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Our first priority in planning the July 2024 Religious Worlds institute is the health and safety of our summer scholars, our faculty and staff, and the faith communities we will visit together.  The COVID pandemic has largely abated, but we remain aware of the health risks of in-person meetings, and of our responsibility to care for our colleagues and communities.

In order to meet in person as safely as possible COVID vaccination is required for all summer scholars, with the exception of those who have documented medical conditions that preclude vaccination.  If you are admitted to the institute, you will be required to show proof of vaccination or medical exemption in order to accept our offer of admission.  Up-to-date vaccine boosters are highly recommended for all summer scholars, but not required.  If you cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, you will be required to show proof of negative COVID tests conducted immediately prior to the start of the institute and weekly over the course of the institute.  All institute faculty, staff, and guest speakers will be subject to the same vaccination requirement as our summer scholars.

At the moment, we do not expect to require masking during institute sessions, screening tests prior to the start of the institute, or regular testing over the course of the institute.  However we may need to put these or other COVID safety policies in place closer to the date of the institute, depending on COVID rates in New York City and our summer scholars’ home communities, as well as CDC and NYC Department of Health recommendations.

We will meet in a large, well-ventilated seminar room with space for physical distancing.  Summer scholars will not be permitted to attend in-person seminars if they have potential COVID symptoms.  If a summer scholar needs to self-isolate for health reasons, they will still be able to participate in our seminars remotely.

When we visit houses of worship and religious sites throughout the city, we will follow any additional COVID safety protocols that may be required by our host congregations.  A large majority of New Yorkers have been vaccinated (click here for the latest vaccination data from the NYC Department of Health) but we cannot guarantee the vaccination status of every individual we may meet on our site visits.

While we understand that some people remain hesitant about vaccination and other COVID safety measures, we consider these essential steps to protect the health of our summer scholars and our fellow New Yorkers.  Please contact us if you have any questions about our COVID safety policies.

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