Current COVID Policies

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. If you need to report an exposure or a case of COVID, please contact Rev. Liz Weber or Rev. Amy Freedman. We will notify the group while protecting your privacy.
  • Vaccination is strongly encouraged for everyone who is eligible. Vaccination aligns with our Unitarian Universalist value of care for one another. All ministers, staff, choir members, and volunteers with our children and teens are vaccinated.

Our policy for the sanctuary is:

  • We are continuing universal masking. Speakers may unmask while speaking.
  • We are continuing to ventilate the sanctuary, balancing warmth with ventilation.
  • We are continuing to monitor CO2 levels.

Our policy for all other indoor areas is:

  • Make sure the air purifiers are on when you enter a room.
  • Groups and individuals may decide whether to mask. We strongly support masking for every person who needs or wants it. 
  • Food and drink is permitted where masks are optional.
  • We mask while singing.
  • Group members should check in with each other about risk tolerance and meet in a way that works for everyone. This is part of how we care for one another.

Science and Community Care

Our policy is based on science, and our norms are based on both science and our Unitarian Universalist value of care for one another.

Most groups can expect that participants will have a range of risk tolerances. If universal masking is necessary for someone to feel safe and welcome at church, the group should continue to mask together. We want to uphold our value of care for those who are most at risk.

Our policy is based on our understanding that masks and ventilation are some of our best tools to lower the risk of COVID transmission. We also understand that one-way masking (individuals opting to mask) with a high-quality mask is protective against COVID transmission and that most rooms have high-quality air purifiers. The sanctuary is too large for regular air purifiers to be effective, so we considered it separately. Because we expel more air while singing than speaking, we opted to keep universal masking for anyone who is singing.

We will continue to monitor COVID trends and changes in scientific guidance. We will rely on Covid Act Now to know whether we need to return to stricter precautions. If Middlesex County’s Community Risk Level is high, we will return to stricter precautions.

Odds and Ends

Masks are available at our buildings’ main entrances. Hand sanitizer is widely available. If you develop COVID and have recently been at First Parish, please contact Rev. Liz Weber or Rev. Amy Freedman. First Parish leaders will notify other attendees of their possible exposure while maintaining your privacy. Liz is also available for pastoral support through an exposure or illness.

To reserve a room or reserve technology for indoor or multiplatform gatherings, contact Bruce Davidson, our Facilities Manager. To reserve space on Zoom, please contact Darien Smith. To reserve outdoor space (only required for groups of over 25), contact Bruce Davidson. Outdoor space that is not reserved is first come first served.

Some Final Notes

Each of us is always encouraged to take as much precaution as we need or want to. Thanks to all of us for taking care of one another by checking 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 all have the same level of risk tolerance.

As pandemic life continues to evolve, we are here for you. Please reach out to Rev. Liz Weber, Minister for Congregational Care, if you could use support. 

The First Parish COVID Team:
Rev. Liz Weber, convenor
Rick Moore, engineer
Heather Packard, Standing Committee representative
Susan See, Standing Committee representative
Dr. David Venesy, cardiologist 

Updated November 2022