleaning and disinfection of equipment and surfaces, trained staff across the organization on our hygiene practices, monitored employee health and provided additional hand sanitizers. We encourage both staff and community members who are ill or at risk to stay at home.
Program and Event Updates
We are regularly reviewing events and programs to determine if changes are required and will provide any updates here and directly to participants. You may also check the status of individual programs and events on our website: www.paloaltojcc.org.
The OFJCC has cancelled or postponed all events with expected attendance of over 50 people through April 4. If you are a ticket holder to an upcoming event that has been cancelled, please bear with us, as it may take a few weeks for us to follow up with all ticket holders due to the volume of cancellations at one time. Thank you for your patience with the OFJCC in helping you redeem the value of your ticket.
The OFJCC is also limiting certain programs that risk concentrating vulnerable people in a group setting.
The Fitness Center will remain open during normal business hours. In light of the current public health recommendations, we will be making the following changes to some fitness programs:
- Due to the enclosed, close-proximity environment, we have closed our sauna and steam rooms. Although the coronavirus is believed to be heat-resistant, that does not mean it is killed instantly by heat. The sauna and steam room are both small, enclosed spaces with circulating air, and it is considered a real risk to be exposed to these conditions in the face of the current public health situation.
- We are supporting our most vulnerable populations by following recommendations from Santa Clara County and other public health authorities to reduce certain group exercise and Aqua Fit classes.
- We are modifying the capacity of each our studios to enable participants to maintain a safe distance from one another during group exercise classes. In the Main Studio, this means 30 people without equipment and 20 with equipment. In the Yoga Studio, this means 18 people and in Cycle Studio, 20.
- We will try, where possible, to add other group exercise classes to compensate for the reduced capacity.
Please see our updated Group Exercise schedule here.
What You Can Do to Keep Yourself Safe
For resources from the federal CDC on steps you can take, please click here.
- Stay home when you are sick, especially if you have experienced a fever or flu-like symptoms
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or a flexed elbow when coughing or sneezing
- Make use of the hand sanitizer, tissues and disinfecting wipes we provide on campus
- Throw tissues into a bin immediately after use
- Wash your hands thoroughly
- Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces
- Be evaluated by a medical professional if you are immunocompromised and/or have chronic health issues
The OFJCC's reason for being is to be a warm, welcoming, safe and healthy place for all people. This virus is present in communities around the world. Everyone is susceptible, and everyone is a part of protecting one another through commonsense measures, civility and compassion.
The following programs have been cancelled or postponed based on recommendations limiting large gatherings and limiting exposure to vulnerable populations:
March 1 | Space and Beyond with Ran Ginosar _
March 5 | The Night Is Songs _
March 6 | Purim Extravaganza _
March 7 | Purim Party _
March 8 | A-Loud _
March 10 | Live Healthfully _
March 10 | Purim Parodies – A Musical Comedy Show (rescheduled for Feb. 16, 2021) .
March 13 | Circle of Nursing Moms with Tamar Dvory, Lactation Consultant .
March 14 | Underwater Bubble Show _
March 14 | Orna Porat Theater Presents Korczak—Ten Matchboxes _
March 15 | Wise Sons Pop-Up Brunch
March 15 | Pocket Opera: Don Giovanni
March 17 | Beyond the Pale—Sherri Rose .
March 19 | Moms Talk _
March 20–22 | Cocoon—A Prenatal Immersion Retreat .
March 21 | [email protected] Celebrates Ten Years with T-Slam
March 22 | Wilder Than Wild Movie Screening
March 23 | Tzavta Club Presents: Medical Cannabis for Older Adults _
March 24 | Jewish and Israeli Identity, Here and There with Sivan Rahav Meir | for Gvanim Alumni .
March 24 | Behind the Scenes of the Israeli Media with Sivan Rahav Meir _
March 24 | The Golden Age of Soul .
March 25 | Tzavta Club Presents: The Ship that Launched a Nation _
March 28 | Isaac Mizrahi's Cabaret Show _
March 28 | Goshen Theater Presents the Magical Hat _
March 29 | Good Deeds Day
March 29 | When Dinner Tables Turn into Battlefields: Creating Unity in a Time of Polarization with Tal Becker _
March 30 | Jewish Women's Theatre: Sex, Love and Addiction _
March 30 and 31 | Eviatar Banai in Concert _
March 31 | Chronic Inflammation: Too Much of a Good Thing .
April 1 | Senior Excursion to Frida Kahlo at the de Young .
April 2 | Behind the Scenes of Israel-US Relations and Israeli Politics _
April 4 | TEDxPaloAlto .
April 7 | Cyrano de Bergerac .
April 8 | Community Passover Seder
April 9 | Shalom Theater .
April 14 | Music at Noon for Passover - Songs of the Sephardim .
April 14 | Stand-up Comedy Show with Giora Zinger _
April 16 | Tzavta Club: Palo Alto Walking Tour _
April 19 | Near Normal Man _
April 21 | Bach Behind Bars .
April 23 | San Francisco Symphony Trip .
April 25 | It's 4/20 All Month Subscription Party .
April 26 | A Theatre Date... for the Whole Family Subscription Party .
April 26 | Mitzvah in the Park: A Preschool Mitzvah .
April 28 | The Hard Thing About Hard Things (PTSD) .
May 5 | Artists and Their Muses Part 1 .
May 6 | Trip to the Legion of Honor .