BOARD OF TRUSTEES DECISION
AS OF 8/14/2021
Dear members and friends of Unity Santa Fe,
As you know, due to the COVID pandemic, Unity Santa Fe (as well as most other churches) stopped having in person services in March of 2020 and switched to remote services via Zoom. A couple months ago, and in light of the facts listed below, the Board of Trustees voted to partially reopen Unity Santa Fe for blended services (in person plus Zoom) starting July 11. This was done under the following conditions:
- A 90 percent reduction in the number of COVID cases in New Mexico and the United States from their peak in the winter of 2020-2021.
- The widespread availability of effective vaccines to reduce the risk of infection and the severity of the illness.
- The implementation of masking and social distancing precautions to protect those congregants who wish to attend our services in person.
- The continuation of Zoom services so that those congregants who a) are too far away to attend, or b) prefer additional protection can continue to participate as a vital part of our ministry.
I am glad to report that these blended services have been very popular with both groups and a big success.
Unfortunately, a new variant of the COVID virus called Delta has appeared. It is considerably more contagious than all previous varieties. As such, we are seeing a sharp increase in cases and hospitalizations across the United States and the world.
The Reopening Team met recently to consider this new situation and make suggestions for the protection of the congregation and staff. The Board of Trustees met on August 14th to consider the options presented. These include:
- Going back to Zoom only services until this new variant can be overcome.
- Continuing as is.
- Continuing hybrid services, but with modifications to increase the protection of the people in the building.
The board voted to implement the third option starting with the August 22nd service. The additional precautions include:
- Requiring everyone in the building to wear either N95 or KN95 masks – both of which meet CDC Medical standards. (See below for a description of the differences between these two standards.)Those of you planning to continue attending in-person services regularly are encouraged to purchase a small supply of these masks; however, Unity Santa Fe will be prepared to provide one to anybody who doesn’t have one.
- Resuming social distancing of at least six feet between all congregants while in the building (with the exception of couples and families). For now, we will do away with the green/yellow/red stickers and beads and everyone will remain distanced as if they were displaying red.
- To continue all other hygienic practices (e.g., frequent hand washing).The Reopening/Sanctuary Safety Team will continue to monitor the situation closely and will advise us as circumstances change.
We all eagerly look forward to the day when this pandemic has ended and we can resume full scale in person services. However, because our Zoom option enables many additional members to participate, we will continue broadcasting our services into the future.
We realize that this has been a terribly difficult time for just about everyone. We want to thank all of you for the way you have abided by these precautions to protect the health and lives of others. We affirm that no matter how overwhelming current obstacles appear to be, with God all things are possible, and no matter what is happening at any moment, God intends everything for good. We look forward to seeing you again in God’s perfect time.
President, Board of Trustees
August 14, 2021
N95 versus KN95 masks
From the article N95 Vs. KN95 Masks: What’s the Difference? in Popular Mechanics, July 28, 2021
“KN95s are closely related to N95s, but only the latter is approved for use in medical settings in the U.S., and the reasoning is pretty simple: N95s are the U.S. standard, while KN95s are the Chinese standard for these close-fitting filtration devices. Both are rated to filter out 95 percent of very small particles.
“Due to the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the U.S. at the start of the pandemic, the CDC has authorized the use of KN95 masks as a suitable alternative for N95 masks…
“For the average person, N95 masks and KN95 masks have negligible differences. If you're not a health care worker, either should suffice for you.”