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Building Hours Update – Beginning May 18
Hello Springfield JCC Members,
It’s been a productive three weeks since our town hall, and we wanted to provide some updates and good news regarding the J as it relates to hiring, building hours, and more.
Building Hours:
We are pleased to announce that we will be keeping the J open until 12 pm (as opposed to 11:00 AM)!  With the addition of new staff members, we are excited to now be able to return this hour to our members. Effective May 18th, we will now only be closed from 12 – 3:00 PM, and hope to be able to further close the gap in the near future.
Swimming Update:
You spoke and we listened! We will be reinstituting Sign Up Genius to manage usage of the pool beginning Wednesday, May 18. Members will be able to sign up for times in the pool up to a week in advance. If you do not have access to a computer, we’ll have one set up in the hallway on your way to the fitness center so you can easily sign up for sessions. Additionally, we will offer at least one lane at anytime for use without reservation. **Please refer to our pool schedules as to make the most out of your time at the J, and keep reading to see how easy it is to sign up to swim!
Traditionally, summer camp has heavily impacted the usage of our pool, save for an hour in the middle of the day. This summer, we are pleased to announce that camp will be using four lanes only.
Soon, we will provide an update on the status of our private swim lessons.
We will continue to keep in touch with updates, and we appreciate your patience. As always, please feel free to reach out, schedule a meeting and let us know your feedback.
Sam Dubrinsky, CEO

FAQ’s from our Town Hall | April 26, 2022

Why have there been several leadership-level staffing changes? 

With any new leader comes a new style of management, new standards, and a new vision for the future. As with any change that is made from an HR perspective, I can’t share with you specifics, but I can provide you with a theoretical situation to help provide context to the situation. This example has NOT taken place, but I hope it will help explain the situations we’ve faced. If you have an employee who consistently violates dress code and their outfit prohibits them from doing their job, you would then write them up. If it happens a second time, you are then written up again. But when it happens the third or fourth time, and there’s no regard for responsibility or accountability, then you have to consider how many times you’re going to allow this type of behavior, especially since other staff members witness behavior. Again, this is not a specific example relative to the JCC, but you can see how difficult this type of issue can be. 

In some cases, we have had staff that don’t meet our professional and ethical standards, and in some cases, despite our efforts to support professional growth, it is clear the behavior won’t change. So while some of this behavior may have been acceptable or allowable in the past, it is no longer acceptable or allowable. 

My hope was to work with the team that was already established so we could begin innovating. The labor market is so difficult right now so we are working really hard to retain staff. These are not decisions we want to have to make. 

Since starting here, I’ve spent so much time assessing the staff’s skill set. Not only are they valuable, but our staff is creative, enthusiastic and passionate about the J and the community. The acts of leadership from veteran staff have been exemplary for the new staff we’ve onboarded.

I am SO proud of the team we’re creating and their dedication to making the JCC the best it can be

Why is the JCC having such staffing issues? 

The labor market is at a major crossroads and has yet to recover from the initial layoffs experienced in March 2020. As of last week, 6 million people were unemployed. At the end of February, 6.4 million jobs were filled and 11.3 jobs remained open.  Those who are unemployed are reevaluating their opportunities, just like everyone else and in turn, these desirable candidates are not in the hiring pool, causing not only a hiring frenzy for many organizations and businesses but also causing these entities to adjust their business structure. Furthermore, employees who are working are stretched thin, taking on additional responsibilities and working overtime. When our CFO had to sit at our Welcome Desk for several hours on Fridays – and as recently as last night – I knew we had to do something. 

From this, I hope you understand, staffing challenges are being experienced across the country, especially with lifeguards and early childhood educators. 

This brings us to the J and our hiring challenges. To give you a topline timeline, I began assessing our compensation structure and organizational chart in April of 2021, soon after I arrived, when we had a major exodus of educators from the Early Learning Center. Our educators were not being compensated properly financially or with benefits. We immediately made increases in some departments and are committed to ensuring our staff is paid at appropriate and competitive salary ranges by 2024, based on industry standards from JCC Association. 

When I arrived we had 70 full and part-time staff members and needed to hire 97 to fully recover from the staff we lost during the lockdown. 

Since April 2021, we have hired 33 full and part-time staff members, excluding seasonal staff such as camp counselors. And, as of March 2022, we still have 63 fewer staff members than we did in 2019. To illustrate how difficult the hiring environment is, last Monday, for example, we had seven interviews scheduled and only two showed up. Out of those two, only one met our standards for hiring. In order to be in compliance with regulatory agencies, the JCC must complete background checks on every employee and in our youth programs, staff must meet certain experience and education requirements. 

In addition to offering competitive compensation, we are providing sign on bonuses, referral bonuses, retention bonuses, and offering to provide training and certification to ensure staff meet the appropriate standards. We’ve brought on a recruitment firm to help us hire staff and are taking advantage of Gov. Baker’s new HireNow program, which works to support businesses throughout the state in the hiring, retention, and training process. 

Furthermore, it’s important to understand the staff we do have is valuable and  working very hard to accommodate you the best they can. Some of them are covering areas they may not be familiar with. I’m asking you to please be patient and kind. We’ve recently had staff members quit due to the way members are treating them. 

Why did you have to end private swim lessons? 

Well, first, I want to be clear that we are not ending private swim lessons; we are pausing them temporarily. Part of the reason we had to pause private swim lessons revolves around lifeguard capacity. Often our instructors are also lifeguards, but they cannot serve in both roles at once. Additional training was needed for some to provide the highest quality and safest experience. 

Right now, there are 52 job openings for lifeguards just in this area alone. Some of Boston’s pools aren’t even opening this summer due to lack of staffing and, closer to home Springfield College and the Scantic Valley YMCA have also adjusted their swim lessons. While I understand the frustration, safety comes first, and we will resume when we are staffed properly.  

Tangentially, several members have shared that other fitness centers do not have lifeguards present when the pool is opened. Our pool operating certificate explicitly states that we must have one lifeguard per 25 bathers. However, even if the city didn’t require lifeguards to be present, industry standards support having lifeguard coverage in any pool that’s designated for public use. 

Why did you have to adjust the pool and fitness center hours? 

Please remember, this is temporary. We had to make an adjustment because we are lacking staff in the ELC and Kids Space right now, preventing educators from taking breaks. Additionally, staffing shortages are being experienced in wellness, recreation, and aquatics. This has been a constant problem that we’ve been dealing with since last summer. And, it came to a breaking point in February – it just wasn’t sustainable. The staff who were providing break coverage were not getting their actual work done – our marketing director, CFO, COO, and other staff, including myself, were constantly being pulled to cover in areas lacking staff. We could not fix or address concerns while providing maximum services, with 40% fewer staff than we had in 2019. It’s like building a plane while you’re flying it, which never works out well.

The idea to redeploy current staff came after our management team and several lay leaders brainstormed alternatives and reviewed analytics related to the usage of the facility over the past 8 months. The 11am-3pm time slot was the least frequented. 

Much of our staff in the Health & Wellness Center have experience in youth programs and can easily support the preschool and afterschool efforts. When it came down to this decision, we considered all of our options.  We narrowed the options down to two – the first was closing 2 full classrooms, displacing 25 families at the ELC OR adjusting our hours so we could still accommodate our Health and Wellness members while keeping these 2 classrooms open. 

I want to be clear that neither of these options are GOOD options, but, unfortunately, they are our reality now. 

Just like CVS, which is closing between the hours of 1-2 pm so its staff can take a lunch break, the JCC must provide breaks to staff – and to be clear, we strongly believe our staff deserve to have a break. Unlike CVS, however, In our youth programs, we cannot “close” the classroom for lunch breaks so staff must be present to ensure safety and compliance with state regulations. 

Both entities are valuable to the JCC and we know the adjusted hours affect people’s schedules. We understand this is an inconvenience and we are making progress daily towards operating for the full day. For those of you who would like to do so, the option to freeze your account is available during this time.  

To better support our members who have been impacted the most by this change, we have decided the following:

  • Pausing  ELC swim lessons and making morning hours in the pool more available to members starting Monday, May 2
  • We have already restarted aqua aerobics classes
  • WE ARE REOPENING PING PONG at the beginning of May, AND we are about to begin the PROCESS OF repairing SOME OF THE TENNIS COURTS and converting THEM INTO PICKLE BALL COURTS.  
  • TOWEL SERVICE IS NOW COMPLIMENTARY.  

We understand that many of you are concerned about the health of the JCC’s membership. I am grateful for that concern and want to assure you that we know we may lose some members because of this change and we’re very sorry about that. However, our budget can handle that at this time.  

When do you envision being able to reopen from 11am-3 pm? 

We have hired 10 people since we changed our operational hours and we are pushing as hard as ever on recruitment and retention. While we hope we’ll be able to recruit, hire and onboard staff as quickly as possible, we want to be sure we’re meeting our standards of quality – I cannot underscore enough the importance of training and onboarding.  

It seems like a lot of the changes benefit the Kids Space and ELC, but I pay a monthly membership fee and am experiencing the brunt of the changes? 

I get it and I am so happy to hear this honest feedback. Thank you. Being part of a community center such as the JCC means that each program and department is innately intertwined with the rest of the operations. The revenue from our youth programs represents 80% of the JCC’s revenue. This short-term pain will support a long-term solution for every area of the JCC. This is how it should have been in the past and I promise it will equal out for everyone.

I can assure you that our highest priority is to ensure that the JCC can meet your needs in a way that demonstrates our commitment to quality, safety, and engagement. I’m asking you for the long-term future of the JCC to hang in there with us for a bit longer and I promise it will be worth the sacrifice now.  

Is the JCC closing? 

No, the JCC is financially healthier than ever. Our charitable contributions have increased by 1.5x from 2020 to 2021, and our membership is up by 226 membership units from December 2020, putting us at 70% of our membership pre-pandemic. JCCs and YMCAs across the country are at an average of 65% of their membership pre-pandemic.  

Additionally, we have sought out grant opportunities, pursued governmental funds made available because of the pandemic, and are proud to share that our financial position has never been better. Specifically, our financial reserves have almost doubled since 2020. So we aren’t going anywhere. In fact, Doron Krakow the President & CEO of the JCC Association will be here in May to demonstrate support for our JCC.

What other changes have been made at the JCC? 

I am so happy someone asked this question. Right now, I know it seems like the changes have been tough but there have been so many great changes and accomplishments, which we have listed on a landing page on our website. We will share the link with the audience. Some of the highlights include receiving significant grant dollars (in excess of $800,000 for 2021 and 2022), deepening engagement efforts, and building back from the pandemic. 

What is being done to add group exercise instructors? 

I really like this question. Our new Health and Wellness Director, who started this past February,  has some really exciting plans for the J. You will all become very familiar with her as our health and wellness programming gets underway. However, to answer this question directly, we currently have 9 group fitness instructors who teach a variety of classes.  

As we continue to recruit group fitness instructors, we’ve partnered with the Mandell JCC in Hartford to do pop-up classes at our facility to really diversify our offerings. We will have the schedule finalized as early as next Monday. 

We’ve also recruited 2 members who are passionate about fitness to become certified so soon you’ll be able to take some of their classes. As a spin instructor, I can tell you that teaching a group fitness class is one of the most rewarding efforts. If you’re interested in getting certified, please reach out to Wellness & Recreation Director Cassidy Audet. The JCC will support you in working towards that certification. 

With limited hours, the machines are heavily utilized, especially with some members sitting around on machines, so it is difficult to get a spot. Will you open the machines that were taken off line during Covid?

The machines have been reopened, with the exception of one, which is in need of repair. I know the adjusted hours have increased gym traffic and our trainers are always trying to monitor usage as best as possible. The availability should be more frequent for both cardio and weight training. If you are finding limited availability, consistently, of a machine you’d like to use please bring it to the attention of Cassidy or a trainer. We continue to monitor usage of machines as we rebuild so it’s very helpful feedback to know what machines are member favorites! 

Can you talk about the JCC’s efforts to increase staffing and programming for children? My family has tried to sign up for childcare, extracurricular activities, and swim lessons and we are 0/3 because of reported staff shortages. In a related issue it would be great if the summer camp for kids under 5 could be more inclusive of kids who are not in ELC as well.

We can never have enough staff. We continue to work on staffing up, partnering with Springfield College, Bay Path and HCC to provide internships and jobs for their students. I know I mentioned this earlier, but early childhood educator and other youth positions are the hardest to fill. There is a national crisis around childcare and youth services. 

Additionally, we recognize that our communication around youth recreation program offerings hasn’t been delivered comprehensively. Oftentimes, our programs, like many town programs, have limited space and fill up quickly. We will do better to publicize all programs with registration openings and deadlines. Furthermore, we hope that working with community partners will allow us to increase our offerings so we can provide services for more families. There is a HUGE demand for all of our youth services. 

This brings us to summer camp for kids under 5. We are at capacity for the ELC and since it is a daycare/preschool we have to adhere to strict capacity limitations. I believe in the past the ELC turned into a camp, accepting children who weren’t enrolled all year round. Unfortunately, we can no longer offer this due to teacher/student ratios. Again, my goal is to provide a safe environment for everyone. 

Why is it so hard to find a director for the ELC? 

The state of early childhood education in this country is challenging, at best, and in a crisis, at worst. Every agency that provides childcare is struggling. We offer the most competitive salary and benefits package in the area. We will not settle for anyone less than the right candidate – our families and children deserve the best.  

As of the end of February, we’ve deployed Sr. Director of Youth & Family Services Zach Verriden, a former superintendent with a masters in education policy from Harvard, to oversee the ELC and his experience paired with the dedicated staff has fostered a new sense of community. We know it isn’t perfect but through this we are supporting our teachers and families which is something that hasn’t happened since before the pandemic. 

What will the lap time look like when camp starts?  Will we have to wait until 3:30 in the afternoon to swim?

We know that camp is right around the corner and we’ll be in touch to address any scheduling changes if needed.  Please know, we’re working to create a lifeguard funnel training program, offering Lifeguard certification for free and a guaranteed job once candidates are certified. 

Why is it so hard to find a director for the ELC? 

The state of early childhood education in this country is challenging, at best, and in a crisis, at worst. Every agency that provides childcare is struggling. We offer the most competitive salary and benefits package in the area. We will not settle for anyone less than the right candidate – our families and children deserve the best.  

As of the end of February, we’ve deployed Sr. Director of Youth & Family Services Zach Verridan, a former superintendent with a masters in education policy from Harvard, to oversee the ELC and his experience paired with the dedicated staff has fostered a new sense of community. We know it isn’t perfect but through this we are supporting our teachers and families which is something that hasn’t happened since before the pandemic.  

Also, what will the lap time look like when camp starts?  Will we have to wait until 3:30 in the afternoon to swim?

We know that camp is right around the corner and we’ll be in touch to address any scheduling changes if needed.  Please know, we’re working to create a lifeguard funnel training program, offering Lifeguard certification for free and a guaranteed job once candidates are certified. 

Since there are rarely staff in the fitness center, why is it closed from 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM? 

If, at any time you are working out and can’t find one of our employees, please come to the front desk immediately. Soon, our staff will be outfitted in uniforms and will be even easier to identify. From a liability standpoint, an employee certified in CPR/First Aid  needs to be on-site during operating hours. 

Is there a plan to reopen the classrooms in the ELC that have been closed?  (Kochavim, etc)

Our hope is to accommodate families and children to the best of our ability, in a quality and safe manner, as quickly as possible. We hope to be able to provide more opportunities for care as our staffing challenges improve.  

Are exit interviews being done consistently with employees that have given their notice?

Yes, all employees who resign are given an exit interview. This is an effort put forth by our dedicated HR professional, which is a new position – created in fall of 2021.  I am proud to share that only one full-time administrative employee has resigned, due to a better opportunity, and she is delaying the start of her new job for two months so she can support the JCC through the transition – that’s how dedicated our team is.

State of the J Announcement: FAQ’s, Modified Hours, & More

Since March 2020, the JCC has lost 40% of its staff. From our fitness floor to our Early Learning Center, recruiting and hiring is in the most challenging state we have seen in many of our lifetimes. In order to ensure we provide the safest, high quality programs and services possible, we must have appropriate and skilled staff. At the same time, we must protect the JCC’s programs that sustain all of the agency’s activities. Over 80% of our revenue comes from our youth programs and, currently, our aquatics and fitness floor staff is not sufficient to provide a safe environment. Therefore, the fitness floor, gym, and swimming pool will be closing from 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM every Monday-Friday and reopening from 3:00 – 8:00 PM Monday – Thursday and 3:00 – 5:30 PM on Fridays.

Additionally, private swim lessons and aqua aerobics will be paused. Personal training services will still be provided. 

Data & Decision Making Points:

  • This decision was not easy, but the JCC is committed to providing safe and high quality programs. 
  • 4.4 million people left their jobs in February. 6.7 million were hired in February, but there are almost twice as many available jobs (11.3 million available). Source: Washington Post
  • Many other JCCs and organizations across the country are in similar positions and modifying business hours/services (The Kitchen in Longmeadow; CVS; Springfield College, etc.). 
  • The JCC’s recruitment efforts will be accelerated and several of our staff members will be laser focused on recruitment. In addition, the JCC is working with a recruitment firm. 
  • Other staff will be deployed to provide coverage in youth programs. 

How did the JCC make this decision?

The JCC’s senior leadership team, along with a small group of lay leaders, worked together to come up with a creative solution to address the issues at hand. The group looked at data – revenue and facility usage – and also kept our values and mission at the forefront of the decision making process. The group worked to find a solution that impacted the fewest number of users and services. 

How will the JCC make this right for members?

We will be offering a concierge service for families whose private swim lessons have been paused, as well as those who use the fitness center during the hours of 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM. 

For swim lesson packages, we’ll provide options for our current users: 

     1) Full refund of purchase and a 10% discount on the next group or private swim lesson packages purchase

     2) Adding the child to a group swim class (if appropriate and safe) with a 10% discount on the cost of the package 

     3) Providing our concierge service to support families in finding a good fit for the child’s swim lessons elsewhere 

For those who used the gym during 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM, we’ll provide the following options: 

  1. 15% off on a personal training package to be used during the hours of 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM
  2. Small group training classes a few times a week during the hours of 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM 

What does the JCC accomplish by doing this?

In an immediate way, the JCC will be able to provide support and coverage for youth and childcare programs. Additionally, we do not have sufficient fitness floor attendants, which burdens our current hardworking staff, so this will provide relief on the Health & Wellness/Aquatics side of the building. More significantly, the JCC will have a laser focus on recruiting, retention and onboarding new staff, working with a recruiting firm to help support our efforts. 

What are the positives from this situation?

  • Extending the J’s closing time from 7:30 PM to 8:00 PM 
  • Decreases staff burnout, who have taken on more responsibilities during the pandemic with staffing shortages
  • Allows our facilities staff to complete deferred maintenance in our Health & Wellness Center, including the locker rooms.
  • Provides more certainty for families around continuity of childcare 
  • Allows senior staff to plan strategically instead of providing coverage/supporting departments 
  • Provides an opportunity to work on recruitment and retention

‘Frozen’ Membership Program Status Update
The Springfield JCC allows for memberships to be frozen for $25 monthly.  If you are experiencing a medical hardship or COVID-related issue, please let us know so that we can help.

The State of the J & Updated Policy - Updated April 1, 2022

Hello Springfield JCC Members, 

I’m writing this to you as I’m on a flight back to Springfield from Houston, TX. Over the past few days, I’ve been at a conference with over 90 other JCC CEOs as we convened for the first time in over 26 months. It was energizing, inspiring and validating to be with so many colleagues facing many of the same challenges as our Springfield JCC, while also acknowledging the significant opportunities ahead of us. In fact, our JCC was used as an example to other communities because of our “brave and bold decisions” to ensure the sustainability and vibrant future of our JCC. 

Since I began my tenure at the Springfield JCC, I have emphasized the importance of safety and quality of our JCC programs. We — as many other JCCs and organizations — are at an important inflection point as we navigate the toughest hiring environment many of us have seen in our lives. Since the pandemic began in March 2020, we have lost nearly 40% of our staff. Appropriate, qualified staffing and oversight are essential to operating a JCC.

In order to sustain our JCC’s youth/childcare programs and ensure the continuity of care more than 200 families receive from us on a daily basis, we have made some tough, temporary decisions related to our operations, which allows us to redeploy our limited staff to focus on providing those services. Below we have outlined temporary modifications, which will begin Monday, April 4: 

Pool, Gymnasium & Fitness Center Information

  • Modified Pool, Gym, & Fitness Center Hours (as of Monday, April 4): On weekdays, the fitness center and pool will be open from 5:30 AM until 11:00 AM, then will reopen from 3:00 PM until 8 PM on Monday-Thursday, and until 5:30 PM on Friday. Weekend hours will remain the same from 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Personal Training sessions will continue.
  • Extended Evenings: We are excited to announce that we’ll be closing a half hour later (8 PM) Monday – Thursday. This also means that the pool will be open until 7:30 PM on these evenings.
  • Programming Pauses: At this time, we are pausing Aqua Aerobics classes and private swim lessons. We hope to offer additional group swimming lessons, and to resume private swim lessons as soon as we are able.

For some of you, this may be frustrating or upsetting news. For others, we know this provides more certainty surrounding continuity of childcare. We have made these decisions in the context of what is in the best interest of our entire JCC and we are deeply empathetic towards those who feel this news is unwelcome. 

In order to ease some of the pain this may cause, we are offering the following:

  • Free towel service for all of our members for the next 30 days — at no cost. 
  • Concierge service to support navigating disruption in private swim lessons, including providing refunds to those who purchased private swim lesson packages within the past six months and supporting members in finding another service.
  • Concierge service to support navigating disruption in fitness center use during the times of 11am-3pm on weekdays, including offering incentives for personal training and group training opportunities. 
  • Frequent communications with updates regarding our operational status. 

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation as we navigate these times. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us by clicking the link below to set up a 15 minute Zoom meeting with me. 

Onward, 

Sam Dubrinsky | CEO, Springfield JCC

Masking Policy Relaxation - Updated March 3, 2022

UPDATED Thursday, March 3
The Springfield JCC is moving to a mask-optional policy for vaccinated members.
  • The indoor mask mandate requirement will continue for participants and staff within our Early Learning Center, Kids Space, and Kehillah programs. These programs serve either a population that is not yet eligible to be vaccinated or a population that comes from multiple schools with varying vaccination rates.
  • Masks will still be required for anyone using ATI physical therapy services.
  • Masks will not be required for adult education programs.
  • For those who prefer to keep their masks on, we are preparing our middle squash court to serve as a masked fitness area for those who are not yet comfortable removing their masks.
  • We will continue to offer a mix of indoor and outdoor group fitness classes to continue to support the varied preferences of our members.
  • Unvaccinated members are required to remain masked in all areas of the facility.
As a part of a community center, we hope that you will be forthright in your mask decisions, knowing that you are part of a larger community. As we have seen with COVID-19, your health decisions affect those around you, and we hope that our members will help us foster a healthy, happy community.
I’d also like to take this opportunity to remind you that many who are vaccinated are not ready to be maskless. If you see someone inside the JCC with a mask on, that does not mean they are unvaccinated. Please understand that circumstances vary and approach masked members with kindness.
Additionally, we will continue to monitor local transmission rates and will adjust our COVID-19 policies as needed. This decision was not made lightly.  Safety is a top priority, and we need your help ensuring that the J will remain a safe community center as we navigate the pandemic.

Masking Policy | Omicron Response - Updated December 22, 2021

**UPDATE** We are NOT requiring additional COVID-19 screening forms at this time.

December 22, 2021

Dear Springfield JCC Members:

As you may have seen on the news, COVID-19 cases are increasing at an alarming rate due to the Omicron variant. While vaccination provides significant protection against the virus, those who are unvaccinated — including our Early Learning Center students — are at risk for contracting this variant of the virus, which is much more contagious.

Per CDC and our Medical Advisory Committee recommendations, we will be reinstating our masking policy, which will include masking of all individuals in all spaces of the Springfield JCC regardless of vaccination status, as of Thursday, December 23.

Like many other local businesses and organizations who have reinstated masking, we hope we won’t be wearing masks for much longer. Additionally, the J will be continuing all of its offerings, with an emphasis on member health and wellness, with no restrictions outside of continued masking at this time. Please note that:

  • For security and safety purposes, you must check in with our Welcome Desk when you enter the JCC.
  • We are continuing all of our current services with enhanced safety protocols.
  • Outdoor Group Exercise participants do not need to wear a mask so long as there is appropriate distancing.

We will continue to monitor the situation closely and make adjustments accordingly. Keep up to date with our policies on SpringfieldJCC.org, call us at (413) 739-4715, and at info@SpringfieldJCC.org. With your help, patience, and kindness, we can remove the masks once again and return to life as normal!

Sam Dubrinsky | CEO, Springfield JCC

Rich Goldstein, President, Board of Directors, Springfield JCC

Relaxation of Masking Policy | COVID-19 Policy - Updated November 4, 2021

Nov 4, 2021

Dear Springfield JCC Members:

We again are preparing to relax our COVID-19 policies, beginning on Monday, November 8th! While our entire community works to navigate this new phase, we want you to rest assured that we have leaned heavily on our Medical Advisory Committee to help us craft new policies. We feel confident in our approach, which is detailed below.

In this notice are important steps and procedures that we will require our members to follow in order to use our services. Our updated policies are in line with the CDC, and local and state mandates, which allow vaccinated members to be unmasked.

Members must wear masks into the building and keep them on through common areas and hallways.  If you are vaccinated, masks can be removed in the following areas:

  • Fitness Center
  • Gym
  • Outdoor Areas
  • Swimming Pool
  • Lounge for adult programs or meetings
  • Auditorium for adult programs or group fitness classes

For those who enjoy keeping your masks on, we are preparing our middle squash court to serve as a masked fitness area for those who are not yet comfortable removing their masks.

Because the JCC is guided by the mission of nourishing and protecting our community’s wellbeing, we feel it is our responsibility to take actions that emphasize our commitment to public health for ALL of our members — including our tiniest members, many of whom aren’t eligible for vaccination yet or have just become eligible and are waiting on a vaccination appointment. We know that you being a part of our community means you understand compromise is sometimes necessary when it comes to the wellbeing of the entire community. The JCC respects and appreciates your commitment to these values, especially during this time.

I also want to assure you that while we are requiring our members to follow specific protocols, our staff will be following stringent guidelines as well. Our vaccine mandate went into effect on October 8th, and our staff will remain masked in common areas of the building.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to remind you that many who are vaccinated are not ready to be maskless. If you see someone inside the JCC with a mask on, that does not mean they are unvaccinated. Please understand that circumstances vary and approach masked members with kindness.

Sam Dubrinsky | CEO, Springfield JCC

Rich Goldstein, President, Board of Directors, Springfield JCC

Masking Policy: The Delta Variant & The J | COVID-19 Policy - Updated August 2, 2021

As you may have seen on the news, COVID-19 cases are increasing at an alarming rate. While vaccination provides significant protection against the virus, those who are unvaccinated — including those who are ineligible for vaccination currently such as many of our campers and all of our Early Learning Center students — are at risk for contracting the Delta variant of the virus, which is much more contagious. 

Hampden County has now reached the threshold the CDC recommends masking in indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status. Per CDC and our Medical Advisory Committee recommendations, we will be reinstating our masking policy, which will include masking of all individuals in all spaces of the Springfield JCC regardless of vaccination status, as of Thursday, August 5. 

The news isn’t all bad! The good news is, according to early data from the UK and India, with vigilant mask wearing and vaccinations, the Delta variant curve seems to peak quickly.  Like many other local businesses and organizations who have reinstated masking, we hope we won’t be wearing masks for much longer. Additionally, the J will be continuing all of it’s offerings, with an emphasis on member health and wellness, with no restrictions outside of continued masking at this time.  Please note that:

  • We are continuing our spa services with enhanced safety protocols. We have provided plastic bags so that you can store your mask safely outside of the sauna, steam room, or hot tub. Additionally, we ask that in the pool, members utilize the bags provided, and members only remove your mask when you enter the pool.  
  • Outdoor Group Exercise participants do not need to wear a mask so long as there is appropriate distancing.  

We will continue to monitor the situation closely and make adjustments accordingly. Keep up to date with our policies on SpringfieldJCC.org, call us at (413) 739-4715, and at info@SpringfieldJCC.org. With your help, patience, and kindness, we can get back to regularly scheduled programming this fall!

Enjoying the J Mask Free | COVID-19 Policy FAQ's - Updated June 4th, 2021

How do I prove my vaccination status leading up to June 20?

Starting Tuesday, June 8, you may begin bringing in your original CDC vaccination card to show the Welcome Desk staff. You MUST provide the original vaccination card; we will not accept a copy or picture of the card.

  • In order to go maskless on June 20, your CDC vaccination card will need to indicate full vaccination status by June 20. You are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after a single-dose vaccine or two weeks after a two-dose vaccination.
  • You will only need to show proof of vaccination once. We will confidentially notate your status so each time you check in our system will subtly alert staff if you are vaccinated.
  • Though you may begin providing proof of vaccination on June 8, the ability to go maskless will not begin until June 20.
  • Please be patient with our Welcome Desk staff as they navigate this operational transition and take extra care to confirm vaccination status.

 

Okay, so you know I’m vaccinated. What happens on June 20?

  • Starting June 20, you will enter the JCC with a mask on — regardless of vaccination status. Because we serve many who are ineligible for vaccination, we will require masks in all common areas of the JCC, including entering and exiting the facility.
  • If you are vaccinated and have provided proof of vaccination, you will be given a single-use wristband to wear during your time at the J. Wearing this single-use wristband alerts our Safety Ambassadors to your ability to go maskless!
  • After you receive the wristband and begin walking to your intended destination, you will continue to wear a mask walking through hallways, when using locker rooms or hallway restrooms, in addition to when entering and exiting the lobby.

 

What if I’m not vaccinated? Does anything change on June 20?

  • If you are unvaccinated, you must wear a mask at all times, in accordance with CDC and Massachusetts recommendations.
  • Because we have such a large population of vaccination-ineligible members, it is even more important when visiting the JCC to keep your mask on at all times if unvaccinated.

What else changes on June 20?

  • The indoor pool will no longer require a reservation for usage outside of camp occupancy. A maximum capacity of 45 has been set and this number will be closely monitored. The pool, which will be in much higher demand in camp, requires all of us to be respectful of our individual usage. Should the issue of maintaining maximum capacity present itself the JCC will return to a reservation system.
  • Pickleball will be expanded
  • Pickup basketball/open gym will resume.

What amenities are still unavailable?

  • The sauna and jacuzzis in the men’s and women’s locker rooms will reopen on August 1.

What if infection rates rise?

  • The JCC has been advised by our Medical Advisory Committee to closely monitor the 14-day average infection rate. If a certain threshold is reached, the JCC will adjust its policies. We will communicate these changes in advance of the change taking place.

Member Memo | June 4, 2021

June 4, 2021

Dear Springfield JCC Members:

We are looking forward to Sunday, June 20 when we begin to relax our COVID-19 policies! While our entire community works to navigate this new phase, we want you to rest assured that we have leaned heavily on our Medical Advisory Committee to help us craft new policies. We feel confident in our approach, which is detailed below.

In this notice are important steps and procedures that we will require our members to follow in order to use our services. Our updated policies are in line with new CDC and Massachusetts guidance, which allow vaccinated members to be unmasked.

I also want to assure you that while we are requiring our members to follow specific protocols, our staff will be following stringent guidelines as well. Just as members, staff who desire to go maskless are required to submit proof of vaccination. The JCC will be closely monitoring this policy through the implementation of JCC Safety Ambassadors, whose sole job is to ensure compliance.

Because the JCC is guided by the mission of nourishing and protecting our community’s wellbeing, we feel it is our responsibility to take actions that emphasize our commitment to public health for ALL of our members — including our tiniest members who aren’t eligible for vaccination yet. We know that you being a part of our community means you understand compromise is sometimes necessary when it comes to the wellbeing of the entire community. The JCC respects and appreciates your commitment to these values, especially during this time.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to remind you that many who are vaccinated are not ready to be maskless. If you see someone inside the JCC with a mask on, that does not mean they are unvaccinated. Please understand that circumstances vary and approach masked members with kindness.

If you have not yet been vaccinated, we are offering a vaccine clinic to the broader community on Wednesday, June 16 from 3-6 pm at no cost. Please see below for more details. We want to provide you with an opportunity to go maskless, if you haven’t yet had one!

Sam Dubrinsky | CEO, Springfield JCC

Member Memo | May 28, 2021

May 28, 2021

Dear Springfield JCC Members,

Last week, we asked you to fill out a survey about your comfort-level around the updated guidance issued by Massachusetts in response to new CDC guidelines. We had an overwhelming response to our survey, which provided us with helpful insight into your excitement and reservations. Ninety-six percent of the members who filled out our survey are vaccinated and over 50% of those vaccinated said they are willing to be in a public space without a mask.

In response to your feedback, and with guidance from our Medical Advisory Committee, we are updating our COVID-19 policies and procedures, which will take effect on Sunday, June 20. We understand that each member has unique circumstances that may affect their feelings about the new guidelines. The JCC feels confident in our approach, which is in line with CDC and state guidelines, and we will continue to evaluate and assess protocols as we move through this next — and final — reopening phase together. Below you will find a summary of the new policies, which will be outlined in more detail as we near Sunday, June 20.

We know you are eager to see changes reflected in our policies sooner rather than later. Our community is made up of diverse populations and some of our programs are governed by agencies such as the Department of Public Health and Department of Early Education & Care, which have outlined more stringent requirements, coinciding with the expiration of Massachusetts’ State of Emergency. In an effort to protect our entire community — even our youngest members who are not eligible for vaccination — we will be waiting until June 20 to implement the below.

Please note that these changes do not affect the Early Learning Center, Elementary, or Camp programs. Additionally, the JCC will be carefully monitoring infection rates of the surrounding areas and make changes to the below as needed.

Vaccinated members will be allowed to take off their masks in designated areas, after showing proof of vaccination. Members will provide the JCC with proof of vaccination and will be given a wristband to wear during their time at the J, which allows staff to monitor which members can be maskless.

Unvaccinated members must remain masked at all times inside the JCC and when outdoors at times social distancing cannot be maintained.

Masks are required to be worn by all members as they enter/exit the facility, walk through hallways and common areas, using hallway restrooms, and at all times in locker rooms (unless showering) regardless of vaccination status.

Fitness equipment will all be moved back to the Cybex room, but social distancing is still required in all areas. Only equipment that is six feet apart will be eligible for use and those ineligible will be marked with signage.

Temperature checks and health screenings are no longer required. Though health screenings are no longer required after June 20, we are following the Massachusetts Travel Advisory policy and will require unvaccinated members who have traveled to wait 72 hours after their arrival back in the state before testing out of the 10-day quarantine requirement. For our families with children under the age of 10 participating in youth programs, you will receive communication directly from the director of the program regarding travel policy.

Basketball will resume and pickleball will be expanded, with capacity limits consistent with spacing requirements.

More information on the above will be sent to you over the next few weeks, including how to provide proof of vaccination. We’ll be communicating with you via email, social media and good ol’ fashioned snail mail.

We look forward to this new step in our collective journeys forward.

Thank you,

Sam Dubrinsky, CEO