We are currently in an ambiguous place. Although the governor has declared a state emergency this gives no clarity regarding how we are to respond. The Washington State and National Centers for Disease Control have not increased the risk for the general population, and we remain at low risk. However, we also need to account for our location in Kirkland where there have been several cases identified, along with deaths. Given that, we are remaining vigilant and engaged, and will keep the congregation informed while offering support as we enter potentially difficult times.


Pre-emergency preparation: (this is what we are focusing on now)

● Keep updated at least daily with the local, state and national health departments and respond to new recommendations and concerns. Action: We will provide regular updates to the congregation so they are assured there is awareness and ongoing assessment of the situation, risks and recommendations. Identify the key person in the church who will be the main contact for outgoing messages. (Who does this? Minister)

● Create an emergency communication plan for meetings, gatherings and services: We currently have a communication plan that includes use of mass email to members & friends of NUUC (mailchimp), along with an emergency text system (Remind.com) used primarily for closures due to weather conditions. Action: Test the systems to assure they are up-to-date and with all current members & friends subscribed; make sure that key people know how to activate and use the communication systems, and that written instructions are available if the primary user becomes unavailable. (Who initiates this? Minister along with advice/consultation with Campus Administrator, President, and Chair of Safe & Secure NUUC Committee (or the SSNC) )

● Establish flexible leave policies for staff during a flu pandemic.: volunteer and paid staff may work from home once an official emergency is called by the health department. Paid staff will track their hours and are expected to continue their work, unless they become ill, at which time they will begin use of their sick leave hours. If they have no indications of health compromise they may come to the building if necessary. This situation will be monitored every 2-3 days via phone or zoom conference calls. (Who does this? Minister)

● Identify strategies to increase space or limit contact between attendees during a flu pandemic: Sunday services and meetings may be canceled depending on the degree of concern and advice of the local or state health departments. Action: A.) At all times, people with signs of even mild illness will be encouraged to stay at home until symptoms have resolved. All meeting spaces will have hand sanitizer, tissues, and surface cleaners available. Prevention measures will be posted and encouraged. Bathrooms will have soap, paper towels and hand washing instructions. B.) Assure members & friends know how to access the Zoom conference system; make sure Zoom contract is big enough to accommodate anticipated group size; proactively schedule zoom meetings as an option for all community meetings. C.) If Sunday services continue, congregants will be urged to limit physical contact; no hugs or handshakes, no arch for the children and no touching during the final hymn. If services are cancelled, there will be alternative services/vespers offered via Zoom. D.) Committee and team meetings will provide the option of Zoom Conference connection, and cancel face-to-face meetings if an emergency response is declared. (Who does this? Minister, President and SSNC Chair)

● Plan ways to separate and care for attendees and staff who get sick during an event: be vigilant of signs of illness and separate those with symptoms from the general attendees. Action: Encourage them to go home, but assure they have adequate support at home that includes food, medicines and people who can care for them. (Who does this? Minister, President & SSNC Chair)


Emergency Preparation: If an emergency response to a pandemic is declared by the local, state or national health department, the following actions should happen:

● Stay informed about the local flu situation: Keep updated at least daily with the local, state and national health departments and respond to new recommendations and concerns. Action: Provide regular updates to the congregation so they are assured there is awareness and ongoing assessment of the situation, risks and recommendations. (Who does this? Minister)

● Work with your local health department and community partners on response efforts.

● Implement your plans and pandemic flu-related policies as needed (see above) (Minister, President and SSNC Chair)

● Share health messages with staff, members and friends before and during any gatherings. (Minister, President or SSNC Chair)

● Encourage staff, members and friends to practice healthy behaviors: staying home if sick, cover coughs and sneezes, and wash hands often. (Minister)

● Provide supplies: all bathroom and sink areas will have soap and paper towels available. There will be hand sanitizer available at the entry to the main sanctuary and in all meeting spaces. Kleenex will be found in every pew in the sanctuary and in all meeting spaces. There will be surface cleaner in all meeting areas and kitchens. Disposable gloves will be available in main meeting areas. (SSNC Chair, Building Facilities volunteers)

● Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects: each day and after each service or committee meeting, tables, handrails, doorknobs, light switches, sink handles, toilet handle, paper towel dispensers, and common surfaces will be cleaned with designated cleaners. Wipes or spray bottles with cleaner (clearly marked and with child safety protection in mind) will be available in main spaces. All building users will be advised to clean before and after use of any space. (SSNC Chair & Buildings Facility volunteers).

● Increase space and limit contact between attendees: Sunday services may be canceled depending on the degree of concern and advice of the local or state health departments. See above. (Who does this? Minister, President and SSNC Chair)

● Separate sick congregants and staff from others, and ask them to go home. (Minister)

● Cancel or postpone the services and meetings if recommended, or even with increased concerns. Action: Inform the community via mailchimp, Remind.com texting, Facebook and Talk messenger systems. (Minister, President, SSNC Chair)

● Identify members and friends who may be vulnerable and may need assistance (elderly who live alone, those with physical limitations, low-income, etc.) Action: identify and contact those determined potentially vulnerable; assess their needs, support systems, and determine what level of care they will need; designate someone to be responsible for them. (Minister & Care Team)

● Determine if there is a need for use of NUUC campus as a central distribution site for providing meals, supplies or other community assistance. Action: Stay in communication with the local health department and faith community leaders regarding identified gaps in care. (Minister)

● Provide spiritual support for the community, and find ways to keep the community connected. Action: Develop worship service adapted for Zoom conferencing; add on-line Vespers service, and daily Prayer/Meditation Time. (Minister, Worship Team)

● Determine financial risks to members & friends: People who are quarantined, sent home from work or school, etc. may face significant burden to their fiscal stability. Action: Use the Minister’s Discretionary Fund to support those facing financial instability. (Minister)


Post-emergency action: After this event it will be important to meet and discuss the adequacy of this plan and of the systems needed to care for the

● Discuss and note lessons learned. (Safe & Secure NUUC Committee)

● Improve plans accordingly (Safe & Secure NUUC Committee, Campus Administrator, President and Minister)

● Test and update your plans regularly (Campus Administrator, Safe & Secure NUUC Committee)

[February 29, 2020]