Minutes for June 11, 2020


Minutes for June 11, 2020

The purpose of this meeting was to provide time for an in-depth consideration and decision-making regarding the requirements, parameters, and planning necessary for reopening Unity of South Sound in-person Sunday services.

Opening Prayer – Meeting started via Zoom online at 6:30 PM with an opening prayer by Rev. Jeffrey.

Attendance: Board members, Barbara Bauml, Rev. Jeffrey Fowler, Lisa Hagen, Michele Millsap, Ruth Rogers, and David Sandall-Hill were in attendance. Linda Guay was absent. We have a quorum.

Check In – Board members briefly checked in with one another.


Where We Are and When Should We Re-open? – The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD) application to move to a Phase 2 Re-opening was approved Saturday, June 6, 2020. This means that Unity of South Sound (USS) could begin having in-person services according to the Phase 2 guidelines established by Governor Inslee. The Board of Trustees (BOT) considered some of the initial parameters for churches, some of which differ from those that apply to the general public, and chose to consider what needs to be done in more depth before making this decision.


Per the guidelines, attendance is limited to 50 people (including volunteers). The board is grateful to Linda Ashe for sharing (via rev. Jeffrey) an extensive list of questions to answer before reopening. Some local churches and another Unity church in NC have re-opened. Jeffrey will check with other Unity Churches in the region regarding how they are approaching reopening. 

The BOT returned to this issue throughout the meeting which resulted in a motion.

MOTION – Lisa moved that the BOT plan for re-opening of USS services in conjunction with Phase 3 approval. Jeffrey seconded.  Motion passed.


Congregation Survey – The board discussed various ways of understanding where USS congregants are at regarding re-opening the church to in-person attendance. While board members are having discussions with different teams and individuals, the board concluded that reaching out to Unity of South Sound as a whole would be valuable.

MOTION – Lisa moved to survey the congregation. David seconded. Motion passed unanimously.

Jeffrey will summarize the four questions discussed and email them to the board and inquire with Jenny about her familiarity with Survey Monkey. There is a free version and paid subscriptions that involve other services (e.g., data analysis).  Board members will respond with feedback on the questions by midnight on Monday, June 15, 2020. When the survey results come in, Barbara will process answers to the last question for the board.


Volunteers – Finally, Jeffrey will reach out to the Volunteer Committee Team about volunteer availability.  


Tasks to Complete for Re-opening

The following requirements and practical matters were considered:

1.  Log of attendees. This is a requirement. It was noted that issuing event tickets would have the advantage of creating a log of persons in the possible event that contact tracing was necessary. By consensus, the board agreed to use Brown Paper Tickets (over Eventbrite) and to make reservations available for the coming Sunday service available immediately after the current Sunday service until midnight Wednesday that week (once we open) on a first-come, first-serve basis. If people don’t have online access or they are challenged by the reservation process, they can call the office. The number of available tickets will be reduced by the number of volunteers attending. Jeffrey will speak with Heidi about the process and her involvement. The method of reservations has the advantage of saving time on Sunday and protecting the privacy of personal information.

2.   COVID-19 Exposure Control, Mitigation and Recovery Plan

The BOT discussed the role and responsibility of the board with regard to re-opening, fostering community, mitigating risks, implementing and negotiating the Phase requirements, and safeguarding the health and safety of our congregation. Some initial decisions were made and the plan needs to cover the categories the governor has listed. David volunteered to write an initial draft. The following items need to be included in a written plan:

·    PPE Use – Mask use required to attend. Although congregants will be asked to bring their own masks, USS is required to have masks on hand in the event that people arrive without them. Cost, types and number of masks, and procurement was discussed. David will research some options for obtaining free masks. This requirement, its merits, possible objections, and alternatives were discussed.

·    Physical Distancing – Specific guidelines and visual markers indicating the six-foot distances (X’s, marking pews, kids spacing, etc.) were discussed. Greeters may bow in place of hugs to reduce risk of asymptomatic transmission and ensure safety.

Ushers may help seat people based on how many people come together. (Of course, families, couples, and housemates who have sheltered-in-place with one another may be seated together.)

No Choirs or Singers are allowed to stand in close proximity to one another. No decision about how this may impact future services was made. Attendees can sing as long as they use masks.

·    Symptom monitoring – Attendees will be responsible for self-monitoring symptoms and informing Greeters that they have been symptom-free and without a fever for 72 hours. In the event that someone didn’t take their temperature before coming to USS, an Usher/Greeter will use a No-Touch thermometer to get a reading.

David has a spare No-Touch thermometer that USS can use when.

If someone has a fever in excess of 100 degrees, they will not be able to attend.

If someone has had a confirmed case of COVID-19, they can return after two tests within (administered within 48 hours of one another) confirm that they are negative.

·    Hygiene and Sanitation – Instructions and expectations will be communicated to membership via eBlast, our website, and onsite posters regarding handwashing, transmission prevention, and effective sanitation. Barbara will laminate posters for ease of use and preservation.

·    Cleaning and Disinfection Procedures – All high touch surfaces, pens, bathrooms, and seats will need to be sanitized prior to and after church services. This will be spelled out in a “To Do List” in writing. Jeffrey (?) will check in with the Hospitality and Usher Teams about their willingness (or not) to do this. We may need a separate volunteer team.

·    COVID-19 Safety Training – Once we have planned a specific date, USS will sponsor a safety training on the Sunday prior to the actual in-church services. It’s envisioned to include Usher/Greeters, Hospitality (if we supply granola bars or something similar) or other volunteers.

Safety training would include preventing the spread of COVID-19 (and other illnesses) through sanitization, the donning and doffing of masks, mask storage, hand washing, six-foot physical distancing and how to safely use the restroom.

Safety training videos can be pre-recorded and played after an online service as well as posted on our website.

·    Exposure Response Procedures – Heidi will be the point person for staff and congregants or attendees to report a COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19 illness

·    Post-exposure Recovery PlanDavid will draft a Unity of South Sound Plan and share with the board for review.

3.  Safety Posters – These include public safety measures and will include the requirement to wear a mask, twenty-second handwashing guideline, health screening and sign-in for attendance. They will be posted at entrances as well as indoors.

4.  Only Use One Entrance – The state guidelines require one entrance and exit. To accommodate accessibility and meet the visitor screening requirement, the foyer front door and ramp entrances to the Sanctuary were selected. An Usher/Greeter would have the list of those who had reservations at the Sanctuary entrance.

5.  Wear Face Masks – How many. David shared that he needed to have at least a 7-day supply on hand for his employees under penalty of being shut down. The consensus was to have about 200-400 masks in reserve.

6.  No Direct Physical Contact – As a requirement this would be addressed as a policy during the phased reopening and in communications with members and attendees ahead of time and onsite.

7.  Restroom Six-foot Markers (Wesley, downstairs, Upper Wesley, and Connections Table) The plan is to use Blue “painters’ tape” to mark areas in which distances need to be cued (such as the pews, where waiting occurs or people gather). Blue “painters’ tape” is an adhesive tape that is removable and non-permanent.

8.  Hand Sanitizer Placement – Their placements will be at the entrance, anywhere something will be signed, in the kids’ classrooms, the church office, and in bathrooms. Who will look into buying hand sanitizer in a bulk quantity; the plan is to refill the smaller pump dispensers? The 70% isopropyl alcohol hand sanitizers are best; in early March ethanol-based hand sanitizers were allowed outside medical facilities, however, due to excessive demand. Input from Heidi may be sought on placement. I estimate we will need about twelve to fourteen small hand-pump sanitizer bottles and a supply of eight disinfectant spray bottles. They can also be refilled. The board as a whole will be on the look-out for disinfectant wipes since their availability for purchase is hit-and-miss.

9.  Clean and Disinfect High-touch Surfaces – A rotating schedule will be established that includes the following surfaces: specific door knobs, the podium, tables, pews,

10.   Physical Markers of Six-foot Distances – Pews and Floor locations

Barbara will develop a general plan for pew seating arrangements. Six-foot markers for the kids will need to be marked as well.

11.   Ventilation – We don’t know what the ventilation and filtration system of the Spire is. This question will be addressed to Jeff and John during Heidi’s Wednesday Q&A with our landlords. Jeffrey will inform Heidi of this. Keeping the doors open during the summer months for fresh air was adopted. Can we promote air flow through the use of fans? More information is needed.

12.   Tissues and Trash Cans – The plan includes placement of tissues boxes in the foyer, classrooms, Wesley Hall, and at the back of the Sanctuary. Trash cans will be in the foyer entrance, by Sanctuary doorways, in proximity to the Connections Table (if we have it), in the restrooms, and in classroom doorways. Ushers, staff, and board members will be aware of their locations. (We can ask volunteers to bring rubber gloves for cleaning, but we will need to supply gloves to be used if in case they are needed.)

13.   Screening for Signs and Symptoms of COVID-19 – USS will clearly post signs indoors and outside to notify people of compliance with the Covid-19 safety measures.


Hospitality – No hard-and-fast decision was made. However, in the event we offer hospitality.


Youth Ed – Youth would be included and counted in the maximum number of people attending.

Online Services

•     Any changes needed? – Online services will continue. The possibility of including stay-at-home folks in the service will be considered. We will need to consider this further with practical considerations of camera placement, foot traffic walkways, physical distances, and may need input from Amy.

Closing Prayer – Rev. Jeffrey closed the meeting with a prayer at 9:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by Barbara Bauml, Secretary

June 12, 2020


— In Love and Light, We are Bending the COVID-19 Curve in a Downward Trajectory Together