The BCA Executive Committee has decided that we would like to see the Jodo Shinshu Center (JSC) open after the start of next year.
This effort is being spearheaded by our Facilities Manager, Robert Matsueda, his assistant, Miles Hamada, and our BCA Properties Committee, headed by Steve Terusaki and Glenn Inanaga.
We will be watching the COVID-19 trend and looking to see if we have another surge in the winter, as people gather for Thanksgiving. Although there was a surge last year, that was before we had the current vaccines.
In order to open the JSC, we will look to public health reports from the City of Berkeley. As of June 15, 2021, California allowed all businesses to open. They must follow the COVID-19 recommendations regarding masking. At the JSC, we will still require that people wear masks in the building. Only those who are vaccinated or can show a recent negative COVID-19 test will be allowed to enter the building.
The JSC is home to several different types of businesses. The Institute of Buddhist Studies (IBS) holds classes there. All students will have the option of coming for in-person classes or virtual classes. Rev. Harry Bridge, our Gicho, knows that some classes (like those for the chaplaincy program) may be better suited for in-person classes.
The BCA is in the process of making a “smart classroom” in the JSC. This classroom will have a large touch screen TV in the room and audio equipment so that hybrid classes can take place. Some of our audio equipment may be purchased with Dharma Forward campaign donations, if we are successful.
The Center for Buddhist Education and the Jodo Shinshu International Office are also tenants in the JSC. The CBE and JSIO staff will also need to be masked and vaccinated (or tested periodically for COVID-19) to enter. Ryukoku University runs their student exchange program out of the JSC, but I am not aware of their current plans to resume operations.
Robert Matsueda and Miles Hamada will start resuming overnight stays at the JSC. This process will begin slowly. Once started, we will resume our laundry and cleaning services at the JSC.
For now, it is unlikely that the kitchen will be utilized very much. This will be determined by Robert Matsueda and Miles Hamada.
Visitors to the JSC may notice that the former bookstore space is now converted into office space for the IBS.
Everyone who enters the building will need to sign in and have their temperature taken. Our security for the building may help out with that process. We are hoping that the reopening process will be smooth and that we will be able to conduct business almost like before the pandemic began.
During the time the JSC was closed, we did some needed maintenance on the property. Robert Matsueda cleared out most of the unneeded materials that was in the underground garage. We have sealed the ceiling of the underground garage so that the mysterious white material that fell from the ceiling will no longer damage the cars parked there.
Unfortunately, we still have sealing work to do on the parking lot at street level. We have some above ground repairs that need to be made and we need to do entryway work on the westward facing doors to the JSC. We will no longer have the planters near the entrances to the JSC. Again, we are hoping that Dharma Forward campaign donations may help us with some of these repairs. Remember, the 2019 National Council that met in Phoenix allocated part of the first $1 million raised in the Dharma Forward campaign would go toward repairs to the parking lot area at the JSC.