UUCSS Covid Guidelines

Updated September 5, 2021

These UUCSS guidelines are based on UUA guidance on August 19, 2021, https://www.uua.org/pandemics/gathering-guidance.  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.

1.  At all indoor gatherings on campus, regardless of size, vaccination status, or area transmission risk, the following are required:  good ventilation, well-fitted masks, physical distancing of at least 6 feet, reduced occupancy, no singing, and no food or drinks. 

  • All rooms in the Sanctuary building have good ventilation, with the new HVAC system installed.  Other rooms can be considered to have good ventilation if there are doors to the outside or large windows that can be opened.
  • Physical distancing means at least 6 feet between pods.  For example, household members may be closer together than 6 feet, but at least 6 feet away from other groups.
  • Reduced occupancy means 25 percent.  As the capacity of the Sanctuary is 298, this translates to a total of 74 people.
  • Attendees should arrive only shortly before the beginning of the event and leave immediately after the end.  Socializing should be conducted outdoors.
  • All in-person gatherings should be scheduled with the Communications Administrator.

2.  Well-fitted masks are also required for all outdoor events on campus.  The outdoor area used should be large enough to accommodate social distancing for the number of anticipated attendees.  People may bring their own food and drink, but should wear their masks except when actively consuming refreshments.  Consult UUA recommendations on singing

3.  For children below the age of 12, in-person religious activities and multi-age programs including them will be held outdoors.  All children are welcome to attend worship services indoors or to participate in broadcast activities in their homes.

4.  When transmission risk is Very High or Severe, as indicated on the Covid Act Now website, in-person (indoor and outdoor) gatherings such as worship, concerts, or fundraisers will be suspended.  Exceptions are for up to 12 people rehearsing and broadcasting worship services from the Sanctuary, and other essential activities such as property maintenance/repair and meeting with contractors for planning or inspections. 

5.  People should not attend in-person events if they:

  • Live in an area with Very High or Severe COVID-19 risk as indicated on the Covid Act Now website; or
  • Have traveled to an area with Very High or Severe COVID-19 risk in the preceding 14 days; or
  • 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, is exhibiting possible COVID-19 symptoms, is awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test, or who has tested positive in the last 14 days; or
  • Have had a fever (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher) in the past 48 hours, or suspect that they may have COVID-19 (possible COVID-19 symptoms include fever or 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); or
  • Are awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test or have tested positive in the last 14 days.

Note: For exposure/potential exposure to the coronavirus/COVID-19, quarantine periods may be shorter for vaccinated individuals. For more information, see CDC guidelines or State of Maryland FAQs.

Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 within 14 days after attending an in-person church event should alert the Communications Administrator at administrator@uucss.org.

6.  Hosts of off-campus events (meetings, Auction events) should make decisions about precautions considering this guidance, local regulations, and the comfort level of each attendee.  These decisions should not be dependent on the vaccination status of individuals.  When the transmission risk is Very High or Severe, off-campus events should be suspended.

7.  The Board of Trustees will track transmission levels in the area and, in consultation with staff, will review these guidelines at least once a month. 8.  The Minister, Director of 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.