Pausing UUFA’s Regathering Plans

It is with a heavy heart that I write that the UUFA must now take a pause from our regathering plans in light of the ferocity with which the Omicron and Delta variants of Covid-19 are infecting folks in our area. Both Clarke and Oconee Counties have seen a tremendous spike in the number of cases and the positivity rate in recent weeks, and hospitals are nearing or at capacity.  This Sunday, January 2, 2022, will be the first Sunday under these revised plans.

Members of the Gathering Anew Task Force and the Medical Advisory Panel (MAP) met on December 29 and made several decisions as to how to keep our members, friends, and visitors safe.

  • Only people involved in presenting the service should be in the building on Sunday morning, and this number should be no more than 10, with 7 as an ideal number.
  • No in-person meetings will be held at UUFA until further notice.
  • Everyone in the building must be masked at all times, even when speaking or singing.
  • Attempts will be made to secure rapid tests for those in the building on Sundays for use before entering the sanctuary.

Here’s how everyone can help get us back in the building sooner:

  • Stay at home on Sunday mornings, and join us online.
  • Encourage people you know who are not vaccinated or boosted to do so; the vaccination rate in Clarke County is still less than 50 percent.
  • Practice all the mitigation techniques we’ve learned over the last two years so that the rate comes down, and the numbers tell us we can meet in-person again.
  • Contact UUFA Board President Vivian Sellers or Congregational Administrator Shaye Gambrell if you have at-home test kits to share with us or know somewhere locally these can be obtained.

We are all hoping that this “pause” will be short-lived and that the surge does what folks are telling us it has done in other places:  enters quickly and exits the same way. However, with 40,000 folks who’ve been away for winter holidays returning soon to Athens, we cannot count on that.

Know that members of the Task Force and the MAP are trying to do what’s best to keep us all safe and that we’ll make the decision to “unpause the pause” as soon as we feel it’s safe to do so.

In covenant,

Vivian Preston Sellers, UUFA Board President

Clarification on UUFA group meetings In last week’s notice about the pause in the regathering plans, we may have inadvertently created some confusion concerning meetings of UUFA groups. We stated that no meetings should take place on the UUFA campus. But, as before, what this really means is that all UUFA groups should be meeting virtually, not in person. We did not envision that groups would want to meet in person away from the Fellowship, due to the high transmissibility of this virus even outdoors, its ability to prove asymptomatic, and its danger primarily to those 60+, which is a good percentage of our population.

To keep everything accessible to most everyone, and safe for all, we ask you to keep all UUFA meetings virtual at this time.