The vestry, following a congregational survey and interviews with those who identified themselves as more cautious and willing to be interviewed, updated our COVID policy. The new policy is summarized in the graphic below and was effective April 30. We are currently in the green level, which means that masks are recommended but not required. Below the graphic, you will find a few more detailed notes.
Click here for details about air quality improvements that have been made in our facility since 2020.
A few more detailed notes:
- The case rates in our community are actually quite near our previous threshold for not requiring masks. I also do want to remind folks (and let newer folks know) that almost all areas of our building, including the sanctuary, have upgraded ventilation systems that were installed with COVID in mind in 2020/2021.
- There will continue to be mask-only spaces available on Sundays and major events. For the next several weeks, there will be 3 mask-only spaces available during Sunday worship: the alcove near the Zoom screen, on the far left side of the sanctuary as you look at the altar, and in the Adult Lounge. The adult lounge will have a portable filter and everyone who enters that room throughout the morning is asked to wear a mask. After a few weeks, we will re-evaluate who is using those spaces to determine which ones to continue marking off. If you prefer communion to be brought to you for any reason, please indicate that to an usher.
- Coffee hour will be outdoors whenever possible; the adult lounge will not be used for coffee hour.
- Thursday nights and other fellowship spaces also will not have masks required, but we will meet outdoors whenever possible, and continue to do all we can to increase ventilation in indoor spaces. Small groups, of course, can always choose together to wear masks.
On a personal note, I have been moved by the vestry’s willingness to wrestle deeply with this issue, and the care everyone (perhaps especially those with the most at stake) to empathize with and communicate with those who differ in their views. This won’t be the last difficult decision that we have to make of this nature, I am sure, but it does give me confidence in our ability as a community to navigate complex circumstances with care for one another and our world. Also, this conversation and our circumstances will continue to evolve, and so please continue to feel free to bring concerns or questions to me or to the vestry.
I do also want to add that COVID does continue to be a risk, particularly for the elderly. I’ve spent the last 3 years working hard to keep my congregations safe, because I care about you, and that doesn’t stop now! I will continue wearing a mask for much of the service, both because I choose to for my own safety and because I want to display that masks are welcome and are a sign of care for each other in this community. I also invite you to consider ways in which you can be in solidarity with disabled and other particularly vulnerable folks by wearing a mask or other means, here and in other places in your life, even if wearing a mask does not feel strictly necessary for you. Offer to put a mask on if you’re talking with someone who is wearing one. Check in with folks who are particularly vulnerable and make sure they are feeling included and heard. Continue to advocate for policies that ultimately protect all of us, like improved ventilation. Remember how it felt when we all pulled together and worked to protect each other when this crisis hit; even in this new phase, that same kind of effort and intention still creates a better world.
Questions and Answers
Q: How is St. Clare’s current level of concern regarding Covid determined?
A: St. Clare’s is using the CDC’s Community Level measurement. The Community Level measure combines information on the number of new COVID cases with information on COVID-related hospital admissions and how many beds COVID patients are using.
Q: What does “food only in managed areas” mean?
A: Food will be served in areas with high-quality ventilation and where people can spread out while eating. Additionally, everyone should remind one another to keep their masks on except while actively eating and drinking. Remember, too, there will always be a masks-only area.