ASC Reopening Task Force – Notes from Meeting September 3, 2020

The primary action of this meeting was to finalize Phase 2 and recommend it for immediate Board action.

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

  • Leslie: ask Beverly to monitor sanitizer supply and re-order as needed. Also to add new sign-in sheets as needed, as church traffic picks up.
  • Telos: look into what, if anything, other churches are doing about liability waivers
  • George: update proposed reopening document, share with group with goal of being presented to board next week.
  • Peter & Steve: move the Bazaar crafting supplies down from chapel balcony area to the main hall, whenever the crafters are ready for them.
  • Next Meeting Thursday Sept 24, 5:00 PM

Attendees: George Carvill, Peter Gibbons, Jamie Gibson, Leslie Kinney, Steve Squires, Rev. Telos Whitfield

Prior to the meeting, Karen Tyler had resigned from this Task Force, pruning her excessive commitments to church and other activities down to more manageable levels. We are grateful for her contributions. Peter volunteered to join with Steve as co-chairs.

Peter noted that the clear plastic face masks currently rising in popularity are ineffective at limiting Covid-19 spread. They protect neither the wearers nor those around them; the virus simply blows around the open face shield. The Food Coop apparently has a sign making clear that shields do not meet the requirement of wearing a face mask in the store. We may do the same.

A new factor in our planning is that the church now has a month-by-month contract with Ms. Martha’s, which grants them use of the chapel from 7 AM -5 PM, Monday through Friday, for a program where young school-age children can stay and do their remote classroom activities.  The plan is that they will use the bathrooms in the RE wing, and avoid the one in the foyer.  (It was noted in previous meetings that our church’s ability to host Ms. Martha’s helps our community’s response to Covid-19. The children need somewhere to go.)

We discussed two specific detailed requests to hold gatherings at the church, both of which contributed to our proposal to raise the maximum number of ASC people (not counting Ms. Martha’s) inside the building to 20, provided everyone wears masks, observes at least 6 feet of social distancing, etc. The limit outside the building would also be 20. In both cases, this means individuals, whether members of the same household or not (tho members of the same household are encouraged to stay together). This level of occupancy is still well within Vermont guidelines of 50% capacity or 100 square feet per person, especially in the main hall.

The Religious Education team with children and families intend to hold their activities mostly outdoors and sometimes off-premises, entering the building primarily for bathroom access and in case of inclement weather. The proposed revised guidelines should safely accommodate their needs.

The crafting team for the holiday bazaar has traditionally used the chapel balcony as a workplace they could own for the duration of the effort. With children expected to be in the chapel downstairs, this was viewed as undesirable. Peter noted that any virus present would tend to waft down towards the floor. Since no one is currently using the main hall, we prefer that the crafting happen in that space. Peter and Steve volunteered to help move the considerable amount of supplies from the balcony area down to the main hall.  The crafters will distance themselves appropriately. We request that they leave the stage area intact, since there is interest in trying to use it for a Zoom Sunday service.

George brought up the working draft in Google Docs and shared his screen. We went through the accumulated commentary and revised it as a group. George will tidy things up and we will get it ready for the task force members to approve so it can be sent to the board in time for their meeting next week..

The issue of in-person activities fully including people joining through Zoom or phone remains a challenge. Steve shared the case of a board he is on which has returned to all-Zoom.  Socially distanced live attendees speaking through masks, even with an omnidirectional microphone in the middle, made the audio too rough to follow the conversation.