To read this email in Punjabi, please click here.
July 31, 2020 (New York, NY) — Across the nation, states continue to evaluate different stages and phases for reopening public life during the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis.
As of this week, more than 4.3 million Americans have tested positive for COVID-19, with more than 154,000 deaths since January. When tracking the rise and fall of COVID-19 cases per capita on a state-by-state basis, almost 40 states have seen a significant rise in cases over the last two weeks.
As local governments continue to make different decisions about reopening, the Sikh Coalition urges everyone to continue limiting the possibilities for exposure and taking health guidance and recommendations very seriously. If you are responsible for gurdwara programming, please continue to take every measure to reduce sangat size at any given time. This includes suspending divaans and postponing all large events (such as celebrations and nagar keertans) where crowds may gather. Please also strongly consider online programming so local sangats can continue to safely engage.
The Sikh Coalition also recognizes the importance of thinking through pandemic safety with respect to children’s education–including at Khalsa Schools across the nation. We strongly encourage you to consider, or continue, online programming for Khalsa Schools for the foreseeable future. If you have questions, we can connect you with other Khalsa School sevadaars who are running online programming. In the event that your gurdwara makes the decision to do in-person programming, or provides childcare, it is equally critical that Khalsa Schools take extreme precautions.
Late last week, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released new guidance with respect to schools and childcare. These guidelines were revised after the White House explicitly voiced their public displeasure about the original CDC school guidelines. On July 8, President Trump tweeted that he disagreed with the CDC’s original guidance, calling the recommendations “tough and expensive.” After this remark, Vice President Pence promised that new guidelines would be issued. These revised guidelines are not as stringent as the previous CDC recommendations, but parts of this new guidance can still help Khalsa Schools understand the risks of classroom programming and explain how to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19 within child care and school facilities.
For more information on gurdwara safety, watch the Sikh Coalition’s video webinar with Sikh healthcare professionals and gurdwara leaders discussing protective strategies for gurdwaras. We also have more detailed information on CDC guidance for gurdwaras in English and Punjabi; the CDC has released additional considerations for communities of faith as well, and we continue to collect state-by-state guidance here. As always, for more critical resources and information on COVID-19, please visit the Sikh Coalition’s website.
Please understand that CDC recommendations, state and local guidelines, and our collection of resources are all meant to protect our sangats: They will allow us to support those who are underserved and vulnerable, as is our responsibility. This time of ongoing upheaval and crisis is difficult, but it requires all of us to make the best choices for the health and safety of all. Together, we will continue to adapt as we look forward to a time when things will once again feel more normal.
As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.
[July 31, 2020]