UUCFM Re-Opening Plan
Dear Members and Friends,
The process for reopening is necessarily a slow, thoughtful one that requires many voices -- the Board, the Staff, Worship Associates, the Tech Team, and the Congregation. Some of our congregation are anxious to return to in-person participation in UUCFM activities, including worship; others will be happy to continue to engage online.
We are planning for a future when we can smile and laugh and hug- where we can see each other’s faces, hear each other’s voices, and be in each other’s presence – and where online options, safety measures, and other steps can keep everyone connected and safe.
Since November, our campus has been in Phase 3 of our original opening-up plan. With limited exceptions, UUCFM gatherings have been limited to no more than 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors, including masks and social distancing, with no shared food.
Now that nearly half of Lee County residents have been vaccinated with at least one dose, the Board of Trustees has begun planning to expand our on-campus activities, and to offer both in-person and online worship services.
Our general principles are:
- Inclusivity and Justice: We will not exclude people and will take special care that equity and anti-oppression are centered in our decision making.
- Safety: We will do our utmost to keep our people and the community safe. We will not contribute to community spread.
- Community Matters: We value our community and being together. As soon as it is safe to gather in an inclusive way, we will.
- Pro-science: We support vaccination for those who are able as a scientific, reasonable, and loving decision. You protect yourself and others. We believe that vaccines are effective and trust the scientists who have worked on them.
Here is our plan so far:
Visits to the Campus
Individuals and members of the same household may visit the outdoor facilities at any time.
People wishing to visit the office are requested to make an appointment in advance.
Groups of any size may meet outdoors, beginning immediately.
- At small outdoor gatherings with vaccinated and unvaccinated people:
o Unvaccinated people should wear masks and stay six feet apart
o Vaccinated people do not need to take prevention measures
- At small outdoor gatherings with only vaccinated people, prevention measures are not needed if all present agree.
- At outdoor events with more than 50 people, everyone should wear masks
Small groups can choose to meet in person beginning immediately or stay online. We will continue to maintain the capacity for small groups to hold their meetings on Zoom for the foreseeable future.
- At small, indoor gatherings with vaccinated and unvaccinated people, everyone should wear masks and unvaccinated people should stay six feet apart
- At small indoor gatherings with only vaccinated people, prevention measures are not needed if all present agree
- At large indoor events with more than 50 people, everyone should wear masks and social distancing should be maintained.
Worship Services and Religious Education
Hybrid worship services – on-line and in-person – will begin in Hobart Hall on Sunday, August 1 for the Blessing of the Animals Service, and in the Sanctuary on Sunday, August 8. Child care will be available for preschool and kindergarten children beginning August 1. Elementary children and youth in grades 7 through 12 will be welcome in the Worship Service until we have enough children to form a group. The social hour after the worship service will resume at a later date, when it is safe to gather without masks.
- All people will be required to wear masks in the Sanctuary
- During the worship service, one vaccinated, socially-distanced speaker or singer at a time may remove their mask
- Households should sit in socially-distanced groups
- Vaccinated and unvaccinated people may sing softly (or hum) with their masks on
Will we require proof of vaccination?
No, we will not require proof of vaccination. Hospitality volunteers (greeters, ushers, etc.) and worship leaders should be vaccinated, but that, and our encouragement for everyone who is able to be vaccinated, is on the honor system. We do not feel it is appropriate for the congregation to ask or keep track of this information. However, if we find that we have a large number of unvaccinated people whose choice to not get a vaccine puts those who cannot get one for medical reasons at risk, we will reevaluate this. The Board and Staff agree that you can be trusted to get your vaccine – please do so.
What happens if new variants or a new surge in Lee County cases changes things?
The Board will assess the situation and determine what alterations are needed.
What happens if we have an outbreak at UUCFM?
If an outbreak occurs among our people (five or more cases that may be linked), we will close the campus immediately while we assess what happened and what steps we should take.
We pledge that we will be transparent, responsive, and deliberate about how we go about this. If you have a question, please ask – it will help us think through all the aspects of this process. We want your comments and opinions! You can email or call Lane Cook, Board of Trustees president, at email@example.com or 239-222-9406.