Updated October 26, 2022
Summary of changes to the guidelines:
- Eating and drinking are now allowable indoors for certain church-related events and coffee hour.
- With the above change, making eating and drinking allowable indoors, we encourage event organizers to consider how to make church-related events inclusive.
What has not changed:
- Guidelines for indoor gatherings on campus for worship services, and for congregational meetings in which eating and drinking are not integral parts (see #1 below)
- Guidelines for outdoor events (see #2 below)
- Guidelines for on-campus and off-campus events (meetings, Auction events) (see #6 below)
- Guidelines for self-screening for attending in-person events (see #5 below)
These UUCSS guidelines are informed by UUA guidance updated January 21, 2022, and by the most recent guidance from the CDC. In revising these guidelines, the Board is striving to balance the health and safety of our congregants with their spiritual and emotional needs for gathering in community.
As a congregation, we are in covenant with one another to act not just as a collection of individuals, but as a body that works for the good of all. Because our Unitarian Universalist faith is grounded in values that call us to care about one another, we must be aware not only of our individual needs, but those of the most vulnerable among us. We should respect what the others might need even if you don’t have the same needs. We encourage congregants to ask each other about what would help make them comfortable and to honor this in deciding our individual behaviors.
The Board expects that everyone in the UUCSS community who is medically able to receive COVID-19 vaccinations has received them and that those planning church-related events will make sure their plans follow this guidance as well as local regulations. Individuals should consider whether they are at enhanced risk of contracting or transmitting COVID-19/coronavirus when making decisions about how to participate in church events.
Note: The updated UUCSS guidelines no longer include reduced capacity for attendance or physical distancing; eating and drinking are now allowable indoors for certain church-related events and coffee hour. We encourage individuals who attend church events to consider their own risk when deciding how close to sit or stand to others.
We encourage event organizers to consider how to make church-related events inclusive (such as holding events that involve eating and drinking outdoors when possible; or requiring a negative at-home Covid test prior to attending indoor events with prolonged unmasked exposure). If coffee hour is held indoors, we expect that it will be held in a location that would allow those who prefer to socialize with other masked congregants to have a separate space.
1. At all indoor gatherings on campus for worship services and congregational meetings, the following are required: good ventilation and well-fitted masks of high quality. Eating and drinking are allowed during coffee hour, and at events in which eating and drinking are integral parts (such as the fellowship dinner or seder). The congregation may engage in soft singing and humming.
• All rooms in the Sanctuary building have good ventilation, with the new HVAC system installed.
• The links above provide information about the attributes of well-fitted, high-quality masks.
• All in-person gatherings should be scheduled with the Office Administrator.
2. The area for outdoor events on campus should be large enough to accommodate physical distancing for those who wish to keep a distance from others. Eating and drinking are allowed outdoors. Participants may engage in soft singing if they wear well-fitted, high-quality masks. Otherwise, masks are not required.
3. Religious education events for children five and older may be held in-person on campus, either indoors or outdoors. Now that vaccines are available for children who are at least 6 months old, childcare in the nursery has resumed for children who are 6 months or older. All children are welcome to attend worship services indoors or to participate in broadcast activities in their homes.
4. The Board will track incidence rates and other relevant data for this area and, in consultation with staff, will review these guidelines at least once a month. If data trends suggest a need for additional caution, the Board will decide whether to suspend in-person activities or to increase restrictions on gatherings, both for on-campus and off-campus events. The Board will consider decreasing restrictions if data trends indicate that might be appropriate.
5. People should not attend in-person events if they:
• have possible COVID-19 symptoms: fever (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher), chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, UNLESS you have had a negative PCR test or two negative rapid antigen tests 24 hours or more apart (a single rapid antigen test in the face of COVID-19 symptoms is not considered reliable); or
• have had documented COVID-19 and have not been symptom-free for at least 5 days; or
• if you have NOT been fully vaccinated and boosted and have been in close contact (within 6 feet of someone for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with someone who has COVID-19 (Note that for individuals who HAVE been fully vaccinated and boosted, for reliable testing, you should wait until 5 days after exposure. If you wish to be extra cautious for the sake of our community, consider waiting for a negative test.); or
• are awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test; or
• have tested positive in the last 5 days EVEN IF they have no symptoms.
Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 within 5 days after attending an in-person church event should alert the Office Administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please refer to CDC guidelines on quarantine and isolation for more details.
6. Hosts of on-campus and off-campus events (meetings, Auction events) should make decisions about precautions considering this guidance, local regulations, and the comfort level of each attendee.
7. The Minister, Assistant Minister for Spiritual Growth, Music Director, and Worship Committee will establish protocols, consistent with these guidelines, for the timing and conduct of in-person worship services and religious education classes.