ERUUF COVID-19 Updates
- Published: Mar 11, 2021 Mar 11, 2021
ERUUF’s policies are informed by safety guidance from the CDC, NC Department of Public Health, and the UUA. Our Sunday services, classes and most groups are online only at this time. It is possible for small groups to reserve outdoor meeting space on campus. See guidelines here.
We understand how challenging covid isolation is, and that the stress of the pandemic is taking a toll on each of us. We are very eager to welcome people back to campus just as soon as it’s safely possible. Despite recent easing of restrictions, we continue to proceed carefully.
At this date, 10% of all North Carolinians are fully vaccinated. Vaccinations are rolling out smoothly though not equitably. The state has opened vaccinations for Groups 1 (acute and emergency personnel, and care facility residents), Group 2 (people over 65), and Group 3 (part 1: teachers, part 2: all other essential workers, which includes clergy but not church employees). Vaccinations open to Group 4 on March 24 (possibly sooner if vaccines are available). Group 4 includes anyone age 16-64 with an underlying medical condition. Group 5 will be eligible after this and includes everyone age 16-64 who’s not been vaccinated. You can find your group here.
To schedule an appointment, fill out a form on the website of any North Carolina County Health Department, or a hospital or pharmacy website. You can register with multiple sites. There now are a few more clinics set up in minority neighborhoods; appointments there are more accessible by phone. There are also mass vaccination sites operating in Greensboro and Raleigh. After you get onto a waiting list you will be contacted to schedule a vaccine appointment.
Covid-19 vaccines are not approved at this time for children under the age of 16. Also, some people with particular health conditions are not able to receive the vaccine. To protect all these people, individuals who are vaccinated are asked to continue to wear a mask to protect others who are vulnerable, and until more is known about how the disease is transmitted (or not) by vaccinated people.
New this week, the CDC has said that it’s safe for those who are vaccinated to gather in private homes with small groups of other vaccinated people, or with family members who are not vaccinated (and don’t have underlying health conditions). Though many experts disagree, restaurants, bars, schools, gyms, sporting events, and other businesses are now open at greater capacity. So what about congregations?
Specific Guidelines for Congregations
As odd as it might seem, it’s important to keep in mind that it might not actually be safe to do all the things officials have made it possible to do. Also, congregations might need to observe tighter restrictions for a while, because the things we do together carry unique risks: we normally sit and stand close together; we face each other when we speak; we hug and share food together; and most significantly, we sing together. We are not like elementary schools that have some control over where students go, when, and how. And we don’t want to create a super spreader event by innocently doing something as good as attending a Sunday service. Until more is known about how the virus is transmitted by regular activities at ERUUF, the normal things we do likely will need to be phased back into our community life, even when we’re otherwise able to be together in person.
We will resume live streaming services from the Sanctuary in mid-March. In order to protect our staff who are still waiting to be vaccinated (and don’t have a choice about where they work) only very small worship and tech teams will be present in the Sanctuary until all are vaccinated and new safety systems are established.
It’s important to keep in mind that children under the age of 16 will not have been vaccinated, and some adults will not be able to be vaccinated. So, we’ll be in conversation with parents and teachers as we make plans for our children and youth.
We are highly committed to inclusion and have asked our program leaders to begin to consider ways they can make their groups and classes accessible to all who wish to attend, whether virtually or in person, and we’ll make plans together and share those plans as they’re developed.
We will continue to live stream Sunday services from this point forward. We’re grateful to the Eno River Fellowship Foundation for significant financial support that enables us to do this.