What’s Up With Masking and Distancing At MDUUC?
On June 15, the State of California relaxed its COVID-19 related restrictions. Many of you have questions about what this means for MDUUC. This collection of Frequently Asked Questions is designed to update us all. Thanks for working to create a culture of caring for all of our members and friends and for remembering that as a multigenerational community, we want to support our young ones too!
Do I Still Have to Wear A Mask on Campus Outdoors? The short answer is “Sometimes.” AND we are asking you to have one with you in case someone asks you to put one on to have a conversation with them. For most events, you can make a choice with these exceptions:
- Multigenerational activities. Please remember that vaccination is not available for those 12 and under. And we know we care about our youngest community members!
- Sunday worship services (because these are multigenerational)
What If I Need/Want to Continue Wearing A Mask Where Not Required? Please do. Many of us will be doing so in order to be supportive. As a caring community, we support your right to do so and to not be questioned about it. In fact, more people speak to the staff about concerns about people being unmasked than masked so you are not alone. If you need to maintain masking or distancing at a smaller event, please ask for what you need. We have Personal Amplification Devices so people can hear you at a further distance and chairs can always be moved.
What If I Haven’t Felt Safe to Come to Outdoor In-Person Worship Yet? We know a larger percentage of the congregation is still in this category—we hope this will reassure you that we are taking precautions and encourages you to try on one of our remaining on-campus worship events before mid-July when we will be virtual again.
Because Some Are Unmasked, Is MDUUC No Longer Safe for Me? We have heard from many who are not experiencing a new “sheltering” because the places where others were formerly masked are now not safe for them. Because we have a large spectrum of needs,
- We will have a Caring Space for Worship for those that need more distance, masked or unmasked (some people are not able to mask and they have been very isolated);
- We ask that all event leaders respect requests for more distancing;
- We are asking that people not question why someone is wearing a mask and respect the privacy and choice of all.
Do People At MDUUC Who Are Masking Not Understand Science? Again: “No.” People have many reasons for wearing masks. Some are medically unable to be vaccinated or live with people who are (including children under 12). Others have health conditions in which they have been advised to remain masked. New variants such as the Delta variant are still unknown. Some people are finding it hard to come back into the world after so many months of sheltering and masks help. Whatever the reasons, everyone has the right to mask and to do so without being questioned or lectured. Please understand that asking “Are we all vaccinated?” creates much discomfort.
How Can I Help Support A Caring Culture at MDUUC During This Time of Reemergence? The first way is to recognize that we are a diverse community with many different health and emotional needs. The second way is to respect that some people still need distancing for a variety of reasons and respect (without questioning) their right to do so. And lastly, let’s be grateful that we can be in one another’s presence!
Why Is My Desire to Be Unmasked or Closer at Worship Not Being Honored, Do I Not COunt? Sometimes as a caring community, we do what is needed for the good of the greater community. Too many of our community still cannot participate if everyone is unmasked. Those who are more vulnerable have many fewer options for where they can go and some of them are still extremely isolated. We know that for some distance makes hearing difficult and we do have Personal Assistive Devices for small groups to use.
Why Will Services Be Virtual Again In late July and August? We will be returning to virtual services which we hope will allow you to remain connected even if you are traveling or too tired on Sunday morning (remember the services are available recorded for a week later). In addition to waiting until more people are comfortable inside, we will be virtual for three reasons:
- Heat and fire-related air quality will make outdoor services less possible. While smaller meetings are easier to transition at short notice, this is harder with our larger events such as Sunday worship.
- We are retooling buildings for hybrid activities. Many members are not going to be able to participate in-person indoors and we need to make adjustments to allow for meaningful hybrid activities.
- Ministers and staff who skipped vacations last year to keep us going virtually need to do so this year. We have been adjusting and readjusting and need some rest before another big change and appreciate the understanding and care so many of you have expressed.
How Many Outdoor Hybrid Services Are Scheduled? We have one tomorrow and then the first two Sundays in July (if heat and smoke stay in check). We are also looking at one more outdoor vespers service.
When Will We Be Back In Buildings? In September we plan to phase in indoor activities unless something changes between now and then as far as the science. Our first service back will be our Water Service and Balloon Sunday and we can’t wait! (Fingers crossed!)