We are writing to share a plan for transitioning the masking policy in the buildings of All Souls.
First, we know that the All Souls community is not unanimous about the requirement for masking. Most members of the community are ready to move to a “mask-optional” policy throughout the buildings. This is the reality in almost all other public spaces, save medical offices.
Some members of the community continue to want masks required in our public spaces. Some of those members will not attend in person if/when the masking requirement is relaxed or ended.
Some members of the community are not comfortable attending in person, regardless of the masking policy.
The current All Souls policy requires masking in public spaces in our buildings but allows groups in meeting rooms and offices to remove masks if that is the decision of the group. We have relaxed masking requirements in spaces where food and beverages are now being served again.
Recently we have consulted again with the medical professionals who have advised All Souls during the pandemic and with an epidemiologist. The medical facts are clear: infection rates continue low, the severity of the disease when contracted by vaccinated individuals is much reduced for most folks, and vaccines have long been widely available.
It is time for All Souls to begin transitioning toward the “mask optional” policy now the rule in public spaces. Because of the sensitivities involved, this transition will be done in stages:
On April 30, masks will become optional in all spaces in our facility (including religious education classrooms), except in the sanctuary. Masking will continue to be required in the sanctuary. Youth choirs will continue masking in all spaces until the end of the program year on May 7th.
We anticipate that this summer the sanctuary will become mask optional as well.
We are providing this phased approach, and this advanced notice to help ease this transition and allow time for the maximum number of members of our community to make their decisions about attending worship and events at the church.
Bill and Traci
This Post Has One Comment
Rev Sinkford, Rev. Green, Ms. Hughes-Trotter, et al,
I’m very happy to hear that we’re on a path to eliminating the masking requirement at All Souls. while I was completely on board with a mask requirement during the height of the pandemic, and I want be sensitive to those who feel vulnerable, I think that a continued mask requirement is pointless given that masks are not required anyplace else one goes in daily life now. I also think that masks are barrier to making connection with others in our community and undermine the spirit of welcoming that is a hallmark of All Souls. I just wanted to voice my support for this move. Thank you!