Dear CVUU Members and Friends:
Michael Levitt, Former Secretary of Health and Human Services under George W. Bush, in 2007:
“Everything we do before a pandemic will seem alarmist. Everything we do after a pandemic will seem inadequate.”
It may seem to many of you that all the news lately is about COVID-19. And with only two cases currently reported in Hampton Roads (as of this writing), it may seem that your CVUU leaders are being alarmist. We are trying to find that narrow place between preserving daily life as we know it and making sure that we are doing everything we can to prevent or at least slow down the spread of this virus. I am certain that we, that I, will make mistakes, but I will try to make those mistakes on the side of safety. So here is what we are doing currently, and I should add that as the situation is unfolding at a rapid pace, we will use every means possible to keep you all updated.
We – the board, the safety team, the staff, and I – are monitoring closely the credible sources for information. We are tracking the practices of communities where there have been more cases, and we are listening to what they wish they had done differently. We will follow the recommendations of state and local health officials, which for right now include limiting physical contact (no handshakes or hugs right now), keeping surfaces clean and disinfected (our amazing housekeeping team is on top of that), washing your hands well and often, avoiding crowds, especially if you are ill or immune compromised.
For now, we will continue to hold worship in person, but we will be streaming our Sunday service live (via Facebook) this week as a test run and may decide to hold virtual worship services for everyone if/when we receive guidance that we should close our doors to slow down the spread of the virus.
No food will be served at coffee hour or other gatherings. For now, we will serve coffee in disposable cups (safer for our kitchen crew). Passing and sharing food is one of the ways that we pass germs to each other. Current guidelines also advise keeping a distance of 3 feet between people, so we may decide to cancel coffee hour altogether as a precaution.
Please be patient with each other and with your leaders. Your amazing volunteer leaders and your staff are doing the best they can to figure this out in real time with changing and not always reliable information. Being together is important, and caring for our own and each other’s health is also important.
If you are ill, stay home. And if you are worried about all this, it’s fine to stay home then, too, but don’t let go of CVUU. We are going to do everything in our power to find ways to stay connected even if we are not able to gather together in one place for a time.
I am certain that we will get through this, and I believe that with some planning, creativity, and flexibility, we will find ways to stay connected even if we have to keep some physical distance between us as this outbreak continues.
In faith and fellowship,
Rev. Justine Sullivan
Interim Minister, CVUU
P.S. This article explains in clear terms how a virus like this one spreads and why curtailing large gatherings can limit its spread.