I’d like to tell you what the Children and Youth Religious Education Committee and I are planning for UUCPA for the 2021-2022 school year. The most important thing that we’re planning is that we’re going to remain flexible. Federal, state, and county regulations and recommendations are changing rapidly right now, as we learn more about COVID safety. Vaccines are about to be rolled out for ages 12 through 15, and vaccine trials have begun for elementary grade children. So we have to be flexible, because so much is changing right now.
At present, we’re planning to offer both in-person and online programs for gr. K-8 in the fall. This is based on what we’re hearing from families — some kids really need in-person contact, but some kids and some families have good reasons for remaining online for now. We’re still working out what our in-person programs are going to look like. Pre-pandemic, we offered in-person programs for kids at the same time as the worship service, but at present health officials strongly advise against that model. We’re looking at several other possibilities, such as offering weekly one-hour in-person kids’ programs before the worship service, offering 90 minute in-person programs once or twice a month, etc. — but we haven’t come to a firm conclusion yet.
We haven’t come to any firm conclusions, in part because state and federal authorities are updating COVID safety regulations and guidelines on an almost weekly basis. We also haven’t come to any firm conclusions because we don’t yet know how child and teen vaccinations are going to change the situation. And we can’t come to any firm conclusions because while Gov. Newsom has promised to end most COVID restrictions in mid-June, we expect restrictions for children’s programs to continue in some form.
Because of all the uncertainty right now, I can’t give you details of what we’ll be doing in the fall. The CYRE Committee and I are hoping that we’ll get more certainty from the state regulators in the next month or two. We’ll be watching the progress of children’s vaccinations closely. And we’d love to hear from you. What do your kids need? What does your family need? Let me know what you think — email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Rev. Dan Harper