Originally Published May 11, 2021
Revised March 11, 2022
Communal singing is one of the great joys of congregational life and an experience that’s nearly impossible to replicate online. We know that congregants are eager to be able to sing together and to enjoy the singing of their choir and soloists, but continued caution is needed.
It is very difficult for us to offer specific guidance for all congregational situations. In general, we recommend the following:
- Singing creates a higher risk than speaking due to greater aerosol spread. That means rules and policies about masks, distancing, and ventilation need to be stricter for singing than for other activities.
- One of the UUA's pandemic strategies is employing rapid-testing for worship leaders and singers. With easy access to rapid tests, consider implementing a rapid testing protocol (e.g. testing within the hour before gathering) for activities involving singers and speakers.
- Members and friends, as well as staff and key volunteers, have different risk profiles and comfort levels. Whenever possible, offer options to accommodate this range of needs and circumstances, e.g., multi-platform worship, the ability to work from home, etc.
- Keep in mind our Key Planning Principles:
- Root decisions in the values of inclusion and consent. In particular, your staff and others significantly impacted should be involved in your decision-making processes. Get consent from staff and volunteers regarding their responsibilities, especially if something new or different is being asked of them.
- Follow the science. Pay attention to the latest CDC information and your local public health regulations. (We recognize that information may be in flux for some time.)
- Go slow and be flexible. Do the best you can to plan while being prepared to pivot. Strive to provide options that accommodate different levels of risk and comfort.
- Be humane and realistic in your expectations of yourself and others. Remember self-care and compassion for others. Perfection is not the goal and you don't need to do it all.
The Association for UU Music Ministries offers this Guidance for Music Programs During the Ongoing Pandemic.
We are grateful for your commitment to safety as well as to joyful, meaningful human connection.