Fred Hulting, Board President
As mentioned in my earlier post, the Board of Trustees is developing plans to manage the short- and long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the activities of the UUCM community. To accelerate this work, the Board created a COVID Task Force led by Cathy Bujold. The members of that Task Force include volunteers and staff with experience in COVID workplace regulations, knowledge of church practices, and expertise with our facility: Shelley Buss, Lisa Stock, Allison Laura, Bob Dachelet, and Rev. Lisa Friedman.
Guided by state regulations, advice from the UUA, and the latest science, the Task Force has initially been focused on the risks of using our building. The recommended approach is to open the building in four phases, gradually allowing more people into the building as we are able to do safely. We are currently in Phase 1, which allows for a small group of four to five staff and volunteers to be in the building for specific needs and purposes. There is no timetable for moving to Phases 2, 3, and 4.
A detailed Phase 1 Preparedness Plan has been created by the Task Force and approved by the Board. The plan’s emphasis is on enabling our staff to do their jobs safely and accommodating necessary volunteer activities. It covers building access and use procedures, health and safety policies for staff and volunteers, and facilities maintenance and cleaning protocols. The Board has also appointed our Minister, Rev. Lisa Friedman, as the Plan Administrator. Lisa will manage the implementation of the plan and she will coordinate training for staff and volunteers who must be in the building at this time.
As we look ahead, the Board will make the decisions about moving to later phases based on the recommendation of Rev. Lisa and the Task Force. These later phases are
Phase 2: Small groups of no more than 10 people in the building at a time (beyond core staff and volunteers).
Phase 3: Moderate-sized groups larger than 10 people.
Phase 4: Large gatherings, including worship.
With each new phase we will make updates to our preparedness plan. Some of these updates will be significant. For example, state regulations for Phase 2 impose more requirements on how we manage the facilities environment (e.g. the HVAC systems).
For now, our Minister and Staff are focused on Phase 1 activities that are critical to the church and they are preparing as if we may not hold worship in the building before May 2021. I know that this is disappointing to many who long to gather together at church on Sunday mornings or during the week. But we do not completely control the timetable for moving to later phases. It will depend on the spread of the virus as well as our ability to meet state requirements and feel confident in the safety of our building. Despite these challenges, the Board, Minister, Staff, and volunteers will keep looking at ways to build and strengthen our church community. I know many of you have proactively and creatively found ways to stay connected, and we welcome your input and your ideas as we go forward.