Lens of the Future: October 6, 2021

From the Board President
NEW POLICIES FOR INDOOR GATHERINGS COMING OCTOBER 15

At a special meeting on Sept. 30, the board of trustees adopted new policies relating to in-person gatherings sponsored by the church held indoors and all events held in the church building, to become EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 15, 2021. These policies acknowledge that meeting the needs of all members of the congregation will only be achieved through a combination of adequately precautioned in-person and indoor gatherings and continued availability of virtual electronic programming for those needing to participate from remote locations. So, multiplatform delivery of services and other programs is how we will move forward.

The document which contains the policies to be effective soon can be viewed here: (Policy approved 2021-09-30 edited 10-05), and I encourage everyone to read the full document, including the introduction, to understand the complete list of new policies, and equally important, the rationale for taking these actions. The policies include, but are not limited to, expectations of in-person participants at indoor events that:

  • if eligible and not subject to an exemption, they have been fully vaccinated
  • masking will be required for all participants
  • personal physical distancing preferences will be addressed
  • personal contact information will be gathered should it be needed for subsequent health notifications
  • singing and limited food and beverage service will be allowed with proper safeguards followed.

It is important to re-emphasize that these policies will become effective October 15, and until then the current and in some cases more restrictive procedures remain in place as staff and members prepare for the transition to come. The current policy can be viewed here: Current Policy thru 2021-10-15. The first service and first forum to be conducted in-person with remote connections also enabled and conducted under the new policies will be Sunday, Oct. 17.

The Board and Lens committee will continue to monitor health data, best practices recommendations from public health and UUA sources, and refine policies and procedures in the coming weeks. The current data from the CovidActNow web site includes historical graphs of several of the metrics that go into the determination of the risk level. Both Des Moines and Polk County continue to be classified in the Very High Risk or Red category.

It is a reasonable expectation that there will be continued refinements and modifications as time moves forward. In the meantime, these changes will put UCDSM at the forefront of UUA member congregations moving in this direction. We encourage everyone to be cautious in behavior to minimize health risks to self or others, be patient with staff and members as they begin providing programs in new ways, and be positive as to our direction to move ahead to better serve the needs of all as we implement these changes.