Current UUFE building use & COVID-19 guidelines

On Wednesday, May 12, 2021, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Elkhart’s board of trustees approved updated guidelines, including benchmarks and standards for reopening plans in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidelines were created by a special task force appointed by the board to consider health and safety protocols connected to COVID-19 and to make recommendations that will protect congregants, staff and visitors.


UUFE COVID-19 Reopening Guidelines – May 6, 2021

We continue to be in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic. As we all know, our UUFE Campus has been closed since March 2020 due to the spread of this virus. With few exceptions, the only folks who have visited are the essential people who have needed to do the business of the church. We realize the desire by all to get back to “normal.” However, we must do so in a responsible, safe way to keep our congregation and friends of UUFE healthy and safe. Our congregation is in the high-risk age and health category who have been asked to remain careful and often away from groups. We must keep in mind not only safety but also promoting a cohesive and equitable community so that all feel safe, heard and a part of the group. The Board of Trustees of UUFE with the aid of the COVID-19 Task Force has been developing a plan for current use and eventual, yet gradual re-opening of our church and Learning Center. We are aware there are many, often conflicting, ideas about the need for physical distancing, wearing masks, etc. but we are using scientific recommendations. Our safety guidelines are based on those of the World Health Organization, the enter for Disease Control, the State of Indiana, the Elkhart County Health Department, and recommendations from Church Mutual, our UUFE insurance company. We also recognize that guidelines are continuously evolving as are the data of infection, testing, tracking and vaccination rates of this virus which drives the guidelines and our reopening plan.

In May 2020, the Board of Trustees of UUFE voted to follow recommendations from the UUA and suspend in-person, indoor worship services until May 2021. These guidelines are to establish when and how the buildings and grounds can again be open for use. The stages defined below are based on the research of the UUFE COVID-19 Task Force, who found that a positivity percentage of 10% or lower for 14 days would allow for lessening restrictions. The Task Force noted that both the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control have designated a positivity rate of 5% or less as the goal for all nations. April 29, the task force revised their recommendations to reflect the state color code system. Thanks to the foresight of the UUFE Board of Trustees in March 2020, no one has been infected with COVID-19 as the result of attending meetings or services at UUFE. This has been a remarkable accomplishment, given how closely COVID-19 has struck UUFE families. These guidelines are designed to continue that record, while providing the means to resume normal operations in the future.

These guidelines toward reopening of UUFE proceed through four stages, based on the state of Indiana’s advisory levels. The stages are:

Stage 0: INDIANA ADVISORY LEVEL RED
Stage 1: INDIANA ADVISORY LEVEL ORANGE
Stage 2: INDIANA ADVISORY LEVEL YELLOW
Stage 3: INDIANA ADVISORY LEVEL BLUE

GUIDELINES FOR USING UUFE GROUNDS AND BUILDINGS

General throughout ALL stages:

  1. Do NOT attend functions and/or activities at UUFE or visit UUFE if you are feeling
    ill.
  2. Upon entry and often during visit, thoroughly wash hands (for at least 20 seconds
    with soap and warm water) or use hand sanitizer.
  3. People over age 60 with health issues who also have not been vaccinated for
    COVID-19 (if and when vaccines are generally available) are strongly urged to
    participate only in online/virtual meetings and services.

Stage 0 (RED)

  1. Meetings and services should be online/virtual as much as possible
  2. Only people performing essential tasks should be in UUFE buildings and on UUFE
    grounds.
  3. Small, by-invitation-only gatherings under the office of ministry that follow social
    distancing and CDC guidelines and approval by the minister may take place.

In Person MEETING/GATHERINGS – Meetings should be scheduled with Dwight Fish
or his designee.

CONTACT TRACING PROCESS

  1. Each meeting/gathering at UUFE shall have a designated person in charge
    (report this to COVID Task Force chair or designee)
  2. That person is responsible for collecting on the provided form the name, address,
    phone number and email address of every person attending the
    meeting/gathering. (A form will be provided for collecting the contact tracing
    information.)
  3. The meeting’s attendance information shall be reported to the COVID Task Force
    chair or designee.
  4. Attendance information shall be stored in a binder in the UUFE Office.

MEETING/GATHERING PROCESS

The designated responsible person of each meeting/gathering is responsible for
enforcing required procedures (masks; social distancing; cleaning/sanitizing). 2.
Unless in Stage 3 (Blue), only the maximum number of chairs will be placed in the
rooms. DO NOT add more chairs and DO NOT PUT AWAY any of the chairs. This
will help designated responsible person quickly determine when meeting/gathering
is at capacity.

Stage 1 (INDIANA ADVISORY LEVEL ORANGE)

  1. Groups of 10 or less may be allowed indoors.
  2. Groups of 50 or less may be allowed outdoors.
  3. Only one group may meet on UUFE grounds per day.
  4. A list of the names and contact information of attendees, date of the gathering,
    duration of the gathering, and chairperson’s name is to be maintained in a common
    three ring binder for the purpose of contact tracing.
  5. Everyone over the age of two must wear a face mask which covers both mouth and
    nose.
  6. There must be 6 feet of distance between unrelated household units and/or
    unrelated individuals
  7. Only one person or household unit in a bathroom at a time.
  8. No coffee or food will be allowed. The kitchens will be closed and their appliances
    and utensils may not be used.
  9. No singing indoors, no use of hymnals, no passing of collection plates.
  10. No childcare.
  11. Drinking fountains may not be used.
  12. Surfaces and furniture used by the group must be sanitized when done with sprays
    and/or wipes as provided on site.

Stage 2 (INDIANA ADVISORY LEVEL YELLOW)

  1. Only one group may meet on UUFE grounds at a time. Group capacity cannot exceed 50 inside, allowing for social distancing and taking into consideration family pods.
  2. A list of the names and contact information of attendees, date of the gathering, duration of the gathering, and chairperson’s name is to be maintained in a common three ring binder for the purpose of contact tracing.
  3. Everyone over the age of two must wear a face mask which covers both mouth and nose.
  4. There must be 6 feet of distance between unrelated household units and/or unrelated individuals.
  5. Only one person or household unit in a bathroom at a time.
  6. No coffee or food is allowed indoors. The kitchens will be closed and their appliances and utensils may not be used.
  7. Groups meeting outdoors may bring food and/or beverages to their meetings. However, there must not be any sharing of dishes or utensils. Also, groups are encouraged to take their trash home, but they may also use the outdoor trash receptacle beside the learning center.
  8. No indoor singing, no use of hymnals, no passing of collection plates.
  9. No childcare.
  10. Drinking fountains may not be used.
  11. Surfaces and furniture used by the group must be sanitized when done with sprays and/or wipes as provided on site. Cloth surfaces will be sprayed and let dry. Metal and plastic surfaces will be wiped with a sanitizing wipe or sprayed with spray. This includes approved use of UUFE furniture off campus. Whoever is in charge of meetings will be responsible to sanitize surfaces.

Stage 3 (BLUE)

All restrictions on usage are lifted, though the general guidelines should still be followed
as listed on page 4.

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