COVID Response Page
Worried about virus exposure? Masking provides effective protection to the wearer and masking is always welcomed at church. (It is not required.) Complimentary surgical masks are available. For the highest protection, bring your own N95 or KN95 mask. Another option is to join in worship via YouTube. The church's COVID Task Force encourages everyone to keep up with vaccines and boosters. (Need a ride? Email email@example.com.)
COVID Safety Update
At this late moment of the pandemic, and a time of lowest local COVID rates (as per wastewater sampling, a reliable metric), our COVID Safety Task Force is moving church safety protocols further in the direction of assess-your-own-risk as you decide what precautions to take. Specifically, we are no longer requiring those who want to participate in singing (choir or congregation) to wear a mask while singing. People with a higher risk level may still choose to mask, which provides good protection to the wearer -- and that is encouraged and supported. Others may prefer not to mask, which is also okay. The church continues to provide complimentary surgical masks at sanctuary entrances. Those who are concerned about exposure may prefer to bring their own N95 or KN95 mask, sit further back on choir Sundays, or attend online. Please note, this guideline could revert back to a mask requirement for singing in the future, based on local conditions. The task force also encourages members to keep up with boosters, flu shots and so forth during the colder months when respiratory illness tends to rise. If you are feeling unwell, please use a mask as a courtesy to others, or attend worship online from home.
COVID Safety Update
COVID cases are rising in our local area -- including, anecdotally, in our congregation. Your COVID Safety Task Force now strongly encourages masking when in-person for service. That's an upgrade from encouraging to STRONGLY encouraging that you wear a good-quality mask. If you have any symptoms or think you may have been exposed, please stay home; you can attend online. If you learn that you have developed COVID after attending service in person, it is a courtesy to inform those who were around you. (The same still goes for small group gatherings, too.)
The task force echoes public health recommendations to receive all vaccines/boosters for which you are eligible. If you need help figuring out where you can get it done, reach out to the task force at firstname.lastname@example.org. Rides or other practical help is available at email@example.com or by calling the church office.
The task force continues to monitor local conditions and evolving guidance. It is possible we might return to universal masking again in the future, if conditions warrant it. In addition to maintaining our streaming program, it is a priority for the church that we continue to be able to meet safely in-person.
4/8/2022 Update: Our COVID Safety Task Force has turned to the COVID-19 County Check that the CDC now provides, combining several measures into one indicator of local risk level. After a month at the Green level, we are making a few changes to church safety practices:
Masks are now ENCOURAGED (rather than required) in the sanctuary on Sundays.
Coffee hour may be held in the Common Room or outside.
We will ease back on congregational singing somewhat. This is because singing is a higher-risk activity than listening or speaking. (At this time, the choir, which is not able to get much distance while performing, will continue to mask.)
What hasn’t changed?
Anyone who is not feeling well should stay home from in-person church activities.
Social distancing continues, extra surgical masks are available for any who needs one, and hand sanitizer stations remain available throughout the church building.
Small groups are still asked to consult with group members before deciding about masks, and to be sensitive and accommodating to any participants who are more vulnerable. This includes religious education classes for children and youth as well as adult groups.
Staff and volunteers caring for our youngest children in the nursery will continue to mask.
Read the entire email update by clicking here.
3/3/2022 Update: Our COVID Safety Task Force has updated the safety guidelines. Click here to read the special email from Rev. Shari Woodbury. Highlights include:
We will return to singing congregational hymns (with masks).
Small groups meeting in person may choose to have food indoors. We ask leaders to check in with group members when considering this, to find out risk and comfort levels for your members.
We will return to the practice of passing the basket during the offertory. Sanitizer stations continue to be available, but we now know that COVID transmits primarily through the air, not by surfaces.
Children in our K-5th RE class have recently begun joining their families in the sanctuary from the start of the worship service. They go to their classroom after the Time for All Ages.
2/7/2022 Update: Our COVID Safety Task Force has determined we can reopen for Sunday services with masks and social distancing. To see what's coming up on Sunday, click here.
1/7/2022 Update: Our COVID Safety Task Force has updated our protocols in light of the uber-infectious omicron variant. At this time, anyone coming to the church in person must wear a mask that can more effectively mitigate against omicron, which means a surgical mask, KN95 or N95 only. (No cloth masks, unless the cloth mask is on top of a surgical mask, which works well.) We are restocking the church with high quality masks so anyone who arrives without one can be given one and participate. For the same reasons, please do not bring or eat food at indoor church gatherings this winter. We're returning temporarily to all-virtual worship on Zoom, starting Sunday, January 9, and continuing through February 6.
The risk level on this page will be updated every Wednesday.
3/3/2022: Safety guidelines updated.
1/7/2022: Returning temporarily to all-virtual worship on Zoom, starting this Sunday and continuing through February 6 -
12/23/2021: Holiday Greetings from First Unitarian Church - https://mailchi.mp/firstuuomaha/churchnews2021holiday-greetings
9/15/2021: Re-grouping & Re-opening: A Message from Rev. Shari - https://mailchi.mp/firstuuomaha/regrouping-and-reopening
8/29/2021: Pastoral message and fall church update - https://mailchi.mp/firstuuomaha/pastoralmessagefall2021
7/14/2021: TECH SURVEY with church reopening update - https://mailchi.mp/firstuuomaha/reopeningupdate2021714
5/29/2021: An important message from the MTC: https://mailchi.mp/firstuuomaha/mtcupdatesmay2021
5/16/2021: Reopening Update given at the Congregational Meeting
4/26/2021: Important message from the MTC and the Reopening Task Force about Outdoor Church Gatherings:
3/31/2021: Special message from the Ministry Team Council (MTC) regarding reopening: https://mailchi.mp/firstuuomaha/mtcmessage3312021
9/16/2020: An Important Note from the MTC (Ministry Team Council):
IMPORTANT: YOU MUST SCHEDULE VISITS TO THE CHURCH WITH THE OFFICE IN ADVANCE.
Current Risk Level:
Phase II / Moderate
Click here to reserve the church for either in-person or online events.
Stepwise ReOpening Plan (Revised 9/9/2021)
Procedures for Small Groups Entering the Church Building (Revised 9/9/2021)
Guidance for Outdoor Gatherings During COVID-19 (Revised 9/9/2021)
Guidelines for Pastoral Care Visits
Procedures for Church Volunteers to Enter the Building (Revised 9/16/2020)