Earlier this week many received news regarding the rise in breakthrough COVID cases in the community. I hope and pray that this rise will be short lived, but it is possible that it will not be. While I believe that the various rabbanim, boards and especially medical committees in the local institutions are keeping a close eye on the situation, prudence dictates that institutions should have a plan in advance for reinstituting some combination of mask mandates, social distancing, remote learning and outdoor minyanim, should certain predetermined metrics (such as number of infections, testing positivity percentage, etc.) be exceeded.
While these would likely be unpopular, I would urge community leaders to consider three categories of people. First, we see with our own eyes that there are those in shul at higher risk, especially the elderly, who are not wearing masks. Second, children are still not vaccinated, and many have not been infected and have no more immunity now than they did two years ago. While COVID cases in children tend to be mild, some are not, and also children can infect those who are at higher risk. Finally, and somewhat selfishly, while many in the community are relatively easily able to work remotely, this is not the case for all people, including me. Therefore, if that person or anyone in their family contracts COVID, they may not be able to go to work.
Again, at the moment, hopefully, we have not yet crossed a threshold where these measures should be instituted, but it seems we should have a plan in advance of if and how to reinstitute them instead of trying to institute measures in a rushed manner should the need arise.Yonaton Ray