Since our last update, the Task Force has continued to compile scientific and governmental information related to COVID-19 and to meet frequently to help guide the Board in its decisions about our response to the situation. Our accountability is to our members and friends who would congregate in our building, which is relatively small, confined, and not well ventilated. Given the age of our building and the expense of retro-fitting it to safely allow more fresh air circulation, we have continued to hold all meetings, including our Sunday platforms, online instead of in-person since March. We’ve also organized outdoor small group gatherings on the Meetinghouse lawn and at members’ backyards.
We have successfully held Backyard Socials every weekend in July and August. A huge thank you to Diane Koszarski, Chair of Social Affairs, and numerous hosts who have given us the opportunity to socialize with each other in small groups. The Task Force developed safety guidelines for outdoor activities which are now used for Society sponsored outdoor events both at the building and at members’ homes. The Backyard Socials will continue in September and October, as long as the good weather continues. We’ve also had the Men’s and Women’s Dinners, a Youth Group pizza party, and Ethical Eating events held on the Meetinghouse lawn. Look for more small gatherings to come this fall.
In order to touch base with our members to understand their concerns and individual circumstances, the Task Force created and distributed a survey. We received 61 responses, an approximately 50% response. Overall observations conclude that our members are taking this situation seriously. Over half say they have been isolating, slightly less say they live with others and are taking rigorous safety precautions, and a little less than half have significant risk factors. Most responses were from members who attended Sunday platform regularly. Over the next few months, roughly 43% of responders are not willing to participate in indoor in-person gatherings, 40% are not sure if an in-person activity could be designed safely, and only 18% of responders would like to participate in limited, safely organized, in-person social activities. Nevertheless, 23% would, with an additional 41% who might, attend an indoor in-person platform if there were a limited number of people in attendance, everyone was wearing a mask, everyone was seated 6 feet apart, and the speaker was behind a plexiglass divider. Almost all responders indicated that they have some concerns about in-person activities at the Ethical Culture building. The Board and Committees, with guidance from the Task Force, are working to ensure a safe environment to re-open, whenever that may be.
We are continuing to provide our Sunday platform experience via Zoom for the foreseeable future, and permanently if possible. We are beginning to develop a hybrid model with limited outdoor attendees, since we are looking forward to having good weather in the fall.
Currently, access to the building is highly limited. We are tracking who is in the building to monitor person to person contact. Rhymes and Reasons continues to rent their space with two dozen children and accompanying staff, with state mandated safety precautions and have no reported cases to date; they will report to us if anyone receives a positive virus test.
- Susan Lesh, President
See the June 22 initial report here.