The Delta variant of the coronavirus is causing increased cases everywhere. We no longer have any true "no risk" situations. Fortunately, the vaccines are highly effective, though slightly less so among the elderly and those immuno-compromised. The variant is as contagious as chicken pox and can hit the not vaccinated really hard, including children. Vaccinated persons are FAR less likely to face possible hospitalization or worse. The disease can surely be spread by those not vaccinated who pick up the virus, but also by fully vaccinated people who may become infected even without showing symptoms. Getting vaccinated is the primary responsible thing we can do, for ourselves and others. We surely don't want to help perpetuate health disparities among those who are marginalized in any way, who may face more crowded living conditions and fewer work options than some do.
This situation means masks will be necessary for the foreseeable future at all church gatherings. We can't take chances.
Good masks are cotton, reusable, 3-ply or 5-ply. The best mask is the N95 type, made of non-woven polypropylene fabric and labeled "respirator." These should say "NIOSH" on them or show the NIOSH logo. Similar in many ways is the KN95 mask, not a true respirator but which can be very effective. We caution you to purchase these only from a reputable source. An article about the differences: https://www.rollingstone.com/product-recommendations/lifestyle/n95-vs-kn95-masks-1044184/. Where to purchase masks: https://www.projectn95.org/, and also: www.wellbefore.com. Any mask you use should cover both the nose and mouth. No vented masks, please.
The team believes it will be acceptably safe for some in-person worship gatherings at our Hillcrest campus, with certain rules/expectations. (1.) Rev. Kathleen's final Sunday, Aug. 22, in the Meeting House ─ this will be with masks, some seating limits, and hopes that all who come will be vaccinated. No receiving line, no social hour. (2.) IF AND ONLY IF all goes well, then Sunday, Aug. 29, with masks, etc. Rev. Arvid Straube leading. (3.) Sunday, Sept. 5, Rev. Jim Grant leading, with our transitional minister, Rev. Michael Brown present to greet us. With masks, followed by a beverages-only social hour. An on-line service will be presented at 11:30 am on each of these Sundays for those who prefer. If you have unvaccinated persons in your household you may wish to choose this safer alternative.
As part of our institutional responsibility we'll need to keep track of who attends services in person, in case some spread occurs. This will be done either by you entering your data ahead of time, or by us gathering your data at the time of the event. We'll let you know.
Planning is underway for an in-person, outdoor farewell entertainment event for Rev. Kathleen on Saturday, Aug. 21. As a caution, no picnic, no food or beverage. Find more details elsewhere here in the Window.
Just a reminder about the qualified First UU people at the core of our team: (1.) Emily Fletcher Kaestner, M.D., pediatrician in current practice, much focus on behavioral and mental health, involved with a local year-round school system. (2.) George Longstreth, M.D., gastroenterologist with more than 40 years experience, retired from Kaiser Permanente. (3.) Rebecca Fielding-Miller, PhD., assistant professor at UCSD's Division of Infectious Disease and Global Public Health, a font of current knowledge. (4.) Stephanie Webber, PhD., retired from Agouron Pharmaceuticals where she led a large group of research scientists, our team's able coordinator.
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