Chabad Cares – Fall 2020 COVID Plan

Emotionally Close. Socially Distant.  This is a time of need. People are at risk physically, emotionally and intellectually. Students are feeling depressed and disconnected. Chabad is here to care, to connect, and to encourage responsibility. We are committed to giving our students the warm and loving embrace (without the hug 🙂 ) they so desperately need.

One Person at a Time: We recognize that this semester will be more about the individual than large events. We will therefore be putting much emphasis on personal checkups, one on one meetings/ mentoring and “To Go” packages.

We’re here and we care.

  • Chabad House will follow all safety recommendations and protocols offered by New York State, SUNY, SUNY New Paltz, and the CDC. The staff at Chabad will monitor these recommendations daily and adjust accordingly.
  • All of Chabad’s in-person events and activities will be by reservation only. This will allow us to limit the number of attendees and to know who was at which event, in case we need to contact them later.
  • Everyone will be required to wear a face mask at all events, except for while eating. Extra face masks and hand sanitizers will be available at every event.
  • A thorough cleaning will be done by trained workers before and after each event, using disinfectant on restrooms, tables, chairs, sinks and faucets, handrails, doorknobs/handles, light switches, and any other hi-touch surfaces.
  • Use of Restrooms will be limited to one person at a time, disinfecting wipes will be provided.
  • Disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizers and masks will be available at all events.


All classes and Torah Study Session (ie. Sinai Scholars, Women’s Lunch n’ Learn, etc.) for more than two students will be held online until further notice.

Shabbat In-Person

Prayer Services will follow the daily services guidelines.

Dinner. Chabad House will purchase a tent that will be placed in the back lot of the Chabad House. Communal gatherings will be outdoors while maintaining strict physical distancing protocols and limiting the number of participants according to the recommended number at the time of the event. Masks will be worn unless eating or drinking.

Dinner is by reservation only and limited to 30 student max.

There will be separate tables for each “Family Unit” (suitemates, couples, other natural groups or pods) with 6 feet distancing between groups.

Pre-plated dinner plates/or take containers will be prepared by kitchen staff and brought to each student’s place. A bottle of water, individually wrapped Challah, and wrapped disposable cutlery will be already at each place.

Shabbat 2 Go

We will be offering Shabbat 2 Go kits for students who would feel more comfortable doing shabbat in their own space, either alone or with their roommates or college pod. These kits will include Shabbat candles (electric for dorms, real for off campus), grape juice, challah, and a prepackaged Shabbat dinner. There will also be a guide included of how to run a Shabbat dinner and inspirational thoughts to make it a meaningful experience.
All food will be prepared with CDC guidelines. Packages will be available for pickup in a socially distanced manner and masks will be required.

Daily Services

We will be continuing the daily prayer services for the larger New Paltz Community. Students are welcome at these services as long as they have made a (free) reservation and will be required to follow the same guidelines as community members.

This may be the easiest arrangement actually. We will either pray outside or inside (with windows opened), wearing masks and seating distanced. We have smaller groups for davening so this should work fine. Prayer times are shortened to minimize exposure. All surfaces are disinfected.


ROSH HASHANAH EVE: A Dinner on the first night following all the same setup as Shabbat:  On campus in one of the big rooms in the SUB | RSVP required | Limited to the university’s temporary occupancy limit for the particular room | Second Shift if needed.

ROSH HASHANAH DAY SERVICES: Complete service on campus in one of the big rooms in the SUB | RSVP required | Limited to the university’s temporary occupancy limit for the particular room | Seats will be setup 6 feet apart. | Participants must wear masks whenever they are not seated in their place.

ROSH HASHANAH DAY TWO: We will host a large Tashlich service outdoors at the gunk in front of the Student Union, including Shofar blowing and pre-packaged honey cake and honey sticks.

YOM KIPPUR: Complete service with a limited number of people by reservation only, in the tent, with masks and social distancing. If needed, we will do a second shift for Kol Nidrei and Neilah.

Counseling / Student Support

The Chabad House is still open for any student to drop in at any time. This is your home. You are always welcome here. If possible, Rabbi, Rebbetzin, and any students stopping in will wear masks and stay 6 feet apart. When virtual hugs will suffice, we’ll stick with that.

Our go-to informal way to check in with students and get to know them better was “going to coffee”. While that may work and be safe under certain circumstances, a better option during covid may be “Take a walk with Rabbi or Rebbetzin”. A 15-minute walk with 6 feet between you can be a great opportunity to “Catch Up” and reconnect win a personal but safe and healthy way.


We will G-D willing be having a table on campus once a week in the campus designated area. We will be following the university’s guidelines as to safe practices. This will be a great time for us to meet new students and reconnect with students we already know. It will also be an opportunity for students to let us know what they need and how we can help them have a successful semester both spiritually and physically.

Social Events

We recognize the need and hunger to get back to a sense of actual community, as wonderful as the digital connection is. But of course, it needs to be done responsibly.

Welcome BBQ

In place of our annual welcome BBQ we will have a “roast your own smores” event. Each student will receive a prepackaged smore kit containing Marshmallows, Chocolate, and Graham Crackers. Only three students will be allowed around the firepit at once. All students must stay six feet away from each other and must wear masks at all times except when eating (which should be done at a greater distance).

Other In-Person Social Events:

Every event hosted will keep these core rules of only up to 35 students, masks, social distancing when possible.

Online Social Events

Additionally, there will be new and innovative online social events on a regular basis.

A Mitzvah a week with crafts, lessons, and chances to accomplish the Mitzvah on their own.


Overall, good to keep in mind: THIS TOO SHALL PASS! But in the meantime, let’s get through this together in the best way possible. The ability of Chabad House to provide programming in a time like this is dependent on everyone’s cooperation and a need to be adaptive and flexible (and creative!) as needed during this uncertain and unusual period.

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