Dear First UU Community,
While we have had few indications of widespread transmission of the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) here in Central Ohio, we want to care for our congregation in all respects, including the physical well-being of our community.
The uncertainty of this outbreak is creating anxiety in our workplaces, schools, and day-to-day activities. Yet we remain confident in our community’s ability to adapt to these temporary changes and support one another. Our thoughts are with all those affected by this illness, as well as for their caregivers and those who are working around the clock to minimize the impact of this virus. Here at First UU, we are being attentive to best practices from public health departments and other churches; links to helpful resources are listed at the end of this note.
The Staff and church leadership will continue to look at how we are responding during this time. And we will continue to hold church until it is recommended that we suspend our gatherings. We will let you know if anything changes. Please contact the office or staff if you have further questions or concerns.
Thank you everyone.
Efforts at First UU
Right now, the best thing we can do is to focus on prevention. To that end, we are asking you, our members and friends, to take precautions to keep ourselves, our families, and others safe.
Beginning this Sunday, due to concerns for the safety of the congregation during the Covid-19 pandemic, First Unitarian Universalist Church will be holding a single service at 10:00 a.m. The pre-service breakfast, coffee hour and middle hour activities are canceled until further notice.
If you are involved in meetings, workshops or other activities, we ask you to check with the coordinator or contact person for that event to see if there have been any changes.
- We ask that people wash hands when entering the building (restrooms are stocked with handsoap & paper towels)
- We are asking our greeters/welcome team to wash hands frequently and refrain from shaking hands;
- For all; substitute shaking hands at church with a wave, smile or clasped hand greeting (Namaste);
- We will suspend greeting our neighbor during the service, not touch hands when forming the bridge to sing our children to their classes, and not hold hands at the end of service;
- Our church staff and volunteer teams are washing their hands frequently and staying home if they are sick;
- We are reviewing other sanitation procedures throughout First UU including cancelling Sunday breakfasts, middle hour and coffee hour until further notice;
- Finally, if you or anyone in your family has runny nose, cough, or fever, please stay at home.
In Religious Exploration
- We ask that parents and caregivers assist their children in handwashing as they arrive at First UU;
- We are communicating the latest practices and information to teachers as they develop and asking teachers to stay vigilent about sanitation/washing and to stay home if they suspect they are ill;
- We especially remind parents that if a child is sick or has runny nose to stay home.
The School for Young Children is taking steps to reduce the risk of transmission of this or any other illness at SYC. They are in consultation with the CDC, ODH and professional child care organizations and communicating information to their parent community. Their website has an update here: www.syccolumbus.org. It has good and important information about how to talk to your children about coronavirus while being sensitive to their emotional well-being and anxiety.
For the sake of repetition: for the time being, remember what we’ve always known about avoiding spreading any virus and keeping healthy:
- Wash/sanitize your hands frequently – wash for at least 20 seconds
- Don’t touch your face
- Cover your cough/sneeze with a tissue, (or into your elbow if a tissue is not available) dispose of it and wash your hands
- Stay home if you or anyone in your family isn’t feeling well, especially with a runny nose, a cough, or fever
- Don’t shake hands or touch hands — fist bump, touch elbows, put a hand on a shoulder
- and… Follow best practices to keep healthy — eat well, hydrate, get a little exercise and a lot of sleep
For more information, here are some links you might find helpful.
OHIO Dept of Health Coronavirus Resources Pages
CDC Coronavirus Website
CDC – Guidance For Faith Based Organizations
Ohio State University Update Page