Latest News on Reopening MLUC for In-Person Activities
May 17, 2021
Thank you to everyone who participated in the recent survey on your willingness to engage in future in-person activities at the church. On our main questions, 75% of respondents were “Very Likely” or “Somewhat Likely” to participate. That being said, the congregation has a wide range of comfort levels and perspectives in terms of returning to church. We will be publishing the full results on the website this coming week.
The great news is that our region is now in the Orange transmission level for the Covid-19 virus. In addition, the vaccination rate for Chester, Montgomery and Delaware counties are well above the state average, with over 66% of the population 16 plus years of age in the three counties having had at least one shot. And, as you probably know, children aged 12-15 can now get the Pfizer vaccine. So we encourage everyone who can to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
Based on these developments and the recent announcements from the CDC, the Coping with Covid Committee and the church staff are moving forward with plans to begin reopening for in-person activities. As always, we will be doing so carefully and intentionally with a focus on our UU values, being as inclusive as possible, and protecting the most vulnerable in our community. We recognize, however, that some people will not be able or will choose not to get the vaccine. For privacy, inclusivity and other reasons, therefore, we will not condition participation in church activities on whether a person has been vaccinated.
Effective immediately, small group ministries, committees and other groups are permitted to hold outdoor meetings or other official church events (whether on church property or elsewhere, including at members’ homes or restaurants). This includes both adults and children. You will be able to schedule outdoor events on church grounds via the online calendar and in coordination with our church staff. Groups meeting outdoors on church grounds should use the porta-potty rather than indoor bathrooms.
We are considering the options for possibly holding outdoor services and other events shortly – hopefully as soon as June – and then to allow indoor meetings and possibly even some variations on indoor services after our region reaches the Yellow transmission level. We plan to publish further guidance and detail on these plans in the coming weeks. and to continue to modify our guidance based on updates coming from the CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Health.
We also appreciate the latest CDC guidance that with a few exceptions, fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks or socially distance. Our approach at MLUC will be to have masks be optional at outdoor events. We expect that unvaccinated people, young children, and anyone who wants to wear a mask for their safety and others, will do so.
We would also ask groups planning to hold events to consider carefully how best to include people who either are unable or unwilling to attend in-person or may feel uncomfortable doing so. Each group needs to consider how to be as inclusive as possible, including whether to continue with online meetings or if feasible and equitable, some form of a hybrid event (more capabilities for these types of events will be coming soon).
We would welcome any questions or comments you may have. Please contact the Coping with Covid Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.