COVID Task Force Update

The COVID Task Force is made up of Paul Beckel, two Board members, Murray Bennett and Bharti Kirchner, two members of the Operations Team, Deb Cruz and Kathy Wahto, and a physician, Ken Gass.

The group has met weekly since mid-September. The task force will continue to communicate with the congregation to ensure that all BUF activities are in line with our policies and procedures and any changes in State and/or County requirements that impact these policies and procedures. We’ll share more information at the Congregational Meeting this coming Sunday. For now, here are some of the basics:

  • Any visitors to BUF need to sign in at the main door, complete a health self-screening, provide contact information (for contact tracing), and acknowledge our liability waiver.
  • No more than five visitors and/or volunteers (plus staff) may be in the building at any time.
  • Everyone in the building must be masked at all times and socially distanced.
  • For now, during COVID phase 2, we ask that all BUF activities, such as Chalice Circles, birthday groups, bookgroups, committees, etc. to meet via Zoom rather than in-person. Our insurer has made it clear that any group affiliated with BUF even meeting in a private home could make BUF liable for COVID-related personal injury expenses. BUF will enter phase 3 when it is declared by the county and BUF has instituted some advanced precautionary measures and adjustments to how we use our space. Here’s a summary of how we expect this to play out. Please note that we intend to limit the number of people in the building (and BUF activities in homes, or outdoors) to fewer than what is technically allowed for churches.

Whatcom County Status          Phase 1     Phase 2          Phase 3           Phase 4

BUF Task Force has certified                        Basic               Advanced        Advanced
that we have in place                                    Precautions     Precautions     Precautions

Number of people gathering       0                 5                     10                    To be
in-person for BUF activities                                                                           determined

Number of people gathering       0                 0                     To be               To be
for live Sunday service                                                          determined      determined

You should also know that our Building and Grounds Committee is exploring means to increase building safety by reducing the risk of transmitting COVID-19 at BUF. Jim Reimer is heading a group which is looking for ways to improve the ventilation and air quality in our building following World Health Organization and CDC guidance. The goal is to improve air flow, increase circulation of fresh air and to upgrade air filtration. The team is considering modifications to both the sanctuary and the new part of the building. This project is at the information gathering stage. Community input is welcome, and the congregation will be informed as planning progresses. Bids for this work have exceeded $30,000 and we’re exploring what would be most helpful. Since the cost of the upgrades will likely exceed $10,000, the congregation will be asked to approve the expenditure at another Congregational Meeting in a few months time.