Health and Safety – COVID19
Latest COVID Guidance from the Board of Trustees and the COVID Task Force as of March 22, 2023:
Upon recommendation of the COVID Taskforce, The Board of Trustees has decided that wearing of masks for Sunday services shall now be optional. The risk of COVID infection in Fairfax County is low, and fully immunized and boosted individuals are at very low risk of serious infection. Individuals may certainly continue to wear masks if they wish to do so. If you decide to wear a mask, then you should only wear a high-quality mask (N95, KN95 or KF94). Cloth masks are not sufficient protection against respiratory infections.
Individuals who are feeling unwell in any way, especially individuals having fever, fatigue and/or respiratory symptoms (even simple cold symptoms) should not attend services or other activities at MVUC until symptoms improve considerably or resolve completely. All individuals with these symptoms should perform a COVID antigen test at home.
The following CDC guidance regarding isolation parameters for individuals who have recently had COVID is summarized below (see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html) for more details.
Recommendations for Ending Isolation for people who have been mildly ill with COVID infection or who are symptom free but have tested positive for COVID AND are not moderately or severely immunocompromised:
- Isolation can be discontinued when you are at least 5 days after symptom onset (day 0 is the day symptoms first appeared and/or the day a COVID antigen test was positive, and day 1 is the next full day thereafter) if fever has resolved for at least 24 hours (without taking fever-reducing medications) andother symptoms are improving or you are symptom free.
- A negative COVID antigen test is not necessary if you have isolated for 5 days and symptoms are improving and/or you are symptom free.
- If symptoms recur or worsen after your initial 5-day isolation period, then you should restart another 5-day isolation period on the day your symptoms recurred.
- Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation.
- All people who have had COVID should wear high-quality masks when around others at home and in public through day 10.
- The CDC has developed an Isolation and Exposure Calculator (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/isolation.html
that you should use if you are not clear as to what to do.
- People who cannot wear a mask for any reason, including children < 2 years of age, should isolate for 10 days.
People who have symptoms and/or who are symptom free but test positive for COVID antigen AND are moderately or severely immunocompromised should check with their healthcare professional for guidance regarding isolation and masking at home and in public settings.
Earlier COVID Guidance from the Board of Trustees and the COVID Task Force as of October 12, 2022:
As the COVID Pandemic has evolved so have the recommendations of the COVID Task Force for attending Sunday services and other activities, now including wedding receptions.
At their September meeting, the COVID Task Force recommended changing the masking requirements for MVUC from mask mandatory to a mask-optional environment. This is in accordance with CDC guidance regarding community risk assessment, personal risk assessment and self-care while continuing to require adherence to the MVUC requirements for full vaccination and boosting, as appropriate for age. (See this document for the latest recommendations from MVUC’s COVID Task Force.)
Although their recommendation applies to Sunday services, rental functions, normal workday and volunteer functions, religious education functions and any other circumstances where individuals or groups assemble at MVUC for a variety of activities, the Board of Trustees has voted to keep one of MVUC’s currently stated mask policies in place: masks are still recommended when attending Sunday service in the Chapel.
There is concern for those members of our congregation who are immunocompromised as well as those still anxious about contracting COVID because of their age or other personal circumstances. Trustee have discussed this concern in depth.
We recognize that the science, the CDC, and health organizations are now moving us toward a future where wearing masks is not required everywhere. We understand that mask fatigue is real, and that many church members – as well as the public in general – feel that it’s time to move on. We accept this and are not ignoring the science.
We are, however, asking for your patience and understanding in consideration of the entire congregation. There are members who won’t continue to come to church if others aren’t masking. MVUC is a loving, inclusive community, bound by covenant. We are taking the concerns of our most vulnerable population seriously and making sure that everyone, including them, feels welcome at MVUC.
With that in mind, the Board agreed that masks should still be worn at:
- Sunday services in the Chapel
- RE classes (per DLSG to reflect the guidelines the parents are following)
Masks-optional is approved for:
- Rental functions
- Normal workday functions
- Volunteer functions
- Any other circumstances where individuals or groups assemble at MVUC for a variety of activities
Committee Chairs, departments heads, and other group leaders can, at their discretion, recommend that attendees/participants wear masks at their specific activity.
The Board supports the Task Force recommendation that social distancing not be mandated for indoor activities, though individuals may wish to maintain a social distancing of 6 ft., as appropriate to their individual risk assessments and personal circumstances.
The Board also fully supports the other recommendations put forward by the Task Force regarding:
- Musical Programs: including musical instruments, choir and congregation singing
- Ventilation: The Task Force recommends that enhanced ventilation measures be utilized for all indoor activities, especially for Sunday Services.
- Nursery Childcare: When children 6-months of age and older attending day care have been fully vaccinated and boosted (as appropriate), then the mask-optional recommendation is appropriate for nursery care workers.
And finally, the Board of Trustees and the Covid Task Force ask everyone to adhere to the Personal Care Guidelines when making decisions regarding attending services or other activities at MVUC and in the broader communities in which we live.
MVUC Board of Trustees
October 11, 2022