Multiplatform Sunday services (meaning both in-person and online)

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March 29, 2022 Update

News from the Albany UU COVID Response Team

Greetings. The Albany UU COVID Response Team has continued to meet regularly to review current data for Albany and Rensselaer Counties and consider changes in our COVID-prevention practices. The COVID Response Team includes board, staff and congregation members (Mary Applegate, Elizabeth Baldes, Tammy Goddard, Patti Jo Newell, and Sam Trumbore). While there has been a recent uptick in infection rates, vaccination rates have continued to rise and hospitalization rates have remained low. We have determined to make the following modest changes:

  • Building users no longer need to sign in upon entry.
  • Beginning at the April 10th Sunday service, the seating will be rearranged to include more seats with less distance between rows and the balcony will be open. However, one section will continue to feature the socially distanced “pods” for those who would be more comfortable using them.
  • The Albany UU choir may begin rehearsing in the building.
  • We are taking steps to reopen the nursery/toddler room and will let the congregation know when it is available
  • Finger foods can be provided for receptions in conjunction with special events, such a memorials and weddings. Masks will still be required for the service portion of these events.
  • May 1st is our target date for beginning Sunday Coffee Hour outside at “the point” in the front of the building. This time frame will allow us to determine the scale and logistics of this change and for volunteers to sign up to be a Coffee Hour host. And, of course, to have a better chance at seasonable weather.

Additionally, we have made the following determinations:

  • Masks will still be required for Sunday services and Religious Education, at least through May 22nd. May 22nd is the last day of RE, and we decided it would be best not to disrupt the long awaited resumption of the program in-person with a change in masking policy. The Response Team will revisit the issue at that time.
  • No food will be provided at the upcoming Getting to Know UU.

The Albany UU COVID Response Team will continue to monitor trends and meet regularly to consider our COVID-prevention practices.

 
 
March 1, 2022 Update
Masks are still required and distanced seating available.
These protocols will remain in place on Sundays in March 2022. Find additional details here.
 
The Albany UU Covid Response Team will reconvene on March 29 to reassess and make any updates to protocols based on science and guidance.
Thank you for your patience.
 
January 25, 2022 Update
RETURN TO MULTIPLATFORM CHURCH ON FEBRUARY 27, 2022
 
The Albany UU COVID Response Team (Mary Applegate, Elizabeth Baldes, Tammy Goddard Hathaway, Patti Jo Newell, and Rev. Sam Trumbore) determined that the option to attend Sunday morning services in-person, and in-person Religious Education groups, will resume on 2/27/22. The option to attend service on Zoom will remain.
 
The health and safety of the church community continues to be our top priority, and we thank everyone for their understanding and flexibility as we continue to monitor and navigate this complicated situation.
 
What does multiplatform mean? It means you have choices. We will provide distanced “pod” seating for a limited number of people in Community Hall. If we reach capacity in Community Hall, we have the technology and capability to seat people distanced in the Sanctuary and Channing Hall. Other guidelines will remain in place:
 

Face masks covering nose and mouth are still required to be worn at all times. To protect our youngest children ineligible for vaccination, eligible children, youth and adults are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated to attend.

People should not attend services or other AUU gatherings in person if they

  • have been exposed to someone with COVID in the past 10 days
  • or are experiencing COVID-like symptoms (e.g. cough, fever, loss of taste or smell)
  • or have tested positive for COVID

Your Order of Service continues to be available using the QR code. This code will be available at the church on Sunday mornings for those in-person. There will be a limited supply of a simple OOS available in print for those who request one.

In-person congregational singing is restricted even when wearing masks. This restriction also includes the Albany UU choir. Hymnals are available in the lobby outside Community Hall for you to follow along with the words sung by the song leader. Words will be projected in Community Hall and on your Zoom screen for those attending remotely.

Those who attend online via Zoom will still have the ability to interact during the service by sharing Joys and Sorrows, greeting in breakout rooms, etc.

Mindfulness Meditation will continue to be VIRTUAL ONLY beginning at 8:30 AM.

There will be no food or beverage after the service.

Use the service link to join remotely:
 
To dial in by phone: 1-929-436-2866
Meeting ID: 299 018 7785
Password: 0000
 
 
January 1, 2022 Update
RETURN TO VIRTUAL CHURCH
 
As the COVID Omicron variant continues to spread rapidly across the globe, with alarming increases in statewide rates in New York, in an effort to keep everyone healthy and safe and to avoid creating a super-spreader event, Albany UU has  returned to 100% virtual services. We expect this to continue through at least the month of January 2022. 
 
The Albany UU Covid Response Team will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as needed.
 
 
Mary Applegate
Elizabeth Baldes
Tammy Goddard Hathaway
Patti Jo Newell
Rev. Sam Trumbore
 
Use the service link to join:
 
To dial in by phone: 1-929-436-2866
Meeting ID: 299 018 7785
Password: 0000
 
December 16, 2021 Update
Throughout the COVID pandemic, Albany UU has been working diligently to protect the health of all members of our church community. A COVID Response Team representing staff, board, and congregation members (Sam Trumbore, Patti Jo Newell, Tammy Hathaway, Elizabeth Baldes, and Mary Applegate) meets regularly to review current data for Albany and Rensselaer Counties and to consider changes in our COVID-prevention practices.
 
In the weeks since Thanksgiving, COVID rates have risen significantly in the Capital Region, in NYS, and nationwide.  The Team is monitoring infection statistics daily and having group discussions frequently.
 
As you know, since September, Sunday morning Services and other gatherings have been conducted in a multi-platform mode, with a limited number of congregants attending services in person while most participate virtually, via Zoom or Facebook.  In light of the current COVID data, the Response Team agreed at its last meeting (12/10/21) to continue multi-platform services for the time being, but reduce the number of in-person participants. Until now, the limit has been 100 individuals, divided among various parts of the building.  The new limit will be 50, effective at the service on Sunday, December 19.  
 
We regret having to reduce the numbers, but hope that this change will not have a significant impact. The total in-person attendance has been quite low ever since in-person services resumed. 
 
Other COVID prevention rules will continue:
 
-People should not attend services or other AUU gatherings in person if they
  • have been exposed to someone with COVID in the past 10 days
  • or are experiencing COVID-like symptoms (e.g. cough, fever, loss of taste or smell)
  • or have tested positive for COVID
-Masks must be worn at all times, covering both nose and mouth
-Everyone must maintain a 6’ distance from others, except for those who live together or are in a “COVID bubble” together.
 
To protect our youngest children and other vulnerable members of our congregation, all eligible children, youth and adults are strongly encouraged to be fully vaccinated to attend.
 
Elizabeth Baldes will be in touch with RE families with further information about how this new guidance affects the RE program.
 
November 24, 2021 Update
Until recently, COVID infection rates have hovered around 30 per 100,000 people in Albany and Rensselaer Counties, where almost all of our members live. Now there is an uptick in rates.  Several Albany UU folks have gotten infected, including reports of breakthrough infections, most of which have been mild. Many of us have gotten vaccinations, including boosters.  All adults 18 and over  are eligible for a booster.  And children ages 5-11 now qualify for the vaccine, too.
 
Our COVID Response Team (Mary Applegate, Elizabeth Baldes, Tammy Goddard Hathaway, Patti Jo Newell and Sam Trumbore) has met in response to these changing conditions.  Public health data indicate the risk of serious illness from COVID for vaccinated people is still quite low. We’ve determined that the building can remain open, and we will continue to use multi-platform technology for people who prefer to interact remotely.  At church, we will continue to use our current COVID protocols. The Religious Education program will continue to operate with the precautions that have been in place since the church year began this fall.  
 
We know that some in our congregation will continue to participate via  Zoom while others will feel comfortable attending in person.  We are committed to continuing our multi-platform presentation of our services for the foreseeable future. As we adjust to this new reality, let us be grateful for vaccines that protect our health and permit us to gather together in this new way.  The wide use of vaccination in our congregation is what gives us a high degree of confidence in keeping our building open and continuing to offer rentals. It was also a significant factor in the Board’s decision to not require proof of vaccination.
 
Here at Albany UU, we want you and your family to have a happy, healthy holiday season. We are fortunate to have communicative and cautious congregants, families, visitors, and staff in the Albany UU community and we are so grateful for everyone’s cooperation during this difficult time. For your own well-being as well as others’, please be aware of the increased potential for exposure as you move through this often-busy time of year.
 
Our COVID Response Team will continue to monitor the COVID situation in our area. If there are significant changes in variants and COVID rates, we will notify the congregation about any changes in our protocols.  Please  in our area, stay tuned for updates. The health and safety of you, your families, and our church community are is our top priority and will continue to be so.
 
Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!
 
 

Resources from the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations:

UUA updated guidance for gathering when threat subsides: https://www.uua.org/safe/pandemics/gathering-guidance

 

Resources from the Center for Disease Control:

 

image of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)