ASC Reopening Task Force – Notes from Meeting July 31, 2020

TO DO’s: posted at the top so they are visible

All: mark calendars for next meeting, 4:00 Friday August 7. (Parish Council meets earlier that same day)

Karen: put meeting on ASC calendar, do Zoom schedule, etc.

Karen: approach Bev, George, Daniel regarding technical issues supporting remote access at live gatherings

Karen& Peter: consider in-person scaling issues, such as per-room limits on number of people present, ventilation protocols.

Telos: use Interfaith and UUA connections to gain info on how other faith communities are doing with live gatherings

Attendees: Jamie Gibson, Leslie Kinney, Steve Squires, Karen Tyler, Rev. Telos Whitfield

We discussed the inevitable problem of inclusivity. As in-person gatherings phase back in, not everyone will be able or willing to attend in-person. Ideally, remote attendees should be full participants, not just able to listen in and sort-of catch most of what is going on. Lots of challenges, both technical and procedural.

The meeting location needs a strong internet signal. Unclear how good the church’s internet and Wi-Fi actually is, especially across the various locations. Karen noted that pre-pandemic church services needed to use pre-downloaded videos for church services; they were not reliable enough played directly from the internet. (Still true for Zoom services)

Someone has to support incoming connections, latecomers, etc., whether by phone or by monitoring Zoom on a computer.  The church phone is not set up to take multiple connections. In practice, people have been using their own cell phones.

Audio quality is difficult, as is video. Can remote attendees identify who is speaking, and hear well enough? Can a remote attendee be heard?  What do remote Zoom attendees see? Is the camera moved around to point at whoever is speaking?

Telos has done hybrid live+remote services. It is possible, though there are awkward aspects.

Karen will approach Bev, George, and Daniel regarding what technical solutions might look like, and may go around the building, device in hand, to get a sense of what the WiFi landscape looks like.

Leslie notes that each group has its own dynamic and needs, and that it may often be best to stay with all-Zoom format if even one person is unable or unwilling to attend in person.

The general sense is that ASC people are more wary than eager about resuming in-person gatherings, which is also true of Task Force members themselves. We have had a couple of inquiries from potential renters looking for spaces to gather, with varying levels of plausibility.

We do need to press forward with guidelines on safe gatherings on ASC property. Karen made a point of clarifying that the current Phase 2 working document, however much language it contains, is still just a Draft. We discussed what the goals for Phase 2 actually were, ranging from modest increases in the number of people allowed at outside gatherings, and inside the building, to a more ambitious set of limits on a room-by-room basis, to support a wider range of gatherings. That is, up to X people in the main hall, Y in the chapel, Z in the parlor, etc, all respecting distancing requirements and with some guidelines on orderly entry and exit, and bathroom usage. There may be protocols to encourage opening of windows and doors for improved airflow.

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