COVID-19 Policies and Communications

Recommended Resources

Ohio Department of Health COVID-19 Dashboard
The State of Ohio COVID-19 Dashboard displays the most recent preliminary data reported to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) about cases, hospitalizations and deaths in Ohio by selected demographics and county of residence.
There are links to other resources on such topics as restart information, families and individuals, healthcare, and employment.

Articles

The Risks – Know Them – Avoid Them, by Erin Bromage

As our state reopens, it is important to know our risks so that we can determine how to proceed individually. This article explains the science with concrete examples and easy-to-understand language.

Dr. Erin Bromage is an Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, where he teaches courses in Immunology and Infectious disease, including a course this semester on the Ecology of Infectious Disease which focused on the emerging SARS-CoV2 outbreak in China.

 

Coronavirus in Ohio: Where you can get help
Community resources offering assistance during the COVID-19 outbreak, as of May 6, 2020

Reopening your business? Worry about the “hot zones”
Op-Ed piece Sunday, May 10, 2020 by Donald Nguyen, MD, in the Dayton Daily News

Haiku in a Pandemic

Many of our members are enjoying writing and sharing haikus during this time of sheltering in place. They are connecting in a Facebook closed group called Haiku in a Pandemic. If you are not already familiar with haiku, in brief, it is a short form of Japanese poetry in three phrases. Some of these members have found it to be a blessing that they are frequently unaware of worries and concerns when writing a poem.  If you search on the group name in Facebook you will find a button to request to join.

MOST RECENT COMMUNICATION REGARDING THE CORONAVIRUS & MVUUF:

May 4th, 2020

Dear MVUUF friends and members,

Thank you all for your understanding, support, and trust as our congregation’s leadership and staff navigate the COVID-19 Pandemic. On Saturday, May 2nd, Rev. Kellie and the MVUUF Board met to re-evaluate our suspension of in-person gatherings through May 3rd.

Both Rev. Kellie and the Board feel an incredible responsibility for the health and safety of our entire congregation, including our staff. Based on this responsibility and the science available, the Board has made the difficult decision to suspend in-person gatherings through June 2021, with reassessments during the September 2020, December 2020, and March 2021 Board meetings.

The vast majority of medical experts and scientists agree that we should not resume normal life and in-person gathering until a vaccine or cure/treatment can be developed, tested, mass produced, and mass distributed. In April alone, amidst a national lock-down, 58,000 Americans lost their lives to COVID-19 (4000 Americans died from the flu). Historically, the fastest vaccine request-delivery cycle was four years; however, with medical advancements, experts are hopeful that our time frame will only take 12-18 months.

So far, the UUA has canceled, rescheduled, or moved online all in-person gatherings through September 1st, 2020 (including our annual denominational meeting, General Assembly). The Canadian Unitarian Council has canceled, rescheduled or moved online all in-person gatherings through December 31st, 2020. The state of Ohio has mandated that schools remain closed through the end of the current academic year and has extended the stay-at-home order through the end of May 2020. In Ohio’s Responsible Restart Business plan, MVUUF is most similar to the businesses that have not been cleared to reopen in May: schools, adult vocational centers, and theaters.

While we remain hopeful that we may be able to lift the suspension earlier, we understand that this is still a great shock and disappointment to many of you. As with our initial gathering suspension in March, we realize that we are projecting our suspension farther ahead than our state government and other institutions. In Ohio’s April 30th stay-at-home order, Dr. Amy Acton said, “While the government can set the baseline, it should be understood that these orders set forth the minimum acts that must be taken and if people do more than the minimum to act safely, it will benefit everyone.” MVUUF’s actions will benefit all and are an expression of our faith, a faith that calls us to respect science, recognize our interdependence, and hold all people within our circle of care.

Let us emphasize that we are NOT closing MVUUF or canceling our meetings, groups, events, or worship services during this time. We still need each other and, as we have shown over the last 2 months, we still have each other. Physical distance cannot separate us. We are going to get through this. We are going to get through this together. Together.

Rev. Kellie and the Board will be hosting three town hall meetings to answer your questions, address your fears or concerns, and reimagine our new world (information on the town halls can be found below our signatures). These meetings will be a time of togetherness—a time when we can hold both our grief and hope. We invite all to attend and share with us your fears, concerns, ideas, hopes, and dreams. Together, we can hold what is and envision a future in which our community thrives and no one is left behind.

Thank you for your continued understanding, support, and trust. We couldn’t do this without each one of you!

With gratitude, love, and faith,

Rev. Kellie Kelly
MVUUF Minister

Rachel Feltner
MVUUF Board President

Townhall Meetings –

Friday, May 8th at 7:00 PM
Saturday, May 9th at 1:30 PM
Thursday, May 14th at 10:00 AM

Sources (organized by date)
May 1, 2020 – CNN
Expert Report Predicts Up to Two More Years of Pandemic Misery

April 24, 2020 – TIME
This Japanese island lifted its lockdown too soon and became a warning to the world

April 23, 2020 – Wisconsin Council of Churches
RETURNING TO CHURCH: Ministry during the COVID-19 outbreak
Offers a wealth of resources that they used to create their recommendations (articles and videos).

April 21, 2020 – NPR
What Happens If US Reopens Too Fast? Documents Show Coronavirus Projections

April 20, 2020 – PBS
Why Getting the US Back to Normal in the Next Couple of Months Is a Fantasy
The author of the NY Times article (April 18) talks about the fastest developed vaccine taking 4 years; therefore he believes that 12-18 months is highly optimistic. He also states that the hope for a summer break from the virus is unrealistic since the virus is sweeping through the heat of Brazil and India. At the end of the interview, he compares this to both World Wars and says his hope is that we’ll flourish once the war is over.

April 18, 2020 – New York Times (updated April 25)
Coronavirus in America: What the year ahead may look like, according to more than 20 experts
“Surges are inevitable, the models predict, even when stadiums, churches, theaters, bars and restaurants remain closed, all travelers from abroad are quarantined for 14 days, and domestic travel is tightly restricted to prevent high-intensity areas from reinfecting low-intensity ones.”

March 3, 2020 – History Channel (updated April 29)
Why the Second Wave of the Spanish Flu of 1918 Was So Deadly
Close to 200,000 Americans died in October 1918 from the Spanish Flu.

EARLIER COMMUNICATION REGARDING THE CORONAVIRUS & MVUUF

March 17, 2020

Dear MVUUF friends and members,

Thank you all for your understanding, support, and trust as our congregation’s leadership navigates the novel coronavirus (now being called COVID-19) pandemic. The crisis and its impact on our lives is changing faster than many of us expected. At this point, six-hour news is often outdated.

Since our letter to you Thursday, our country’s president has declared a national emergency and our state’s governor has moved all k-12 public schooling to online learning and has restricted all restaurants and bars to drive-thru, carryout, and delivery business only. Respected virus experts are continuing to advise us that the best way to contain the virus is for EVERYONE to practice extreme social distancing, reducing in-person meetings as much as possible (even gatherings as small as a playdate).

The main reason why we ALL must practice extreme distancing is to protect our health care system. If COVID-19 cases overwhelm our healthcare system, this will prevent our healthcare system from treating patients with other medical problems (car accidents, strokes, heart attacks, etc.). Extreme distancing is not an overreaction or a panic. Extreme distancing is about making sacrifices so that we can protect each other.

The following graphic from the Washington Post shows a simulation of the results of four different responses to a similar virus, with orange representing the number of people infected with the virus:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/world/corona-simulator/

(March 16, 2020)

With all this in mind, the MVUUF board decided to suspend ALL MVUUF in-person gatherings until the board can reevaluate on Sunday, May 3. Please know that this was a very difficult decision to make. We know that a crisis like this increases our needs for connection and support, especially in person. However, we believe that our religious mission requires us to proceed with caution for our own safety, the safety of our entire country, and the safety of our siblings across the world.

Let us emphasize that we are NOT closing MVUUF or canceling all meetings, groups, events, and worship services during this time. We need each other. And. Even with physical distance separating us, we have each other.

Together, we will reimagine connection, support, and community in new ways:

  • Beginning March 22, Sunday worship service will take place at its normal time using the online conferencing platform Zoom. Zoom will allow everyone to attend via computer, tablet, smartphone, or traditional dial phone. Information and help with using Zoom will be forthcoming this week.
  • In addition to worship, we’ll be providing Children and Youth Religious Education (CYRE) via Zoom on Sundays as well.
  • We also are purchasing three annual subscriptions to Zoom Pro accounts. These accounts will provide MVUUF groups with a way to meet virtually. The accounts will function similar to how we reserve rooms in the Fellowship, with scheduling requests being sent via email to our Fellowship Administrator, Jennie Freiberger (jennief@mvuuf.org).
  • Events that cannot be held online or via phone will be rescheduled once MVUUF returns to in-person gatherings (such as Ruth Scott’s memorial service and Alice Diebel’s ordination). Please be patient as we evaluate the events and meetings currently scheduled to determine if they will be moved online or rescheduled.
  • The board is leading a group of volunteers in forming a phone tree to check in with all our congregants via phone call.
  • As a replacement for in-person gatherings, we hope to offer small group ministry depending on interest and volunteer support. These groups will be in addition to our existing small groups and may include email, Facebook, Zoom, texting, etc.
  • We know that some of our congregants will have increased support needs beyond connection, more specifically pastoral, practical, and financial needs. If you need support, please contact Rev. Kellie. In the coming days, we will be asking for volunteers to fill a variety of roles. Additionally, the MVUUF Disaster Relief Team will be collecting funds for our congregants and community members who are being financially affected by the pandemic, either by COVID-19 infection or business closure.
  • While in-person MVUUF gatherings are suspended, our building will be closed. Our staff will be working from home as much as possible. We will check the fellowship voicemail in the morning and again at lunch Monday through Friday. In order to reach staff members directly, please use the following contact information:
  • During this time of change, uncertainty, and experimentation, the board will be meeting more often. Our next meeting will be Sunday, March 22nd at 1:30pm. Once again, the meeting will take place on Zoom and will be open to all. Specific information about the Zoom meeting will be forthcoming. At the meeting, we will discuss both our continued response to COVID-19 and repairs to the siding and roof of the building due to water damage. We will leave space at the beginning of the meeting for public comments, questions, or concerns.
  • Last but not least, while we will not be meeting in-person during this time, MVUUF still relies on your pledge contributions and donations to pay our regular operating expenses. As people of faith, our operating expenses will not go down because we will still be paying our employees and vendors. You can send your pledge contributions and/or donations to MVUUF via the mail or submit them directly via our website. If you have any questions or concerns about submitting your donations, please contact our fellowship administrator, Jennie Freiberger (jennief@mvuuf.org) as she will be working from home as much as possible.

If you have questions or would like support, please contact our minister Rev. Kellie (minister@mvuuf.org) or our board president Rachel Feltner (r.feltner@hotmail.com). We will continue to work hard to keep you updated and our decision-making process transparent. Please check your email and our website frequently for updates.

Thank you for your continued understanding, support, and trust.

With gratitude, love, and faith,

Rev. Kellie Kelly
MVUUF Minister

Rachel Feltner
MVUUF Board President