close-up photo of purple petaled flower

UFP is now “MASK VOLUNTARY” (but encouraged)

With new air quality measures, in place (and in progress), masks are encouraged but not required.

Dear UFP Members and Friends,

We are so grateful for the love and care that our community has shown one another through three years of COVID-19, and since we returned to in-person Sunday gatherings. Our commitment to the safety and well-being of all in our community and beyond continues to be our guiding priority.

As announced over the last three weeks, the UFP Board feels it is time to move to the next phase of in-person gatherings. Masking is now voluntary but encouraged at UFP — as, at the same time, we creatively work to improve indoor air quality as a further risk reduction measure.

By moving slowly and cautiously, based on best available evidence, we have done our best to uphold values of mutual care, protection of vulnerable people, and true inclusivity. An interesting read can be found here that helps better understand how the immunocompromised community has felt as places of worship have dropped COVID-19 protection measures.

Effective Sunday, April 23rd, the following COVID-19 protocols
are in place for Sunday services.

Please read through the measures carefully.

We continue to support dual platform services so that everyone, all the time, for whatever reason, has the option to join via Zoom.

Continued self-screening

We ask that you not attend in-person gatherings when feeling unwell or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. This practice is also requested when one has been exposed to someone who has tested positive for Covid. Please join us via Zoom in these scenarios.

Additional ventilation

Windows at the front of the sanctuary and those in rooms in either corridor will be open to provide additional ventilation over and above what our air handling unit and “leaky old building” provides. We are fortunate to have the tri-fold doors at the back of the sanctuary that can increase the air flow from the foyer.

Air filtering

Portable HEPA air filtering units will be working during services to add additional protection. We ask everyone to be patient while configurations are modified to provide the best protection while keeping the noise associated with such units to an acceptable level.

Encouraging masking

Masking is known to decrease risks for those wearing them and for those sharing indoor spaces. Masking at Sunday services, while voluntary, remains encouraged. We mask to reduce risk to ourselves, and we continue to respect all those who mask and those who wish to maintain respectful distancing.

Various seating options

Air flow studies have shown that our high ceiling in the sanctuary benefits the dispersion of any virus particles. What this also means is that sitting in the balcony may create a slightly greater exposure should there be viruses lingering. Along with the options of balcony and main floor seating, there will be chairs available in the foyer where the space is open to the sanctuary. Again, how grateful we are for the ability to “open up” the sanctuary using the tri-fold doors.

Following the recommendations of Public Health

We continue to encourage our community to remain up to date on Peterborough Public Health’s recommendations as they relate to vaccinations, masking and indoor air quality.

If you have any questions about these measures or need more information about the ventilation and filtration that will be in place, please do not hesitate to contact Heather Ballarin at 705-931-0732. We are profoundly grateful to Heather for her expertise and deep commitment!

— Ben Wolfe (President), for the Board, our Safe Gathering working group led by Heather, and many helping hands