TRS Phased Activity Guidelines


During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, TRS has adapted in a number of amazing and agile ways. Our goal has been to hold the safety of our members, clergy and staff as our highest priority, while ensuring we can all still feel our sense of Jewish community. We thank everyone who has been flexible and understanding as we’ve navigated this difficult situation. The pandemic has cemented the importance of the Jewish value and concept of Pikuach Nefesh or the saving of human life: “Saving human life is Judaism’s highest mitzvah, superseding even the commandments concerning the observance of Shabbat. According to tradition, it was permissible to interrupt the ancient Temple sacrifices when necessary to save a life.”

This document builds off of the earlier iteration of our TRS COVID-19 FAQ, and outlines a phased plan for the wide range of activities and services that TRS provides. It is intended to show the thought process and benchmarks by which decisions are being made, and to serve as a high level guide for tactical strategies going forward. Together, the TRS Executive Director, clergy, staff leadership, and CAG will track changes in important COVID-19 metrics and make recommendations and suggestions about moving back and forth between phases. While we will be informed by the metrics below, they will not be the only factors driving decision making. We will also do our best to anticipate emerging trends like new, more contagious variants of the virus, and while we may see downward trend lines in some key metrics appear, that case numbers are still higher than during previous months of the pandemic.

Metrics to be used with pertinent data sources are included below. While we will focus on these metrics in Fairfax County, we will also examine these metrics in Virginia, DC and surrounding counties since our congregation is spread across several counties.

At any time, if there are cases of COVID-19 that constitute community spread within the Temple, all in person activities may be halted and/or shifted to virtual activities until there is no community spread within the Temple.

Every stage of potential expansion of activities at the temple will commence based on a decision by TRS leadership considering recommendations of applicable authorities and an incremental approach.

Phase A – Virtual activities only

  • Health and Safety Protocols for all people in the Temple
    • There are very few/no people in the Temple, minus essential activities for maintenance and construction workers, clergy, and appropriate technical support to conduct virtual services.
    • Prior to entering the building, essential personnel must complete a COVID screening form, using either the temple’s link or QR codes posted on the doors, or a screening form provided by their own employer. Mask wearing for people age 2 and older when in public settings/when around people who don’t live in their household and social distancing are required.
  • Early Childhood Center (formerly known as the Nursery School)
    • The ECC operates virtually.
  • Religious School
    • Religious school operates virtually.
  • Office/Admin
    • No office or administration staff are in the building, except for essential activities. Prior to entering the building, the electronic health screening form must be satisfactorily filled out, using either the link or QR codes posted on the doors. Masks must be worn at all times- they may be removed if the staff member is alone in an office with the door closed but must be readily available should other individuals approach your workspace. Social distancing of 6 feet is also required; no in-person meetings should take place.
  • Worship
    • Weekly Worship
      • Weekly worship is virtual for congregants, with all clergy and staff participating remotely.
    • Holiday Workshop
      • Holiday worship is virtual only.
    • Bar and Bat Mitzvahs
      • Bar and Bat Mitzvahs are virtual services only.
    • Life Cycle Events (funerals, weddings, baby namings, divorce rituals, conversions)
      • All life cycle events are virtual.
    • Programming
      • There is no in person congregant driven programming at the Temple.
    • Camp
      • Camp operates virtually.


Metrics to move to Phase B

  • New hospitalization rates – a downward trend in the 7 day moving average in hospitalization rates for no fewer than 14 days
  • Daily new cases per 100K – a downward trend in the 7 day moving average in daily new cases for no fewer than 14 days
  • Moving average of percent positive tests – 10% or less for no fewer than 14 days
  • Localities of concern are not experiencing significant community spread/are at critical risk given overall trends of COVID-19 cases


Phase B – Few in-person activities, emphasis on virtual community

    • Health and Safety Protocols for all Temple visitors
      • There are very few/no people in the Temple, minus essential activities for maintenance and construction workers, clergy, and appropriate technical support to conduct virtual services.
      • Prior to entering the building, essential personnel must complete a COVID screening form, using either the temple’s link or QR codes posted on the doors, or a screening form provided by their own employer. Mask wearing for people age 2 when in masks in public settings/when around people who don’t live in their household and social distancing are required.
    • Early Childhood Center (formerly known as the Nursery School)
      • The ECC operates with strict health and safety guidelines in place, in coordination with requirements from the Fairfax County Health Department. For more information, contact Jessica Ingram or Rene Shiohama.
    • Religious School
      • Religious school operates mostly virtually, with limited activities, held outdoors only, for families following TRS COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.
    • Office/Admin
      • Limited office and administration staff are in TRS, based on need for essential activities and at the discretion of the Executive Director.
    • Worship
      • Weekly Worship
        • Weekly worship is virtual for congregants, and some clergy and staff on site to perform essential functions for worship.
      • Holiday Worship
        • Holiday workshop is virtual, with some limited in person activities that follow TRS COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, held outdoors primarily (ex. Shofar blowing for the High Holidays at Wolf Trap)
      • Bar and Bat Mitzvahs
        • Bar and Bat Mitzvah families have the option for a virtual service or a limited in person service with up to 10 people, not including clergy and support staff.
      • Life Cycle Events (funerals, weddings, baby namings, divorce rituals, conversions)
        • All Life Cycle events are limited to 10 people, not including clergy and support staff.
      • Programming
        • Programming is largely virtual.
        • Any in person programming will follow TRS COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, and is held outdoors.
      • Camp
        • Camp operates virtually.

Metrics to move back to Phase A

  • Hospitalization rates – an upward trend in hospitalization rates for more than 14 days
  • Positive test rate – positive test rate is 10% or greater for a 14 day period
  • Daily new cases – an upward trend in daily new cases in Fairfax County for a 14 day period
  • Review and evaluation of other relevant metrics, based on the judgment of the TRS COVID-19 task force

Metric to move to Phase C

  • New hospitalization rates – a downward trend the 7 day moving average in hospitalization rates for no fewer than 14 days
  • Daily new cases per 100K – a downward trend in the 7 day moving average in daily new cases for no fewer than 14 days
  • Test positivity rate is 10% or less for no fewer than 14 days
  • Localities of concern are not experiencing significant community spread/are at critical risk given overall trends of COVID-19 cases

*TRS will enter Phase C on March 1, 2021


Phase C –  Limited in-person activities, emphasis on virtual community and outdoor activities

  • Health and Safety Protocols for all Temple visitors
    • Only personnel with essential purposes are in the Temple.
    • Prior to entering the building, essential personnel must complete a COVID screening form, using either the temple’s link or QR codes posted on the doors, or a screening form provided by their own employer. Mask wearing and social distancing are required.
    • This phase may coincide with a period of time in which people are starting to get COVID-19 vaccinations – until scientific and public health officials have determined that a high enough proportion of the population has been immunized, mask wearing for people age 2 when in masks in public settings/when around people who don’t live in their household and social distancing are required.
  • Early Childhood Center (formerly known as the Nursery School)
    • The ECC operates with strict health and safety guidelines in place, in coordination with requirements from the Fairfax County Health Department. For more information, contact Jessica Ingram or Rene Shiohama.
  • Religious School
    • Decisions about religious school in 2021 are underway.
  • Office/Admin
    • Office and administrative staff may be working in the building on a limited basis, with health and safety protocols in case at the discretion of the Executive Director.
  • Worship
    • Weekly Worship
      • Weekly worship services will continue to be provided virtually, with small group limited in person options offered.
      • Friday night services may have up to 20 congregants attend. Protocols for attending will be outlined in specific guidance and registration options sent out in early Spring 2021.
    • Holiday Workshop
      • Large scale Holiday worship activities will be conducted virtually.
    • Bar and Bat Mitzvahs
      • Bar and Bat Mitzvah families have the option for a virtual service, or a limited in person service with 20 people in one defined space, not including clergy and support staff for services.
    • Life Cycle Events (funerals, weddings, baby namings, divorce rituals, conversions)
      • All life cycle events may include up to 20 people in one defined space, not including clergy and support staff.
    • Programming
      • Programming is largely virtual.
      • Any in person programming will follow TRS COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, and is held outdoors.
    • Camp
      • Camp will operate to 50% capacity with significant COVID-19 precautions and guidance for campers and staff. For more information, contact Camp Director Emma Davidson.


Metric to move back to Phase B

  • New hospitalization rates – an upward trend the 7 day moving average in hospitalization rates for no fewer than 14 days
  • Daily new cases per 100K – an upward trend in the 7 day moving average in daily new cases for no fewer than 14 days
  • Moving average of percent positive tests – 10% or greater for no fewer than 14 days
  • Review and evaluation of other relevant metrics, based on the judgment of the TRS COVID-19 task force

This document is an ongoing guidance document, and phases past Phase C are still in consideration. These phases will need to take into account vaccination rates and herd immunity of our communities, and will be discussed later in 2021.