Individuals or groups meeting or visiting indoors on campus please continue to complete the below linked tracing form after visiting campus. Best sanitary practices must be followed for their, as well as staff’s and other volunteers’, safety. Individuals and groups visiting our campus outdoors only need not fill out the form. Thank you for your continued help in keeping our community safe!
July 26, 2021: Red (Very High/Critical) This bring us back to Phase 2, vaccines have been working: indoor and outdoor activities are allowed on campus. Masks are required for both indoor and outdoor activities. Indoor activities are limited to 10 households, outdoor activities are limited to 25 households.
As you are likely aware, the number of cases of Covid has been rising disturbingly around the country again recently. On Saturday, July 24, the Covid Act Now risk level for Palm Beach County went up to Red (Very High/Critical), following the weekly data release Friday from the Department of Health. Though this news is very discouraging, it does not preclude having services in the Sanctuary or other meetings on campus, but, following the building usage parameters adopted by the Board, it will mean limiting the number of people in attendance to 10 households. Please see the details of the plan here.
Your Board has committed to ensuring continued online service access after our return to in-person worship. There is still a small amount of programming to be done by the installers on the new AV system and then the task of learning to use it will begin in earnest. Many volunteers will need to be involved to make the complex process of moving to multiple platform services happen. Please let us know if you are interested in helping by learning to run the new AV equipment or in some other way.
Thank you for your continued commitment to the safety and accessibility of our spiritual community.
July 12, 2021: Orange Level (High Risk) As of 7/11/21 Palm Beach County is at the Orange (High) Risk level according to Covid Act Now. This bring us back to Phase 3, vaccines have been working: indoor and outdoor activities are allowed on campus. For indoor activities masks are required, limited to 25 households, with no food or beverage consumption.
Please contact the office if your group, committee, etc. would like to begin meeting in person again on campus.
Please see the graphic below for more detailed building usage parameters. Click graphic to view it as a Google Sheet.
May 30, 2021: Pandemic Building Usage Parameters voted by the Board of Trustees on May 27, 2021
The Board held a special meeting on Thursday, May 27, to discuss the Pandemic Building Usage Parameters that the reopening task force recommended. With a few changes, the Board approved the pandemic building use chart shown below. As always, the Task force and the Board kept in mind our core UU values of equity, compassion, and community. The Board realizes that this document may need to be reviewed and revised as new data becomes available and pandemic conditions in our county change.
The task force has studied and continues to study the research and information available and are working to find the best solutions for all. The Task Force used information from the CDC, Covid Act Now, and the UUA, among other sources as a basis for our recommendations. We know that many people have gotten vaccinated. We know that vaccines are not 100% effective at keeping people from getting and from passing the disease. There have been breakthrough illnesses, not many, but some. For individuals with auto-immune diseases, the vaccine may very likely be less effective. Children under 12 are not yet able to be vaccinated at all. Some other individuals may not be able to be vaccinated due to health conditions. Some people will choose not to be vaccinated. Experts are saying that we might not achieve herd immunity before a variant arises for which the vaccines are less effective. The risk for unvaccinated people is currently about the same as it was in January.
Currently, in the Phase 4 of the plan, corresponding to Yellow, Medium Risk, on CovidActNow (click here or on blue button below to view the current situation for PBC), indoor and outdoor activities are allowed on campus. For indoor activities masks are required, with no food or beverage consumption. While opening the way for in-person events on our church campus, the Board decided that it was wise to continue to require masks indoors in this current phase, in order to protect those more vulnerable members and guests among us who are not able to be vaccinated. An exception to this current indoor masking at Phase 4 has been made for the fully vaccinated music ministry group to gather unmasked to practice and record.
Due to our strong commitment to remain inclusive, the Sunday Worship Services will not begin in the Sanctuary until it is possible for it to be available in-person as well as virtually. Many volunteers on the Sanctuary Services Committee are working hard to finalize and implement a plan to offer services simultaneously in-person and online with the new audio/visual system. This will have the added benefit of allowing our snowbirds to continue to join in over the summer.
Most of us have not been through a pandemic before. Bear with us, and regardless of the parameters, don’t attend any events you do not feel comfortable attending. Please also be aware that some among us are at higher risk or may not feel as secure. In deciding if or when your groups will begin meeting in person, please work as much as possible by consensus. Let’s remember that we are a covenantal religion and keep our UU values of mutual care and concern for each other in our minds and hearts as we navigate these complicated waters.
Please contact the office if your group, committee, etc. would like to begin meeting in person again on campus. There are practical considerations that need to be put in place, such as the cleaning of the buildings, etc.Covid Act Now PBC
Click graphic below to view it as a Google Sheet.
February 5, 2021: Update from 1/27/2021 Task Force Meeting
1stUUPB Reopening Task Force met again on January 27. We are monitoring the Covid-19 situation in Palm Beach County and in general. Although we would like to get back to services as normal as we know you all would, for many reasons we feel that it is not judicious yet to begin meeting in person. 1stUUPB will for the moment remain at the stage of “touchless” outdoor events and mission critical maintenance. Please fill in the quick Potential Online Contact Tracing form if you need to be on campus for mission critical activities indoors, or meeting with others. Please read the Guidelines for Outdoor Events if you are the coordinator of an event and also fill in the online form after the event. Individuals and individual families are welcome to visit our campus, outdoors only, and need not fill out the form.
The UUA is updating its guidance regularly, and they did so on December 17, 2020 and again on January 29, 2021. They are still recommending ongoing virtual gatherings, “In the midst of uncertainty, the UUA stands by our spring 2020 recommendation that congregations plan for ongoing virtual gathering and operations. This applies to worship, events, rites of passage, and more.” Read the full guidance here.
The metrics we are tracking to make any reopening decisions are; daily new cases per 100,000 people, infection rate, test positivity rate, ICU headroom, ICU headroom, and vaccination rate as reported on Covid ActNow (covidactnow.org). Although we have not decided upon exact criteria for moving to the next stage of reopening, the rates in Palm Beach County are unfortunately still quite a bit above what many other congregations are using as a standard.
|Standard||Palm Beach CountyAs of 2/3/2021 (graphic below)|
|DAILY NEW CASES (per 100,000)||1||44.6|
|ICU HEADROOM||< 50% of ICU beds in use by Covid patients||76% ICU beds in use total|
We are wary also, due to the new variants which have been found to be more easily transmitted and would like to allow a little more time to see the effects.
We are hopeful about the vaccine! In Palm Beach County 9.3% of the population have already had their first shot (according to Covid ActNow) and in Florida 2% have been fully vaccinated (according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker).
The UUA’s guidance explains: “As a community that values inclusion and collective care, we don’t want to create in-person situations that inadvertently exclude those at higher risk, or create situations that force those at higher risk to publicly identify themselves. Our decision-making must center the needs of the most vulnerable.” As you are probably already aware some very important upgrades are going on in the Sanctuary in the meantime. As we have already noticed with our services on-line, members and friends who are not physically in the area are still able to participate. In the same way, these technology upgrades to the sanctuary will allow some people to be physically in attendance and some attending virtually. Once the technology and decor upgrades are complete, there will be a transition time learning how to perform services as both in-person and virtual events. Initially perhaps only one or two people will be in the sanctuary and others participating on-line, and moving as able, to more in-person participation, while also keeping the ability for people to attend on-line. Please be patient and understanding, as this will be a big learning curve.
As always, if you have any questions you may reach out to any of the task force members: Linda Hartley, Rachel Melcher, Steve Pock, or Suzanne Schluter.
December 15, 2020: Update from 12/9/2020 Task Force Meeting
The Task Force is continuing to meet and work on preparing a plan. Currently, however, the situation with the pandemic is getting worse rather than better. For this reason, the Task Force does not recommend approving any new types of events on campus now. There is a particular concern that this might give the impression that the situation is less risky than before, when it is not.
October 28, 2020
While we are not yet ready to open our campus to in-person meetings, we want to let you know that the Board has created a task force to research best practices and develop a multi-phase plan for reopening when it becomes safe. Currently the only activities on campus have been staff operations and pre-approved, mission critical tasks that require a very limited number of people being on site. These essential volunteers are following best practices for their, as well as staff’s, safety.
At the October 2020 Board Meeting, two drive through events on campus were approved: a food drive which will be coordinated by Drew Davis and the annual Guest at Your Table collection event sponsored by RE. These events will involve very limited contact and best safety practices will be in place. More information to follow on these events.
The task force plans to meet approximately monthly or more often if needed, and along with the Board, will continue to communicate with you often regarding the plans. In the interim, if you have any questions you may reach out to any of the task force members: Linda Hartley, Rachel Melcher, Steve Pock, or Suzanne Schluter.