When Will the Church Re-Open?
The Omicron variant of COVID has been surging throughout the country and the Bay Area. With this highly transmissible variant, infections have increased dramatically and the positivity rate has soared. As a result, many public health protocols have been strengthened to limit the spread and the increasing pressure on already stressed health care system and workers. The unvaccinated continue to be the most vulnerable population and the population most likely to need hospital care and to be at the greatest risk for serious complications, including death.
Thus UUCB’s plans for regathering in person have been delayed. The task force will continue to monitor trends to assess when it will be safe for our congregation to regather joyfully and safely in person.
In the meantime, the best advice is to be fully vaccinated, including a booster, wear a mask, socially distance, especially in new environments with unknown persons, and wash hands. As masking experience and knowledge about easy and effective use has developed, N95, KN95 or KN94 masks are recommended by public health professionals as the best choices.
UUCB Vaccination Policy
As in other UU congregations and beyond, UUCB’s Board of Trustees has been considering values, responsibilities, and a wide range of concerns for re-gathering for worship and other open/large group activities.
The Board has decided that when UUCB reconvenes in-person worship and other Sunday activities or other large gatherings, persons in attendance will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 – as they are able for their age group.
Vaccines for children under 12 will not be required unless or until there is permanent, rather than temporary, FDA approval – although we understand many church families are obtaining vaccines for children 5 to 11 years old.
As many of us are experiencing elsewhere, proof of full vaccination status will be required to attend the in-person events that fall under this policy. Email email@example.com to request a time to submit your vaccination status.
In your email, be sure to include the date and time you prefer; you will receive an email reply with your appointment time. Plan to start in the waiting room; the host will invite people in one at a time to show vaccination proof and ID.
Please note that we are NOT accepting vaccination documentation via email.
There will continue to be in-person activities of fewer than 50 people, following existing safety protocols, which do not fall under this vaccine policy; please follow the Week Ahead for those opportunities as well as on-line streamed events.
Other safety protocols in place include masking, distancing, and affirmation from attendees that they are not ill, have no symptoms of contagious disease, and in the last 10 days have neither tested positive nor been in contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19, and that they will inform the church if they test positive for COVID-19 within the following 14 days.
Persons who are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons may contact Rev. Michelle to seek an exemption.
The Board delegated to Rev. Michelle the decision on when activities under this policy will take place, noting the current uncertainties about sufficient volunteer assistance, and changes in the spread of COVID-19 and its variants. To allow for volunteers and procedures to be up and running – as well as time for children ages 5 and up to have a chance to be fully vaccinated – and while hoping not too much time will pass, the Board targeted its desire for the in-person gatherings to start between mid-January and late February. Again, with the understanding that changes in pandemic/health conditions, requirements and guidelines in our area could affect timing.
In making the vaccine policy decision at its December 1 meeting, more fully reflected in this resolution, the Board of Trustees drew upon the report presented by UUCB’s Opening Task Force – for whose work we are truly grateful. For more information about the Opening Task Force, to volunteer to help with in-person event tasks, or other related matters, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alongside our mission, covenant and UU Principles, the Board of Trustees also considered:
- Regardless of policies and protocols, UUCB cannot guarantee that anyone attending an in-person activity will be fully protected against exposure to COVID-19, and that there is individual responsibility for choices;
- Online streaming of worship services, as well as other activities where feasible, will be provided in recognition of risks that exist regardless of safety protocols and Board policy, and to reach persons who, for whatever reason, are unable or unwilling to follow protocols or policy.
And also setting policy within a broader principle of:
- Creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for our worship services and other activities, while pursuing what is the best for the most and what will unite us, not divide us.
As we look forward to more fully coming together in person in 2022, we encourage continued connections with and caring for one another, widening our circle in the elimination of racism and all forms of oppression, and spiritually growing in the strength of our community.