By Eric Lightman
JCC Executive Director
The Jewish Community Center of the Lehigh Valley has been thrilled to welcome both children and adults back to our facility this summer. It has been a pleasure hearing the laughs and cheers of children filling our building and energizing to see our members meeting their wellness goals through the phased reopening of our pool for lap swim, outdoor group exercise classes and squash. We thank everyone who has complied with our safe operating procedures, including screening, social distancing and mask requirements.
Our largest change is perhaps the relocation of our Fitness Center from the lower level to the main floor in the spacious Auxiliary Auditorium. Socially-distanced fitness equipment is available, and our new sports and fitness director, Andrew Yasenchak, is eager and available to help members get their fitness routines back on track.
As September approaches, we are continuously adapting our processes based on member feedback and introducing new programs in accordance with public health guidelines. When the pandemic began and we closed our building in March, few of us considered how deeply this would affect all aspects of our lives for this long. We are monitoring local school district plans and have explored ways in which the JCC will be able to complement their programming and provide our members with creative options for the school year. We are delighted to introduce new programs both in the building and virtually.
One of the newest programs is called JSchooled, which will help our families accommodate the challenges of distance learning during the upcoming school year. JSchooled provides all-day care, educational support, social connection and recreational and creative activities when children aren't able to be physically present at school. Our program will be led by outstanding staff with experience in educational settings. We will follow CDC and state guidelines to create the safest possible environment, as we have done in our camp programs throughout the summer. Availability in early childhood, JLounge and JSchooled is extremely limited due to staffing and distancing requirements.
Our staff team continues to work on adapting programs to operate safely, with proper distancing. New and modified programs, both in-person and online, will be available in recreation, fitness, aquatics, arts and music, Jewish culture, senior adults and more. Please check out our Program Guide on our website at lvjcc.org for complete details about this fall’s offerings.
Our first priority remains the safety of our members, guests and staff. A complete copy of the JCC’s Covid-19 Health & Safety Plan is available on our website. We also recommend signing up for our e-mail list to receive the latest up-to-the-minute details on building hours, programs and procedures.
Although our programs may look a little different this fall, there is still something happening for everyone at the JCC. Regardless of whether we see you in person or virtually, we are grateful for all of our members who have stayed connected and whose ongoing support makes our work possible.