Phase One: Restarting of Live Programming
ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਕਾ ਖ਼ਾਲਸਾ ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਕੀ ਫ਼ਤਹਿ॥
In light of decreasing rates of rise for COVID-19 in the Southeast Michigan area, we would like to prepare a plan for a phased re-opening of Gurdwara programs.
First and foremost, however, we as a community will be battling COVID-19 for some time and the end of this virus is uncertain. Because we are still learning much about this virus and the way in which it infects and affects people, we caution those most at risk to consider refraining from participating in gatherings at the Gurdwara.
“AT RISK” as defined by the CDC
This “AT RISK” group of people includes Sangat members who have any of the following:
- Age 65 or older
- People who live in a nursing care or long term facility
or are under the age of 65 and have any of the following conditions:
- Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
- Heart conditions
- Immunucompromised (on chronic steroid medications, undergoing cancer treatment, recipient of an organ transplant, etc)
- Severe obesity
- Chronic kidney disease
- Liver disease
Given the severity of COVID-19 infections in this group of people, we recommend you continue to refrain from physically coming to the Gurdwara premises and we will continue to provide virtual streams of any Gurdwara related programming for all to enjoy from the safety of their homes.
For Phase One for restarting programs on location at the Gurdwara. we offer the following:
- We will resume Divaan programs on Sunday mornings from 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM.
- Divaan programs will be open to 10 family units at a time.
- A greeter will be present at the entrance to screen for possible COVID-19 symptoms prior to entry into the Gurdwara. It is also important that if you are sick or have been around anyone with cold like symptoms that you refrain from coming to the Gurdwara and seek medical attention.
- Families must sign up ahead of time to attend the planned program and opportunity for attendance will be rotated among those that sign up.
- Each family unit will need to sit together during the program and maintain at least 6 feet of distance from another family. No members of the family will be permitted to roam outside the Divaan hall during the program.
- Cloth masks and head coverings will need to be brought from home and worn at all times in the Gurdwara. No used items should be left at the Gurdwara.
- There will be no Langar or snack offerings at the Gurdwara during Phase One.
- Karah Parshad will be served to you in a packed bowl to take home on your exit from the Gurdwara.
- All programs will be streamed virtually so that our larger Sangat can participate from home
Guidelines constructed by the North American Sikh Medical and Dental Association were used to plan for the restart of Gurdwara programs.
Informational flyers will be posted around the Gurdwara for reference but you can also look at these at www.nasmda.org
In preparation for the attendance of Sangat at the Gurdwara, Sevaadaars will clean common surfaces (door knobs/bathrooms, etc) multiple times per day but we also ask that you practice good hygiene by washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and throwing out garbage (napkins/tissues, etc) in appropriate trash receptacles.
Please note, restrooms, Langar Hall and the kitchen will be closed. One bathroom (near the kitchen) will remain unlocked for emergency use only.
As we assess how Phase One rolls out we will begin planning for a Phase Two that will involve slightly larger groups of Sangat. It is important that with each change we make, we assess over the course of time, how those changes affect our local Sangat as well as the larger community we live in.
Once these assessments are done we will plan Phase Two.
FULFILLING OUR DUTIES
With the decision to suspend large gatherings, we certainly did not suspend the purpose and function of the Gurdwara, we simply altered the way in which the Gurdwara continues to serve its purpose.
The physical space of our Gurdwara continues to be taken care of by Sevadaars.
- Moving Keertan Programs online
- Continuing Punjabi Classes
- Starting Nitnem and Gurmat Classes programs for our children via Zoom
- Restarting the Aasraa Food Pantry
- Serving hot meals via the SevaTruck
- Creating new community spaces like, a new community garden and new volleyball court
the Gurdwara has actually still been quite active in its purpose.
From a Panthic perspective, the role and purpose of Gurdwaras has ebbed and flowed throughout our history. In more modern history, particularly in the diaspora, Gurdwaras function as large institutions with often very large Sangats but the purpose of a Gurdwara, no matter its form remains the same: An institution designed to spread the Guru’s message, share in the collective learning and inspiration of the Guru’s followers and serve as a launching point for doing the Guru’s sevaa.
Initially Dharamsals and then eventually Gurdwaras, Sikh spaces of congregation have been active community centers designed to preserve the physical and spiritual health of their communities. They became sources of clean water, locations for personal hygiene and a source of physical sustenance through Pangat and spiritual sustenance through Sangat. Protecting the Guru’s Sikhs from this virus and taking measures to protect their physical health is simply an extension of the many habits already performed at our Gurdwaras.
We realize this has been a tough time on many of our community members who appropriately would like to seek the solace and comfort of the Guru’s Sangat. We just humbly and kindly request that you continue to be patient with the reopening process. It is important we are careful about reintroducing gatherings together and we want to do it in a methodical way that poses the least amount of risk.
If you are experiencing a particularly hard time and desire the help of Sangat, please reach out to any of the Gurdwara Sevaadaars. While we have all been physically distant from each other these last 3 months, we certainly do not want anyone to feel “alone”. We are in this fight together and as Sikhs of the Guru will continue to support each other in this nuanced time.
ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਕਾ ਖ਼ਾਲਸਾ ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਕੀ ਫ਼ਤਹਿ॥