First Parish COVID-19 Information
First Parish continues to monitor and plan for pandemic safety. We are taking a risk reduction approach that offers ways to participate in congregational life indoors, outdoors, and online. While we cannot completely eliminate the risk of COVID transmission at First Parish events, we believe that the following set of precautions makes meeting in person much lower risk.
Groups should discuss their risk tolerance and meet in a way that works for all group members. Multiplatform (simultaneous in person and online) is an option. Groups that may have visitors are encouraged to have a way to join online even if current members plan to meet in person. As a community of care, we want to be inclusive and supportive of one another.
Indoor Gathering Guidelines
Groups are expected to follow all safety guidelines when meeting in person.
- Please stay home if you have any symptoms, even if you think it’s just a cold, until you have a negative COVID test or symptoms pass.
- Masks are required for everyone over the age of two while indoors. Masks must fit well and be properly worn (covering both nose and mouth).
- Social distancing of 6’ is required for between people from different households.
- Rooms will have increased ventilation. Please open windows, use the air purifiers, and turn on fans. Please close windows and turn off electronics when your meeting is finished.
- Groups are required to have a sign-in sheet OR take a group photo in case contact tracing is needed later.
- Brief singing is permitted. Please contact Beth Norton, Director of Music Ministries, for more details.
Vaccination is strongly encouraged for everyone who is eligible, as this is in line with our Unitarian Universalist value of care for one another. All ministers, staff, choir members, and volunteers with our children and teens are vaccinated.
Masks are available at our buildings’ main entrances. Hand sanitizer is widely available.
If you test positive or learn that you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, and you have recently been at First Parish, please contact Rev. Liz Weber or Rev. Amy Freedman. First Parish leaders will notify all other attendees of their possible exposure while maintaining your privacy. Liz is also available for pastoral support through an exposure or illness.
The office is open Tuesday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Church staff will be working in person and from home. Please be in touch as needed. Our church voicemail boxes forward to our email, so we will receive your message wherever we are. If you’d like to schedule an indoor meeting, contact Bruce Davidson, our Facilities Manager.
Outdoor and Online Gatherings
Zoom continues to be available for both online and multiplatform gatherings. If you’d like to schedule something on Zoom, please contact the appropriate staff person (pastoral care, RE, music, etc.).
Our grounds continue to be available as well. Groups should discuss what safety precautions you would like to take. Masks and/or distancing is encouraged. We are supportive of members who take more precautions, understanding that there are a variety of comfort levels and needs for safety.
If you would like to sing outdoors, please wear masks and keep social distance of 6’. Contact Beth Norton, Director of Music Ministries, with any questions.
Outdoor gatherings under 25 people do not need a reservation. For larger outdoor gatherings, contact Bruce Davidson.
How We Monitor for Safety
We continue to follow the evolving science of COVID safety and risk reduction. Our COVID-19 team meets as needed. This team is led by Rev. Liz Weber with support from Rev. Howard Dana; our public health epidemiology consultant is Dr. Bill Taylor, and our on-the-ground consultant is Emily Drazen, NP. We also seek support as needed from our Standing Committee.
We remain more cautious than many public venues because we are a community of care. We know there are vulnerable people in our community, including our youngest children who are not yet eligible for vaccination and immunocompromised adults.
At this point in the pandemic, the precautions we have in place are working well. Thank you for keeping one another safe. Let’s keep up the good work.
Some Final Notes
We are a community of care. We value consent and inclusion.
Because we know that COVID-19 is transmissible even by people who are asymptomatic, we strongly encourage each of us to follow the science and take care of ourselves and each other.
Please let Rev. Liz Weber or Rev. Amy Freedman know if you learn that you were exposed to or positive for COVID-19 and have recently been at a First Parish event. First Parish leaders will notify all other attendees of their possible exposure, while maintaining your privacy. Liz is also available for pastoral support around an exposure or illness.
Each of us is always free to take more precautions if we need or want to. For example, someone may continue to wear a mask even if it’s no longer required.
We encourage groups to check in with each other about what feels safe and comfortable. We want to be inclusive and supportive of one another rather than assuming that we have the same level of risk tolerance.
We strongly encourage vaccination for all people who are eligible. Vaccination is in line with our Unitarian Universalist value of care for one another.
As pandemic life continues to evolve, we are here for you. Please reach out to Rev. Liz Weber, Minister for Pastoral Care, if you could use support.