In Person Health and Safety Policy

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Board approved June 30, 2021; Revised 8/7/2021; Revised 9/7/2021

The global Coronavirus pandemic of 2020-2021 has forced our congregation to reinvent ways to be in community.  We are learning and growing.  We continue to hear the call to truly care for one another as part of our mission to inspire love, seek justice and grow in community.   We don’t have all the answers but we will find our way together.  We have created these policies and guidelines based on science and government recommendations, the guidance of the UUA, and a desire to be as inclusive as possible.  While we know we are all eager to be back together, we will go slowly, be flexible, and be thoughtful and realistic in our process.   Our goal is to help keep ourselves and our community safe and healthy and continue to practice the care for one another that is one of the values of our congregation.  Please be gentle with one another recognizing that  we are fragile; there is anxiety, anger, and exhaustion.  Please think of each person’s inherent worth and dignity and follow these policies with care and kindness, knowing that there are vulnerable persons among us who depend on us to make choices to protect all of us.  

POLICY

Effective with this policy, the Board will advise staff, congregants, and visitors about all church-related in person gatherings, large and small, (whether on the UUCK campus or off campus) observing the following guidelines and restrictions (based upon CDC, Ohio Health Department and UUA guidance): 

  1. Stay Home when Appropriate 
    • If you are sick, please stay home. Staff, congregants and visitors should stay home if they have tested positive for or are showing COVID-19 symptoms.
    • If you have recently had close contact with a person with symptoms of or diagnosed with COVID-19. Staff, congregants, and visitors should also stay home and monitor their health.
    • Staff, congregants, and visitors should follow CDC guidelines for isolating and quarantining when sick or tested positive for COVID-19. 
    • UUCK leadership (staff, committees, teams, social coordinators) agree to offer, wherever possible, virtual alternatives to gatherings so that those who are not feeling well or don’t feel safe being in person can still participate in the life and work of our community, e.g., multi-platform Sunday service, RE classes, committee meetings, other gatherings. 
  2. Masking
    • All staff, congregants and visitors will wear a mask that covers the nose, mouth and chin: 
      • When inside any building on the UUCK campus (the church, Eldredge Annex, or Hobbs Hall).
      • Outdoors, when it is not possible to consistently maintain a distance of 6 feet or more between people who live in different homes/households. 
    • Exempted from the requirement is anyone who is: 
      • Younger than 2.
      • Living with a medical condition that makes it unsafe to wear a mask. This includes respiratory conditions that restrict breathing, mental health conditions, or disabilities.
      • Communicating or seeking to communicate with someone who is hearing-impaired or has a disability that makes it difficult to communicate if the mouth is covered.
      • Alone in an enclosed space, such as an office.
      • Vaccinated individuals who are leading a religious service (officiant, worship associate, other speakers).  When not speaking they will wear a mask. 
    • Due to health concerns, there will be no food or beverages consumed where masks are mandated.
  1. Hygiene
    • UUCK will endeavor to protect staff, congregants, and visitors by 
      • Routinely disinfecting high-contact surfaces, desk workstations, restrooms, and equipment per CDC guidelines.
      • Making hand sanitizer and sanitizing products readily available throughout the campus.
      • Where possible, post clearly visible signage at all entrances, with text indicating masks are required and encouraging social distancing at all times on the premises. 
      • Maximizing ventilation, including opening doors and windows, as well as providing air purifiers for small meeting rooms upon request. Note: our older furnaces are not capable of employing filtration of MERV 13 or higher.
      • Encouraging alternate forms of greeting besides handshakes, hugs, and kissing. 
      • Choosing meeting space in accordance with ventilation and capacity guidelines. 
  2. Social Distancing
    • Designating with signage, tape, placement of furniture and equipment, or other means 6-foot spacing for seating and occupancy limits for rooms. 
    • At indoor events with fixed seating, UUCK will limit the number of participants to capacity of the facility based upon current science for ventilation, filtration and air quality.  The current capacity is 25% per room.  (There are no capacity limitations for outdoor facilities.)
    • UUCK will endeavor to implement alternate viewing venues for large gatherings, e.g., using secondary rooms with screens displaying a zoom meeting feed.
  3. Musical Performances
    • Following UUA guidelines, in person singing should employ at least 3 of the following rules: 
      • Excellent ventilation, i.e., you are singing outdoors
      • High quality masks: High-filtering, low-leak masks (such as KN95) or well-fitting double masks worn by all participants.
      • Distance of at least six feet between participants who are not in the same household.
      • Duration of no more than 30 minutes.
    • What Kinds of Singing are Possible? While regular choir and orchestra rehearsals and congregational singing (as we were accustomed) will have to wait, it may be possible with a little creativity for group singing by:
      • Holding outdoor masked and distanced singing
      • Making video recordings of small fully-vaccinated singing groups, recorded outdoors or in excellent ventilation, to share in the Sunday service.
      • Featuring a fully-vaccinated soloist performing at a distance at an outdoor or excellently-ventilated indoor service.
  1. Concerns about Health and Safety
    • All staff, congregants, and visitors that choose to be in person on the UUCK campus agree to follow the above guidelines. 
    • If staff, congregants or visitors have any concerns about their health and safety within these guidelines or restrictions, they can reach out to the Ministry Executive Team (MET), The Board of Trustees, or the Committee on Shared Ministry for assistance.  As a covenantal community, it is up to each of us to support this policy.
  2. Governance
    • Rental agreements for use of UUCK facilities shall be amended to include a copy of this policy and an acknowledgement and agreement to abide by the policy.
    • The MET, Committee on Shared Ministry, and Board of Trustees will review this policy as needed to update guidance, following science and the vision of inclusivity within our community. 

References: 

Responsible RestartOhio Social Distancing, Masking, and Congregating Revised 5/18/2021

CDC Considerations for Community Based Organizations Updated April 19, 2021

UUA Guidance for Singing Together as COVID-19 Subsides (as of 6/7/2021)

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