August 18, 2021
New Gurdwara Guidance + Vaccine ਵੀਰਵਾਰ #3 on 8/26
August 18, 2021 (New York, NY) -- With the delta variant of COVID-19 continuing to harm primarily unvaccinated communities
and public health recommendations changing according to varying levels of risk across the country, the Sikh Coalition is writing to share new guidance for gurdwaras
supported by our partners at the North American Sikh Medical and Dental Association and the Sikh Family Center, as well as to announce our next Vaccine ਵੀਰਵਾਰ Facebook Live, focused on Back to School issues and concerns, on Thursday, August 26, at 12:00 PM EST / 9:00 AM PST.
To read the below guidance in Punjabi, please click here
As gurdwaras nationally begin to operate at pre-pandemic levels of attendance, we must recognize that our sangats have pockets of those who are yet to receive a vaccine and those who may be vaccinated but still at high risk (e.g. those who are immunocompromised). Additionally, since vaccines are not available for children under age 12, many sangat members have vaccinated and unvaccinated family members living together. It is our collective responsibility to protect those still vulnerable, and we encourage gurdwara leadership/those responsible for gurdwara programming to consider the following recommendations:
- Unvaccinated sangat members should be strongly encouraged to wear masks inside the gurdwara and maintain six feet of distance from others who they do not live with or when outside their home.
- Sangat members should get vaccinated if eligible. Vaccinations continue to remain the strongest defense against COVID-19, including the Delta variant. While the vaccine will not always prevent COVID-19, it does substantially reduce severe disease and chances of hospitalization. If offered, sangat members should seriously consider taking the vaccine after discussing their own specific health needs with their provider.
- Sangat members who are not feeling well should be encouraged to stay home, even if they are only experiencing mild symptoms.
- Even if the majority of the sangat is vaccinated, the CDC recommends that those who are vaccinated continue to wear masks indoors in public to maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.
- For Khalsa schools and camps, masking and distancing should be required. Per recently updated CDC guidelines for schools, teachers, staff, and students are encouraged to wear masks regardless of vaccination status.
- Regular hand-washing/sanitizing and mask-wearing should be encouraged for all sangat members, but especially for sevadaars and staff who are engaged in handling food items such as preparing/serving langar, distributing karah prashad, and so on.
- Preventive measures are especially important if community transmission rates are high in your county, city, or state. Gurdwara leadership should continue to monitor COVID-19 rates in their local communities and implement safety protocols accordingly.
- Sangats may wish to keep contact tracing, temperature checks, gathering contact information of sangat members, and other safety protocols in place depending on the proportion of sangat that is vaccinated and local guidelines.
More specific guidance on COVID-19 safety and prevention for gurdwaras is available here
. Many sangats implemented new and innovative ways for sangats to safely engage, such as virtual and outdoor programs. Gurdwara leadership should consider continuing such programming to some extent to ensure safety of sangat members. As ever, it remains our shared responsibility to protect the most vulnerable among our communities--and vaccination, along with other public health measures, remain the quickest way to stop the spread of COVID-19, stunt the development of new variants, and return to normal.
Given that many parents are concerned and confused about the risks of COVID-19 as children prepare to head back to school, our next Vaccine ਵੀਰਵਾਰ will focus on back-to-school issues.
Join us on Facebook Live at 12:00 PM EST / 9:00 AM PST on Thursday, August 26, when Sikh Coalition Community Development Director Rucha Kaur will moderate a conversation with Amrit Kaur, a public school teacher in Montgomery County, MD, and the co-founder of the Sikh Parent Association, and Dr. Jasjit Kaur, a pediatric infectious diseases subspecialist who currently serves as a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at University of California, Irvine and the Medical Epidemiologist for CHOC Children’s Hospital in Orange, CA.
As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.
The Sikh Coalition, the North American Sikh Medical and Dental Association (NASMDA), the Sikh Family Center, and the Jakara Movement, are collaborating to ensure that all Sikh Americans have access to information and resources regarding vaccinations for COVID-19. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about this work, and always consult your doctor with specific inquiries about your personal health. For additional information, including where to get the vaccine in your state, visit thesikh.co/vaccine.