Pandemic Response: Updates for In-Person Activities at Emerson
Emerson’s Board of Trustees would like your input regarding vaccination and other requirements for in-person activities.
In the interest of protecting our community and the most vulnerable, we highly recommend full vaccinations and boosters. We have been requiring masking at all church gatherings but are currently reviewing that decision. Please also review our Health and Safety Covenant (see webpage).
Currently, to attend in-person services and other indoor activities, we expect you to bring and wear a well-fitting, high-quality mask (N95, KN95, KF94); and adhere to safety protocols for in-person services. We do remove masks during our after service coffee hour. If you are sick or have been exposed to COVID or other contagious illnesses we expect you to stay home and invite you to participate on zoom from the comfort of your home. Also, please contact the office if you discover you were exposed to COVID (or other highly contagious disease) shortly before or while attending Emerson in-person. Future changes will be based on the status of the virus, scientific findings, and our Unitarian Universalist principles.
When Meeting In-Person: Before you join ANY in-person gathering (small, large, at church or elsewhere), we encourage you to covenant with everyone in your group, ensuring that each person is aware of and comfortable with the safety precaution levels for the gathering. The UUA’s Guidance for Gathering in Covenantal Community (under our Community menu above) may be helpful.
For those who wonder why Emerson’s expectations for meeting in-person are more cautious than those of schools and businesses: Our pandemic response has been based on a combination of recommendations from the Unitarian Universalist Association, the CDC, current local conditions, and respected medical doctors, epidemiologists and other health experts. The UUA stated (https://www.uua.org/leadership/library/masking-guidelines, June 1, 2021): “As congregations, our decisions about masking or un-masking need to be about community. 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 continue to make our decisions by centering the needs of the most vulnerable among us….” UU churches are all abilities communities, and some of us have immune systems that do not mount a strong protective response after vaccination and can suffer severe consequences upon infection. (In October 2021, 41% of Emersonians responding to our survey reported that they had someone in their household for whom COVID-19 will continue to be a risk, regardless of their vaccination status.) We also are part of an interdependent web, and, as such, acknowledge that our risk-taking and our actions affect more than just ourselves. Therefore we want to take utmost care to minimize the possibility of the spread of COVID-19.
Emerson’s Health & Safety Covenant:
I covenant to do my part to keep Emerson UU and our community in good health as I return to Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church of Canoga Park. I understand I have a role in the fight against COVID-19 and commit to responsible actions and to being an accountable member of our church and larger community. I covenant to uphold our values by demonstrating personal integrity, respect for others, and support for Emerson UU Church by:
- Staying home if I have been exposed to COVID or feel any COVID symptoms.
- Getting vaccinated against COVID, if I am eligible.
- Wearing a well-fitting face mask that minimizes leaks.
- Maintaining physical distancing.
- Keeping my hands clean/sanitized (before entering and as needed).
- Alerting the Emerson office if I discover I was exposed to COVID-19 before or during this event.
To learn more about how well different masks protect you from COVID, read this Scientific American Article, “Why We Need to Upgrade Our Face Masks – and Where to Get Them” or see the CDC website, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019
Concerned about unvaccinated loved ones or co-workers? From the UUA, suggestions on how to encourage others to get vaccinated: https://www.uua.org/leadership/library/encouraging-vaccination