Covid-19 Info & Updates

UUS is currently in Phase 4 of our Covid-19 reopening plan. Sunday services are being streamed via Zoom at 10 a.m.

Normal operations at the UUS building are closed. Outdoor gatherings and indoor meetings may be scheduled with the office, and the public is welcome to use our labyrinth and trails, with masks and social distancing required. Read more »


Our primary concern is keeping everyone who attends UUS safe. The Board of Trustees has voted to have the minister and staff operationalize the rules for how each phase is put into practice, and provided them with recommendations on these practices. The minister has created a COVID Team to do this work, made of staff and members of the congregation with expertise or familiarity on how to operate during a pandemic. Decisions made by the Team and approved by the Board will be communicated to the congregation through all regular channels and posted to this page. The unpredictability of the COVID pandemic means UUS may have to reverse which phase we are in as the positivity rates go up and down.

The COVID Team Promise

We will do all we can to not put people’s lives at risk when coming to worship or other UUS events. Church is not worth dying for. Our mission to nurture spirits and help heal the world continues through connecting in a variety of online activities and programs.

We are committed to full inclusion. We will assure there is a way for everyone to be included in worship services when we begin in person services again. We will only go forward with in-person services when people who cannot attend in person can continue to participate online. While not everyone will be able to be included in group gatherings, we look to offer a variety of different ways for members/friends to engage with UUS so there is something for everyone. We seek to protect the health of all who use the building: staff, elders, adults, youth, children, renters and contractors.

We will use only vetted up-to-date medical and public health information from reliable sources to make decisions. We will obey the laws and guidelines set by the State of Iowa and guidelines given by the CDC. We may hold ourselves to an even more stringent standard. We will be transparent with the congregation and consider their input. We will apply all recommendations consistently, not making exceptions for individual desires, renters, status at UUS, or financial impact.

Monitoring COVID Rates

The COVID Team will monitor county data on a weekly basis. Monthly meeting minutes will be submitted to the board in advance of board meting. Metrics must be met for one month before reopening suggested. Specific recommendations for reopening will be made to the Board based on scientific approaches at the time. Recommendations for changing the phases for reopening or guidelines will be made as science and data change. The Board has the ultimate decision-making authority for the safety of all attending UUS.

Reopening phases

The following are highlights of our phase reopening plan. A more detailed chart is also available (last updated 5/20/21).

For all phases, people at risk (including those over 60 years) are encouraged to stay home. Sick or exposed people should stay home. Anyone who tests positive for COVID after visiting UUS MUST inform a member of the staff.

While UUS supports everyone getting a vaccine who can do so, we will not require everyone to receive the vaccine when we are able to gather again, understanding that many people, including most children and youth, are not able to be vaccinated at this time, and that people who cannot be vaccinated may not be comfortable sharing that information.

Phase One

The building is closed and all services and meetings are held virtually. Employees may work from home or at the UUS building following COVID-19 health guidelines. Members must have an exception to use the church building for specific, limited essential purposes, and must sign in and out of the building, wear a mask, social distance, sanitize all surfaces touched, and practice good hand-hygiene. The front vestibule is open for supply pickup & drop off. The public is welcome to use our labyrinth and trails, with masks and social distancing required.

Phase Two

Small group outdoor meetings of ten persons or less (from up to seven households) are allowed on UUS grounds but must be scheduled in advance. Groups must take attendance, and everyone over two years old must wear masks when with those outside their “bubbles” (masks are required for everyone inside the building), maintain social distancing of six feet between “bubbles”, and practice good hand-hygiene and disinfecting of surfaces. Singing and wind instruments are prohibited, as is shared food. The building remains closed, with the same requirements for staff and necessary volunteers. The vestibule will continue to act as a pick-up and drop-off location, and bathrooms accessible for scheduled groups. The public is welcome to use our labyrinth and trails, with masks and social distancing required.

Phase Three

Scheduled outdoor group meetings of all sizes are allowed (so long as all safety guidelines can be met). Small group indoor meetings of 15 people or less can be scheduled in advance for up to an hour at a time. Children and youth must have a parent or caregiver present when meeting indoors, and when meeting outdoors unless program planning allows otherwise. Individuals or pods may schedule time for personal reflection in the Sanctuary by appointment. The building will be open for limited hours for these meetings, but staff will not be available in-person. All other group requirements from Phase Two apply.

Phase Four

Scheduled indoor group meetings are expanded to up to 50 people. The drink station in the Fellowship Hall may be used for coffee, ice, and other beverages. The building will be open for limited hours, and staff may choose what in-person contact to offer. Planning is in process for outdoor and indoor services in the fall, as well as for indoor children/youth religious education. All other group requirements from Phase Three apply.

Phase Five

“The New Normal,” with the building and grounds open for meetings and worship for all ages. Guidelines will be established based on current science to maintain the safety of the staff and congregation.

Things to Consider Before Scheduling an In Person Group Meeting at Any Phase to Promote Inclusion:

  • Is there anyone in your group that will not be able to hear if all are wearing masks?
  • Are there parents in your group who are not able to leave young children while they come to the UUS for a group meeting?
  • Are there people in your group who may not be able to be vaccinated?
  • Are there people in your group who may not be feel comfortable but who will not express this?
  • How do you include people who may not want to share their difficulties with health or other issues that may stop them from meeting in person?
  • Is there anyone in your group who cannot attend and how will you include that person? Is it better to continue to meet via Zoom until your group can all meet in person?