Program Updates

Updated March 17, 2020

Dear J Family,

It has been an unprecedented day. About 24 hours ago, we committed wholly and uncompromisingly to your health and the health of our community by making the difficult decision to close our doors tonight. While it saddens us that, temporarily, we are not able to gather together in person, our staff has committed to serving you in other ways – and we are really excited about that.

Since we made the announcement, we’ve received dozens of messages of support from members, donors, partners and vendors. We are truly humbled to hear how much we mean to our community. Thank you for your confidence and continued support.

With the support of the JCC Board of Directors, we have established these guiding principles for membership dues. Questions regarding tuition or registration fees can be directed to your program manager.

J Membership is a diverse and engaging experience; even as our buildings close, we continue to explore ways to serve the community, engage our members, and deliver a unique experience for all. Our members will have three options for membership dues payment, effective April 1st, 2020:

1. Continue to support the critical work, inclusive mission, and professional staff of the J through your ongoing membership. We have made a commitment to our staff members to pay them through this period when the agency is closed.

2. Freeze your current membership account, at no charge, and re-activate your membership without penalty upon the building’s reopening. Please notify us of your desire to freeze your membership by March 27.

3. Cancel your membership by March 27, and incur any applicable rejoining fees upon re-enrollment. You may also request a prorated refund for March.

Requests for a membership freeze, cancellation, or additional inquiries should be directed to our Member Services Department at memberservices@jccstl.org. Unless we hear from you, we will assume you have chosen the first option. We are happy to provide tax letters to anyone who chooses this option.

You have told us, with your voices and actions, that being a member of the J is more than access to a building. We believe that membership is about connection to one another, a shared vision for the future, and an investment in the values we share.

We want to thank our members who have already demonstrated their commitment to our mission and staff. We are blessed to partner with members and users who recognize that our staff family delivers exceptional service, with a tremendous amount of heart and expertise, and are enthusiastic to support our staff at this time.

In the days ahead, the J team will be ramping up the online resources, content and engagement opportunities available to our community. If you have an idea, want to connect with community members, or otherwise want to explore ways to demonstrate our values and celebrate our community (in the most social-distancing-sensitive way!) please reach out to us. Be well!

B’Shalom,

Lynn Wittels
President & CEO

Greg Siwak
Board Chair


Updated March 16, 2020

Dear Members of the J Family,

The information, advisories and restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 virus have been extremely fluid, and we have navigated each wave to the best of our abilities. In fact, as we were writing this, the latest round of expert guidance was issued from Washington. 

Although we want to be available for those who need us, we must adhere to CDC, and now city, county, state and federal government guidelines to do our part to help flatten the curve of the spread of this virus. We serve important community needs, including bringing people together in our fitness centers, but the evidence is clear, that for the sake of our staff and our community, we can no longer keep our doors open to the public.

After much consultation and deliberation, here is where we are today:

All J programs (including our fitness centers) will close beginning at 6pm tomorrow, March 17, and will be closed through Friday, April 3. We will reopen as soon as we have been advised that it is safe to do so. Most program participants and families will receive a separate, more detailed email; however, we will continue to add information about specific programs as it becomes available on our website. And, of course, we will keep you updated via email.

During this temporary period, we are committed to serving you in other ways – look for online workout opportunities, ideas for engaging your children at home, even reading and viewing suggestions from our cultural arts staff – all coming soon.

Thank you to those of you who have contacted us with suggestions and concerns and to those who have sent us messages of confidence and encouragement. We appreciate your feedback, and we value our amazing community.

Stay well and please continue to keep in touch. We hope to be back together very soon.

B’Shalom,

Lynn Wittels
President & CEO

Greg Siwak
Board Chair 


March 13

The Best Way to Prevent Illness is to Avoid Exposure

Dear J Family,

As you likely know, today, the County Executive declared a state of emergency (following the Mayor’s declaration yesterday) and prohibited public events larger than 250 people. At this time, we are evaluating our ability to reschedule our affected programs. We appreciate your patience as we sort these out. For your convenience, we have created a page on our website that lists all of these events along with what details are available at this time. 

Program Updates

Please be assured that we continue to monitor and follow CDC and St. Louis County Health Department guidelines regarding cleaning and disinfecting, and we encourage you to do the same. 

We ask that you continue to support our efforts:

Do not come to the J if you are feeling sick. PLEASE do not come here to “sweat it out.”

Wipe down your equipment before and after each use.

Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow/sleeve.

Wash your hands, with soap, before and after working out, after coughing or sneezing. 

New: Group Ex Studio Changes

Until this situation has passed, we will make some changes with regard to props:

Props that can be easily cleaned – steps, hand weights and kettlebells and blocks will be cleaned at the end of each day, and in between classes as time permits.

Blankets will be removed from the studios. You might want to bring your own blanket or a beach towel instead.

For now, we will leave the bolsters in the studios – if you choose to use a bolster, please cover it with a towel and place the towel in the used towel receptacles after class.

We will clean mats at least at the end of each day, but we encourage you to bring your own. We are also looking at affordable mats to offer our members for purchase.

Please do not come to class if you’re feeling ill.


Updated March 11, 2020

Dear Members of the J Family,

Now that news about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has become more local, I want to reassure you that we are keeping up to date on the situation and proactively seeking and following recommendations from the appropriate authorities to minimize the risk.

Today, we were made aware of some rumors about the coronavirus and the J, and want you to know that we do not, at this time, have any knowledge about cases among those who use our facilities.

We also reached out to a physician at the St. Louis County Health Department, who shared with us that they believe the risk to our J community is extremely low unless a person has been exposed to someone who is symptomatic. It is believed that the transmission of this virus requires very close contact with a symptomatic person.

“I would like to reiterate that, based on your description, the risk to your staff and other patrons of the JCC is very low. In fact, the CDC states:

Contacts of Asymptomatic People Exposed to COVID-19
“CDC does not recommend testing, symptom monitoring or special management for people exposed to asymptomatic people with potential exposures to SARS-CoV-2 (such as in a household), i.e., “contacts of contacts;” these people are not considered exposed to SARS-CoV-2.”
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/risk-assessment.html

The reason for the above recommendation is that there is little evidence so far that asymptomatic people can shed the virus.”

Please know that we remain vigilant about our cleaning and disinfecting procedures:

We use high-level, hospital-grade, antiviral cleaning agents to properly disinfect the entire facility on a daily basis. We have reviewed our daily cleaning and sanitation protocol for all program areas and have modified and enhanced procedures where appropriate.

– Every surface in our fitness center (all pads, handles, control panels and adjustment knobs) is cleaned multiple times daily by our staff – and we hope, additionally by you.
– In our restrooms and locker rooms, all surfaces (counters, sinks, floors, benches, showers, door handles) are cleaned/disinfected multiple times daily.
– In our Early Childhood Centers and babysitting areas, all toys and surfaces are sanitized each evening, as well as before and after meals.

We have ordered additional hand sanitizers to place in heavily trafficked areas of our facilities. Those should arrive soon.

Please continue to help us in our efforts to promote and maintain a healthy environment here at the J:

If you are not feeling well and exhibit any symptoms of illness, please refrain from using the J until all symptoms have subsided. If you have a fever, please make sure that you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication before returning to the J to use the facilities or participate in any programs.

If your children are enrolled in any of our youth programs, please keep your children home if they are sick. If you are an ECC family, please strictly adhere to our “return to school” guidelines for your children after an illness. Also, if you are called to pick up a sick child from any of our programs please arrive in as timely a manner as is safely possible.

If you are planning to do any personal travel in the coming months and during the upcoming spring break season, please take a moment to familiarize yourselves with information about the areas where infection rates are high and the chance for disease transmission is heightened. You can find information on the CDC’s Coronavirus Disease Travel Page HERE.

If you work out in either of our Fitness Centers, please make sure you clean the equipment using the spray bottles and paper towels or blue rags that are provided. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to clean the equipment both before and after use. The solution in the spray bottles is created specifically for facilities like fitness centers and serve many purposes including one-step disinfectant, sanitizer, fungicide, mildewstat, virucide and deodorizer. The solution we use has demonstrated effectiveness against viruses similar to the novel coronavirus on hard, non-porous surfaces.

Please wash your hands frequently, consider carrying hand sanitizer to use if soap and water is not readily available, cover your mouth and nose when sneezing (if a tissue is not readily available, use the upper part of your arm/sleeve), and properly dispose of tissues and paper towels in appropriate trash receptacles.

Please place J towels in designated receptacles. Please do not leave them in public areas, locker rooms or in the fitness centers.

We are committed to regularly communicating with you and will share information and guidelines as we receive them from local, state and national authorities.

We will maintain diligent efforts to mitigate exposure to and transmission of infectious disease within our J community and ask that each of you please do your part in continuing to ensure the health, safety and well-being of everyone. As always, please feel free to contact me with any specific questions or concerns.

B’Shalom,

Lynn Wittels
President & CEO
The J

For any of you who would like more information about the Coronavirus, frequently asked questions, or how to mitigate the transmission of the disease, I am providing the following links for your review: CDC Coronavirus Fact Sheet 1 and CDC Coronavirus Fact Sheet 2.