July 28, 2020 (ward email):
...I will share with you that what I am seeing in the hospital setting is very concerning regarding those ill with Covid and the overwhelming pressure it is placing on our health care system. Please protect yourself and your families.
August 31, 2020 (RS email):
Many of you are aware that Sister I_______'s husband, J________, has been in the hospital battling COVID for several weeks. I am saddened to announce that he passed away on Sunday, August 30th. A viewing will be held on Tuesday, September 1st from 6pm to 8pm and funeral services will be held on Wednesday, September 2nd at 2pm (please arrive early - masks are required).
September 12, 2020 (primary email):
Hello Parents of Primary Children-
Tomorrow is our 1st day of Virtual Primary!! To prepare for tomorrow, the children will need a couple of things to sing with...
September 25, 2020 (ward email):
Hello fellow members of the Berkeley Lake Ward. As you know, starting on 11 October, we will start having in person Sacrament meetings again. The ward will be divided into two groups. The first group will meet on the even Sundays and the second group will meet on the odd Sundays until we can meet all together again. We will be sending an announcement as to how the ward will be divided in the near future. The Sacrament meeting will continue to be broadcast via Zoom every week for the benefit of the not attending group and those that do not yet feel comfortable assembling in a larger group.
September 25, 2020 (Andrew's response):
Is there an option for giving these talks through Zoom? We’re not planning on meeting in person for a while, but if there’s a possibility to participate remotely, we’d be happy to give talks.
Also, Nancy is penciled in for an odd week, while Rachel and I are scheduled for an even week. Is our family supposed to be split across two groups?
September 26, 2020 (personal reply):
For the time being, we want the sacrament participants to be at the chapel. That may change in the future if we continue to have challenges with COVID-19.
Fortunately, we have not continued to have any challenges with COVID-19...
October 21, 2020 (RS email):
Hello friends! Just making a plug for our activity on Saturday, November 7 at 10am at the church. We’ll be making cute and easy Christmas ornaments. We will provide all supplies in a safe, socially distant environment - masks are required.
December 3, 2020 (RS email):
Hi everyone - me again! In case you didn't see it, we will be having a Relief Society Christmas dinner on Thursday, December 10th at 7pm at the church. We will indulge in boxed dinners from Jason's Deli and play some fun, socially distanced activities to add to the party! I know we are all celebrating things differently these days and many people are not comfortable attending in person. But for those that are interested, please sign up by Monday using the link in the RS email or reply/message me...
There was no option for anyone who didn't want to attend in-person. Thank goodness only twelve people signed up to attend because...
December 12, 2020 (ward email):
Bishop A_______ has contracted the virus and is at his home, in quarantine, for at least the next 10 days. Bishop will not be available for in-person or virtual interviews until further notice.
The bishop's wife was at the Relief Society Christmas party. No masks. Just chilling with each other because it's good for mental health. (Those of us continuing to distance ourselves from others are obviously immune to mental health issues).
February 26, 2021 (ward FB group):
For those who knew L_______, who used to be in our ward, I wanted to share that she's experienced a horrible tragedy with her husband's sudden death. I'll let you know if I get more information about how to help.
He died of COVID, by the way.
February 27, 2021 (Primary email):
We will do a socially distanced all outdoor Easter activity for our Primary children. We will use the entire parking lot for drive thru stations and surrounding outside areas divided into individual sections for each family to get out of their cars to search for eggs. You need to RSVP to either opt in or out of the Egg Hunt!
The primary held many amazing activities like this. The president was so very, very mindful. Insofar as she was allowed to be. She didn't have a choice about Sunday meetings.
March 16, 2021 (ward FB group):
The activity committee would love to have input on future activities. The last survey we asked you to fill out was pre-covid and therefore may not apply. Although the covid numbers are declining, many of us are still not vaccinated or not yet feeling comfortable with certain types of activities, but still want to socialize in the safest way possible. You can send ideas or input to...
Please note: We had a single "zoom-in" activity on April 22, 2021. Everything since has been in-person with no masking, no distancing, no option to zoom.
April 1, 2021 (ward FB group):
L______ (you may recall her husband passed away suddenly about a month ago)...
Same guy (immediately above) who died from COVID. There have been a few other COVID deaths I've heard of in our area. But mostly we just don't talk about it.
...is moving back to Idaho and is looking for a home for one of their cats. This is Mittens, an indoor/outdoor cat that is a year and a half. She is spayed and has had her first round of shots. Litter box, bowls, and food will come with her. If you’re interested, you can reply to this post or PM me and I’ll get you connected to L_________.
April 13, 2021 (primary email):
Quick Survey due to the Bishop’s announcement that we will bring back the 2nd hour in-person very soon to our church services.
If we offer an in-person Primary, we have to know numbers in order to have CDC recommended spacing b/w each person. Right now for children it is 3 feet.
Parents - Would your children be coming to Primary? There is no pressure to do so, we just need to know numbers.
Teachers - Would you return to teach in person? There is no pressure to do so, we just need to make sure we have enough teachers if we have kids returning.
We are exploring how to offer in-person and virtual but that may not be a weekly thing.
April 13, 2021 (my response):
We have a few family members with underlying conditions, so we'll be delaying our return for a while longer.
Andrew and I are on our way to being fully vaccinated. At that point I may feel comfortable holding in-person activities for the girls (as I mentioned), but will probably not feel comfortable sending Benjamin to activities for a while (he's one of our children with an underlying condition; the other is Alexander, who has a congenital airway defect). I recognize that my children probably wouldn't DIE if they contracted COVID, but I've already spent weeks of my life at a hospital bedside watching my child struggle to breathe and...it wasn't exactly my FAVOURITE activity...so...I'd like to not do that again, if at all possible. :)
April 17, 2021 (primary text):
Hello Activity Day Leaders,
Bishop had mentioned about opening the 2nd hours for church meeting. I would like to know how do you feel about having Activity Day in person?
How comfortable are you for meeting in person?
If you are not comfortable right now, when do you think you will be ready to meet?
April 17, 2021 (my response, assuming the primary presidency had simply not coordinated responses yet):
I’m not fully vaccinated yet, but should be by June and would probably feel ok (but not great) about meeting in person by then. I probably won’t be sending my children to any activities indoors for quite some time, however. So, as a parent, I would need to be told precisely how every activity would be working to maintain what I would deem appropriate social distancing.
I know I’m one of the people being annoying about not having in-person activities. But I also spent five weeks of my life at a hospital bedside watching my child struggle to breathe and THEN spent quite a lot of time lugging around oxygen tanks for said child, so I’m not too keen on potentially repeating that experience.
May 2, 2021 (email from Andrew to the bishop):
I just finished talking with Bro. K_____ for the first time about Sunday School things and I’m excited to start working with him and with the different classes. It’ll be great!
One thing that came up during our call was our family’s plans for the future once 2nd hour classes resume. He mentioned that some on the ward council might not know about different families’ plans for resuming church and sounded surprised when I told him about our situation, so he said he’d mention it during ward council next week. I figured I’d also let you know our situation too (hence this e-mail)
Two of our kids have respiratory issues. Benjamin was hospitalized for 5 weeks after he was born because of ARDS (and was on/off a ventilator for a while), and we had to have him on oxygen for a couple months at home, and his whole life he’s struggled with breathing when getting a cold/flu (he’s been to the ER a few times). Alexander was born with laryngomalacia and other respiratory tract issues. His airway has improved with time, but he still struggles when sick.
Accordingly, we’ve stayed quarantined at home since March 2020. We know that the risk of COVID infection for children is low, but given Benjamin’s history in particular we’ve decided try to mitigate the risk as much as possible. All our kids have been homeschooling since the start of the pandemic and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
We’re concerned with returning to normal activities so soon in the middle of moderately high infection rates (and declining vaccination rates now). One of our high school friends just died two weeks ago, leaving 5 kids and a husband (several of whom were sick with COVID while she was hospitalized). Nancy’s brother-in-law’s cousins died a few weeks ago, leaving their kids orphans. I’ve had a couple students hospitalized with COVID in the past month, and a dozen or more have lost parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents to it. One of my research coauthors in Utah has lost a couple cousins in the past few months; another from India has seen dozens of friends hospitalized and die just in the past month.
May 3, 2021 (bishop's response)
Right now I do not know when we would be going back
The stake presidents have not decided yet.
The soonest it will be is June and could be later
It is possible that we could do what primary is doing and look at an option for having a youth class on another zoom account or even on face time on a phone
We will be discussing these options in ward council and will do our best
May 20, 2021 (stake email):
Based on the May 13, 2021 Centers for Disease Control announcement, the _______ Georgia Stake will no longer require masks or social distancing in our buildings for those who have been vaccinated. Regardless, some will desire to continue wearing masks. Our congregations will be a mixture of masks and no masks. We encourage everyone to not be judgmental of either position. This statement applies to our stake conference meetings this weekend. In addition, going forward administration of the sacrament in our sacrament meetings will resemble pre-Covid practices. However, young men will continue to wear masks while administering the sacrament. We will continue these practices so long as Covid numbers stay where they are or improve.
May 31, 2021 (direct text message):
Hi Nancy. It's B_________. I just wanted to let you know that I'm taking the YW (with Sister D___________) on an outdoor walk for the YW activity this Wednesday. We will be outdoors the whole time and we will meet at P________ Park at 7 PM. We've both been fully vaccinated, and many of the girls have had their first shots as well. We can easily maintain social distance and wear masks of course. If Rachel and Miriam would like to join us...
May 31, 2021 (my response):
I will talk to them and see how they feel about it.... I know we've been stinkers about social distancing, but I just know too many people who've either been really sick or have even died (including a friend from high school—36 years old, healthy as could be) and I have a relative on a ventilator right now. I know we're close to being in a good place but...we're not quite there yet (IMO). Rachel is getting her second shot later this week, but Miriam won't qualify for some time. Personally, I think an outdoor walk should be fine and I appreciate you explaining the activity so well (often their/our decisions to not attend were based on a seeming lack of consideration to distancing/masking). But I will talk with them and let you know what we decide.
May 31, 2021 (her response):
It's a personal decision for everyone and I'm so sorry for your losses, esp. a young mom and friend. That's is hard. I've lost 3 relatives. I think we are all doing our best...
And that was it.
That was our slippery slope. I let them attend that outdoor activity. And then another outdoor activity. And then one day a thunderstorm whipped up at an activity so they went indoors. And then one day it was too hot so they decided to move indoors. And then Rachel was the YW president and felt obligated to attend whether activities were inside or outside. And no one wanted to continue to plan outdoor activities. And no one ever let me know about masking and/or distancing protocols ever again because everything is a "personal decision" (they wouldn't want to accidentally encourage someone to wear a mask because that might be offensive).
Stupid, stupid, stupid!
We also let them attend in-person YW lessons on Sundays because Rachel was the YW class president and felt obligated to attend. And then Miriam got vaccinated...so we let her attend. And, again...
Stupid, stupid, stupid!
Well, we're smarter now. We won't be sharing oxygen with an unmasked congregation any time soon.
Which, I can see now. I can see how stupid that sounds "unmasked congregation." Folks we are congregating. Without masks!!! In a global pandemic!!!!!
I mean, we were wearing masks. And by "we" I mean those members of our family who were attending. Which wasn't even most of us.
But now we're all sick. Somehow.
Which is confusing given how many remarks we've heard over the pulpit about how this thing is "over."
June 4, 2021 (primary email):
We are returning to in-person primary! If you are not returning to in-person yet, you will receive a separate email with info on virtual Singing Time. [no email ever came] Please see the attachments for class assignments, map, and schedule. As stated before, teachers who are vaccinated may choose not to wear a mask. If a child doesn’t keep their mask on, we will not make them leave or force them to keep it on.
July 11, 2021 (ward email):
There no longer will be church-led meetings through Zoom. We look forward to seeing you all in person!
(Zoom was later reinstated August 21 when the first presidency issued a statement that...we should continue to have Zoom links).
September 12, 2021 (primary activity days email):
We are very excited to start activity days again. This week, we will be brainstorming with the boys to see what kind of activities they want to do, We also have some fun games planned.
Please note that we have made some changes since we last met. First of all, We will be meeting on Tuesdays at 7:00 pm. The second big change is that we will be meeting in person at the church building. If you are uncomfortable meeting in person for health reasons, please reach out to me or T_______.
September 12, 2021 (my response):
We don’t plan on participating in person until the kids can be vaccinated. I recognize that we are among the last holding out on this issue, so feel free to focus your energy on the other boys and we will join in when we feel it’s safe for our family to do so.
December 8, 2021 (ward FB page):
Please join us for our 2021 ward Christmas party this Saturday at 5pm at the church. Bring a dessert to share and a service idea for our service swap (like a white elephant gift exchange)! Cookie decorating and Face Painting for the kids.
December 11, 2021 (ward FB page):
It's party time!!
Please come and have fun!!
Can't wait to see everyone tonight!!
March 15, 2022 (ward FB page):
Please join us for a fun Relief Society night on March 24 at 7 pm. We will be eating food, talking about food, making food, and learning about food. But the most important thing is that WE GET TO HANG OUT WITH EACH OTHER! There will be a surprise gift for everyone who shows up. So, please come!!
May 19, 2022:
Included below is the Zoom link for sacrament meeting starting 22 May and after. Please be aware the the Zoom link has changed. The previous link will no longer work.
Bishop A______ asks that you please DO NOT share this link.
I don't quite remember when the decision was made to not have a public zoom link. Sometime in mid-April, I believe. The announcement came from over the pulpit (if only I had a record of all the verbal remarks we heard about the need to attend in person). But despite all of this, it has always been "[my] prerogative to determine what steps [I] will take to protect her from illness."
Absolutely "no pressure" to return at all.