UUCE leadership gathered on August 20th to review our reopening plans. Discussion began with a review of the troubling virus trends locally as well as new UUA guidance on gathering that coincidentally became available that day. After much discussion and review of all the information available to us, the group sadly but unanimously voted to delay our reopening for in-person services due to multiple COVID concerns. These concerns include:
- The trend of local infection rates and guidance from the UUA which advises to not meet if the overall COVID Risk Level is Very High per the COVID Act Now website. Specific data that was instrumental in this decision includes:
- The overall COVID Risk Level (CRL) in Kane Co. is High and trending strongly to Very High.
- The overall CRL in Illinois is already Very High.
- The Daily New Cases component of the CRL is strongly trending toward the Critical (Very High) level which will move the overall CRL to Very High.
- The trend of new cases for school-aged children of all three age groups tracked by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) are trending strongly upward.
- Children under the age of 12 cannot be vaccinated.
- People who are fully vaccinated can still contract and spread the virus.
- This action is in line with many businesses that have moved the reopening of their offices out to November or later.
Metrics We Will Monitor
When trends do improve, the group decided that a new reopening date will be set based on three metrics. These metrics will be reviewed by a small group weekly so that quick action can be taken when the metrics become acceptable:
- Kane County overall Risk Level as defined by the Act Now Coalition website date, the website the UUA recommends using in their guidance – overall Risk Level no more than High.
- The 7-Day rolling average of Positive Testing for Kane County should be below 5% and trending downward for two weeks.
- New cases of Kane County’s school-aged population as provided by the Illinois Department of Public Health should show a two-week downward trend.
The leadership will meet again on September 7, and review whether small groups of 10 or less will continue to meet.
Outdoor Event Planned!
To lift our spirits despite this disappointing news, we are planning an outdoor event as a test case with the hope of having additional gatherings more regularly. The Executive Team (ET) will work with the Worship Team to plan an on-site, in-person, outdoor event on the original reopening date of September 12th. We invite those in the congregation who are interested to bring chairs and watch the Zoom service outdoors with masks and social distancing. This will be held during the regular Zoom service time. If you’ve been eager to meet in person, we hope you will take advantage of this opportunity. More details will follow nearer to the event.
Meet Our New RE Coordinator
If you’ve been watching your emails or were present at our last Zoom service, you’ll have seen the exciting news that we have a new Religious Education (RE) program starting up soon! At the outdoor event, Marjorie Askins, our new RE Coordinator, will be present and hopes that families will come introduce themselves and hear more about her plans for RE.
Helpful Links from the UUA
Please take a minute to read the thoughtful words released by the UUA last week. They contain good information and recommendations as well as words of hope, encouragement, and support.
Thank you for your continued patience and understanding during these difficult times. The Board and ET will continue to monitor the data as mentioned earlier and we will continue to provide updates.
The Committee on Ministry (COM) decided to reopen the library to in-person visitation. We hope this will promote engagement of the UUCE community and provide a way for members to visit the church in a safe manner for the first time in many months. If you would like to visit the library and don’t have a key to the church, please contact the church office to arrange for a visit, email Mila at Administrator@uuce.org or call 847-888-0668.
- 10 people or fewer per group.
- One group per day. At least 24 hours between each group meeting. Please schedule with Mila Brinker, Church Administrator.
- Groups will be expected to sanitize Fellowship Hall and bathrooms after themselves, disinfectant spray will be furnished by the church. This includes tables, chairs, and all surfaces touched. Windows must be closed after use.
- Groups will be restricted to Fellowship Hall (first floor room adjacent to kitchen).
- Tables and chairs have been pre-set. Please do not rearrange chairs or tables.
- A window on the north and south side of the room is to be opened to facilitate ventilation/air flow.
- Approved church groups, team, and committee work only.
- There will be no childcare offered.
- No food or drink served during meetings. Own personal drinks may be brought in with attendee.
- Masks must always be worn inside the building. Social distance rules must be followed.
Building Use Procedures
- Everyone entering the building must sign in at the table outside the offices.
- Everyone entering the church must wear a mask covering their mouth and nose in public spaces, e.g. vestibule, hallways, restrooms, kitchen, meeting rooms, sanctuary.
- If a member/staff is working alone, they may elect to remove their mask. If so, they should be working in a room with a door that closes. If someone enters the room, they are to don a mask.
- Anyone entering a room with a closed door should knock to announce themselves, and then wait until the room’s occupant gives the “all clear” (i.e. tells them that they have donned a mask) before entering.
- It is suggested that staff and volunteers work alone if possible or limit time working together.
The Executive Team and Board of Trustees