Final Report and Analysis of the April 2022 Covid-19 Questionnaire

UUS:E Emergency Preparedness Team, May 24, 2022

Table of Contents


Section 1 – The 7 situations ranked for levels of comfort:                    

  • Mandatory mask wearing
  • Social distancing
  • Limiting attendance
  • Food and drinks being allowed
  • Leaving windows open
  • The Omicron subvariant BA.2 continuing as cause of surge
  • Overall comfort with restrictions at the time of the survey

Section II – Reporting on several questionnaire Narrative categories:

  • Expectations on different rates of removing restrictions
  • Reporting on 4 categories spontaneously listed:
    1. Having Zoom meetings
    2. The presence of the BA.2 subvariant of Omicron
    3. Concern for the vulnerable – the unvaccinated and immunocompromised.
    4. Offering suggestions for considerations
  • Reporting on 3 categories that won’t affect future decisions:
  1. No comments offered
  2. Miscellaneous comments
  3. Expressions of appreciation


In late February, 2022, the CDC changed the recommendations for groups and agencies to implement mitigation steps.  The new process is now to recommend actions taken by individuals based on hospital admissions and deaths in the counties in which they live.  The primary reason for this change was impatience by the public to follow mandated mask wearing and vaccination recommendations imposed for participation in organizations and agency gatherings.

This new streamlined approach allows people to view Covid-19 as being endemic.  It will never completely go away.  However, scientists expect that these guidelines will result in higher morbidity and mortality than with other endemic diseases like the seasonal flu.  The assessment of risk is now up to the individual.

The UUS:E Policy Board has defined the need to set individual restrictions based on the scientific analysis of the rise and fall of the surges and on the perception of acceptable safety by the congregation.  In this confusing interaction between science, politics and culture, what are the differing perceptions of acceptable safety levels within our church family?  This questionnaire was developed to provide some answers.  The following summarizes the findings:

Report of Findings and Analysis of the April 2022 Questionnaire

The questionnaire is in two parts.  Seven situations were cited and the responders were asked to indicate the degree of comfort they felt with each.  Then, a second section asked for narrative comments.

Section I – Rating of comfort level for different situations:  On the following pages, each situation in Section I of the questionnaire asked the respondent to rank their perception to different actions on a scale of 1 to 5.  For the following analyses, the two levels of scoring at either side were consolidated in the resulting graphs to visually discern the three sides of the issue.  All original data from the responses are displayed.



 1) – Mandatory Mask Wearing 

“If wearing masks was optional, how comfortable would you be attending these events?”

Discussion: Of all the respondents, (46%) indicated they would be most or more comfortable if they or others were allowed to enter the building unmasked than those (31%) who would be less or least comfortable.  Part of this finding includes many who might prefer not to wear masks.  Another part is those who could feel uncomfortable breathing air that might contain aerosoled varioles exhaled by unmasked others, putting them at risk for infection, even if they were wearing a mask

Analysis: In the future, these respondents would tend to accept changes to lessen restrictions on mandatory face masks more than we have done before.  But the percentage of those who would be less comfortable have to be considered by not moving this way rapidly.  More education is needed on the need for better ventilation as a pre-requisite to lessen mask wearing to make such a move safer.

This analysis will be used as we develop future changes to our policies.


2) – Social Distancing

 “If social distancing was not required for events, RE, or Sunday services,
would you feel okay with that?”


 Discussion: More respondents (49%) of the respondents would feel greater comfort than the 32% who would feel lesser comfort if they were allowed to sit closer together during Sunday services and other gatherings.  It is now recognized that Covid-19 infections are spread by aerosoled varioles suspended in the air.  Anyone who is infectious can reduce the release of their virus particles into the air by wearing a properly fitted mask.  The ambient air near the infectious person not wearing a mask will have a higher concentration of varioles as they disperse throughout the room. making social distancing important to control the spread.

Analysis: If a future decision is considered to reduce social distancing, the level of mask wearing needs to be examined.  And, again, the percentage of those who would be less comfortable have to be considered by not moving this way too rapidly.

This analysis will be used as we develop future changes to our policies.


 3) – Limiting Attendance

“If limits on Sunday services (currently 60) were lifted, would that be of concern to you.”

 (NOTE: Responses indicating greater risk are displayed in the above graph by its equivalent, lesser comfort)

 Discussion:  Fewer people (32%) would have greater comfort with an increase in the attendance at Sunday services and other gatherings than the 49% than would be uncomfortable.

Analysis: If a decision is made to increase the attendance limit, it should be more limited than we are used to making in the past.  But the change should not be seen as precipitous as those with lesser comfort would resist.  The consideration of improved ventilation with the HVS system would be an important factor to consider with such a decision.

This analysis will be used as we develop future changes to our policies.


4) – Food and Drinks Being Allowed

 “Would you be comfortable if food and drink were allowed at events, RE or Sunday services?”

 Discussion: More respondents (55%) feel greater comfort with having coffee and snacks or meals in the building than the 28% who would feel uncomfortable.  The immediate cause for this may be the familiarity people have eating in restaurants.  The frequent cause for limiting this variable is that masks cannot be kept on when drinking and eating.  But as restaurants are learning, adequate ventilation and social distancing between patrons can compensate for not wearing masks.

Analysis: Drinking and eating might be considered possible as long as there is adequate ventilation – including improving the HVAC system, and meeting out of doors – and keeping small groups standing or diners sitting less crowded closely together.

This analysis will be used as we develop future changes to our policies


5) – Leaving Windows Open 

“If windows were not open during events RE or Sunday services, would that be of concern to you?”

(NOTE: Responses indicating greater risk are displayed in the above graph by its equivalent, lesser comfort)

 Discussion:  Fewer respondents (34%) reported feeling greater comfort than the 46% that would feel lesser comfort if the windows were closed during meetings.  It has been reported that cold air in winter, and humid air in summer makes the rooms uncomfortable.

Analysis: These findings lend urgency to modifying the HVAC system to provide adequate outside air in rooms allowing the windows to remain closed.

 This analysis will be used as we develop future changes to our policies


6) – The Omicron Subvariant BA.2 Continuing as Cause of Surge

“To what extent will the new variant BA.2 impact your thinking on safety on attendance at events, RE or Sunday services?”

 (NOTE: Responses indicating greater risk are displayed in the above graph by its equivalent, lesser comfort)

 Discussion: More respondents (46%) reported they are not impacted in making decisions about safety considering the BA.2 subvariant before attending gatherings at the church.  This contrasts with the 35% who said they were influenced.  This balance shows that many respondents are aware of the greater risks presented by this subvariant being more infectious while not resulting in more serious disease.

Analysis: This balanced awareness and concern over the characteristics of different mutations of Covid-19 does not significantly impact the perception of acceptable levels of safety of the various mitigation measures we are considering in the future.


7) – Overall Comfort with Restrictions at the Time of The Survey

 “Presently, with precautions in place, how comfortable are you attending events, Religious Education (RE) or Sunday services?”


 Discussion: The vast majority of the respondents (74%) expressed their greater confidence in attending events at the church with the precautions that are in place.  This contrasts with 12% who are less than comfortable.  One explanation for this may be the people who are vulnerable – unvaccinated, or unable to gain immunity if vaccinated, because of their immunological condition, and other risk factors.  There is certainly a psychological consideration where many may have lingering concerns or fears about the coronavirus pandemic and its possible impact on one’s health.

Analysis: The response to this variable is reassuring that the general sense of acceptable safety has and continues to be met.  It also stresses the importance of virtual alternatives, e.g. Zoom meetings, to continue to meet the needs of those who feel uncomfortable with attending in-person gatherings.


Section II – Categorization of 147 narrative responses.  For each of the questionnaire forms returned, the respondent was asked to make comments.  Entries were made (or not made) of thoughts as they came to mind.  A review of all comments found that all entries fit into one of nine categories.  A tenth category was defined as “no comments.”  It is noted that some of the narratives offered several thoughts that fit more than one category and these were all assigned.  Therefore, the total number of entries in all categories are greater than the 147 responses listed.


8)  – Opinions on need for faster or slower movement to return to normal

Description: Of the 147 returns, 51 (35%) offered comments in the narrative portion about the pace of reopening in the face of ever-fluctuating risk in the number of Covid-19 that rise and fall.

Analysis: In the future, these respondents would likely accept changes that would be slightly less restrictive than we have made before.  But that edge is narrow, and dramatic moves to remove or impose restrictions would not be possible.  Those on either side can easily see that not everyone feels the same way that they do.

 This analysis will help us pace the development of future changes to our policies. 


Three separate considerations were analyzed.

These three categories are separately discussed:

A. Zoom Meetings: 14 (10%) of the 147 respondents mentioned Zoom meetings in their narrative comments. All were appreciative of having this resource.

B. Reference to BA.2: 10 (7%) of the people completing the narrative made reference to the then current Omicron subvariant causing the upsurge in cases.

C. Protect the Vulnerable: 7 (5%) of the respondents referred to those who are not or cannot be vaccinated. Some of these may be among the vulnerable people.

D. Suggestions Made: For the 21 (14%) who offered suggestions for future activity, a listing follows on the next page:


  • It is important to encourage attendance to maintain a sense of community.
  • A slow, measured reopening should happen based on the Covid status.
  • If we raise the limit of attendees to over 60, we must require masks.
  • We must maintain any two strategies: Limited attendance/social distancing OR masks and windows open for services.
  • (3 people commented) Hold outdoor services (perhaps using a tent).
  • (2 people commented) Modify the HVAC system to improve ventilation.
  • What if we required everyone to be boosted?
  • (3 people commented) We should use the new CDC guidelines as the primary tool for church safety.
  • We should require no hugs and no handshakes.
  • Individually packaged snacks outdoors (as is done for RE) is okay.
  • (2 people commented) Food and drink or other activities outside are good.
  • How about requiring vaccinations for those over 12?
  • If BA.2 continues to surge just a bit, we should not change the protocols.
  • “If people don’t feel well, they should stay home” should be stressed.
  • Consider installing UV lights in the air ducts.

Analysis: Many of these suggestions support work behind the scenes to increase safety in the future.  Many ideas are either too complicated or expensive to carry out at this time.  And they might not achieve any improvement in safety.  But each was reviewed and appreciated because they demonstrate that all respondents were thinking and willing to share in the maintenance of a safe environment in our church.

Some of this analysis will be used to suggest future changes to our building infrastructure and our policies.  Others will trigger explanations on the scientifically approved mitigation techniques to make the environment safe.  See upcoming articles in the weekly postings of the Frequently Asked Questions in the E-Blast, posters and by other means.


 Findings not influencing future decisions are analyzed:

These three categories are discussed separately:

A. No Comment: The narrative section of the survey was designed so that the space to make comments had to have an entry to be returned. A blank space held the survey form open.  Many wrote in “no comment” or “N/A”.  A few entered just a period “.” 19% of the 147 returned forms contained no comments.

B. Miscellaneous Comments: Of the survey forms returned, 12% stated comments that did not fall into the 10 categories defining the above discussions. Most of these were just verbal restatements of the preferences stated in Section 1, above.  One example, the words that stated: “I feel most comfortable when everyone is wearing a mask.”

C. Appreciation and Thanks: of the 147 people filling out the narratives, 10% took the time to express their gratitude to the members of the task force, for conceiving, conducting and reporting on this survey, and for all their work over two years to keep the UUS:E safe.

In exchange, the members of the Policy Board, the Emergency Preparedness Task Force and the church staff return their appreciation for the help and cooperation everyone provided as we work toward improving safety.