Covid-19 Info & Updates
UUS is currently in Phase 3 of our Covid-19 reopening plan. Services are multiplatform, with both in person and virtual participation.
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Covid-19 Info & Updates
UUS Reopening Plan and Phases
UUS has created a Phased Reopening Plan to guide us in safely meeting together during the pandemic. The Reopening Plan balances the need for our congregation to be together with our covenantal concern for all members of our congregation and our responsibility to the larger community, both vaccinated and unvaccinated. The Plan is updated regularly by the UUS COVID Team, with input from staff, and approved by the UUS Board of Trustees. Updates are based on updated numbers of vaccinations in our county, better information about safety precautions, and facility improvements at UUS. Updates to the Plan were last approved by the Board of Trustees on Wednesday, September 15th, 2021.
The Reopening Plan phases correspond generally with the risk levels provided by COVID Act Now for Johnson County. The data on this site is updated weekly on Thursdays, reflecting the state of Iowa’s reporting schedule. The current basics of the plan are:
Phase 1: Severe Risk/Dark Red (over 75 daily new cases per 100,000). The building and grounds are closed and services are online only. Masks required for all.
Phase 2: Very High Risk/Red (50 to 75 daily new cases per 100,000). Scheduled groups may meet outside or inside. Only worship service participants lead from the Sanctuary with gatherings in the Fellowship Hall and RE Commons to watch services. Masks required inside when in a shared space. Masks required outside unless working alone or in a small/medium group that comes to a covenantal agreement.
Phase 3: High Risk/Orange (10 to 50 daily new cases per 100,000). Scheduled groups may meet inside and outside. Services are multiplatform (both in person and Zoom), with the Sanctuary divided into sections based on the Traffic Light Gathering Guide. (Red: Need distance; Yellow: Use caution; give some space, ask; Green: I don’t need space). RE Commons and Fellowship Hall are extra red light seating areas. Masks required inside when in a shared space, and outside for congregation-wide or public gatherings. Masks are not required outside when working alone or in a small/medium group that has come to a covenantal agreement.
Phase 4: Medium Risk/Yellow (1-10 daily new cases per 100,000). Scheduled groups may meet inside and outside. Services are multiplatform (both in person and Zoom), with the Sanctuary divided into sections based on the Traffic Light Gathering Guide. RE Commons and Fellowship Hall are extra red light seating areas. Masks required inside when in a shared space. Masks required inside when in a shared space, and outside for congregation-wide or public gatherings. Masks are not required when working outside alone or in a small/medium group (inside or outside) that has come to a covenantal agreement.
Phase 5: Low Risk-New Normal/Green (less than 1 daily new case per 100,000). The building and grounds are open. Services are multiplatform (both in person and Zoom). Mask guidelines based on current science.
Services are geared for all ages. We are not currently offering Sunday religious education classes.
In Phases 1 and 2, our Sunday services will be virtual over Zoom (in Phase 2 the worship participants will be able to lead the service together from the closed Sanctuary).
Virtual Sunday services are a wonderful way to connect and engage from the comfort of home. Our AV Team has worked hard to provide high quality audio and video, and services are mostly streamed live, with an occasional prerecorded video or musical offering. Our minister, Rev. Diana Smith, and the UUS staff frequently provide creative ways for the congregation to interact including word clouds built live during the service, and socially-distanced in person events and rituals before or afterwards. Small group breakout discussions are available after services, and visitors have the option to join a discussion tailored for newcomers.
Join via Zoom: Link to join, Meeting ID: 422 482 660, Password: 006311. Or dial by your location for phone conferencing. The Zoom meeting will open around 9:50 am. Learn more about using Zoom and find tips for joining us on Sundays.
“I am new to UUS. I attended services two or three times, and then Covid hit. Every Sunday when I Zoom in I find a great deal of internal peace watching and breathing with the virtual services. It feels so good for Rev. Diana to reach out with her empathy of being isolated for so long. I have found the services to be like a safe harbor in a storm, giving me hope for peace, equality, and love. I also love the music!”– Jan Jacobson
In Phases 3 through 5, our Sunday services will be multiplatform, with both in-person and virtual attendance through Zoom. We are excited to be back together again, while being mindful of our covenantal concern for all members of our congregation, and our responsibility to the larger community, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, including children under the age of 12 and their families.
All are welcome to join us in person when the phases allow. Please stay home and care for yourself if you’re not feeling well or have been exposed to someone with COVID. Everyone over the age of 2 must wear a face mask that covers your nose and mouth. Our HVAC system has been programmed to help us begin our services with fresh air and ensure good air circulation during services, and we have hand sanitizer stations throughout the building at UUS.
In-person participants should arrive at UUS between 9:40 – 9:58 am so you can be seated before the service starts. We will have materials for children and youth available for use during services.
We are using a traffic light gathering system to let people communicate the distance they need to safely join services in person:
- Red – need distance
- Yellow – use caution, need some space, ask
- Green – don’t need space
The Sanctuary will be divided into three sections matching the traffic light system. The RE Commons and Fellowship Hall will also be red seating areas but with more room for people who want to move around during services. There will be stickers for you to use to display your preferred designation when not seated.
We will have fellowship time after the service. When refreshments are available, they will be limited to outdoors on the back patio.
Group meetings and events
UUS groups may meet in person or virtually, depending on group preference and the current phase. Check our calendar for information on upcoming meetings and events. When the phase allows for groups to meet in person or unmasked, all members must be in agreement and group leaders should ensure a practice of inclusion, covenant, consent, and care for each other when deciding how to meet.
If groups are having challenges with their conversations, we encourage them to reach out to the Right Relations Committee (firstname.lastname@example.org) for support with navigating UUS’s covenant of right relations. Here are some resources on consent from the UUA: Mask & Covenantal Consent and Touch Consent and Masking Comics.
- Make a one-time or recurring online pledge payment
- Make an offering donation to our current Community Partner
- Make a payment or donation for a different UUS fund
- UUS COVID Update (UUS News Email, 8/20/2021)
- UUS COVID Team Update (UUS News Email, 7/26/2021)
- UUS Enters Phase 3 (UUS News Email, 5/20/2021)
- COVID Team Update to the Board and Congregation (Powerpoint saved as PDF, 3/22/2021)
- UUS Enters Phase 2 of Updated Reopening Plan (UUS News Email, 3/18/2021)
- UUS Back to Phase 1 (UUS News Email, 11/02/2020)
- UUS Entering Phase 2 (UUS News Email, 10/02/2020)
- UUS COVID Response & Phase1 Guidelines (UUS News Email, 8/27/2020)
- Instructional Message from UUS Staff (UUS News Email, 3/13/20)
- Messages from Interim Minister Rev. Diane Dowgiert and the Board of Trustees (Weekly Update Email, 3/12/20)
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