How to Hold a Community Group During a Pandemic

By JM (Mike) Nelson


The 2020 pandemic need not preclude Community Group meetings. We can, of course, use Zoom.us, as we do for our regular meetings. The advantage is that Zoom is not limited by distance; the disadvantage is that it is a bit impersonal. For a more personal aspect, we could also meet in a small group yet maintain appropriate distancing.

A friend called to say that there were five of us who could meet in his back yard and feed mosquitos or in his front yard and sunburn, keeping sufficient distance to stay healthy but close enough to talk. Seemed like a good idea, but bugs and sun didn’t sit well. I suggested my place: no mosquitos, and ample shade. We had an informal group meeting on the North Side. We are planning to have another. Perhaps there was some risk, but it seemed minimal; we kept apart, and only one at a time at the snack table.

Living alone, and being isolated over 75% of my waking hours has been great, but the 25% of twice a week socialization was more significant than I had imagined. Ramping up to100% isolation seemed a lot more than just an additional 25%. Having face to face conversation with a few friends was a high point, and I want to do it again.

On my shaded deck, I can seat ten people, at least six feet apart. I have a 200 ft. drive way with off-street parking for ten vehicles, and I will provide oatmeal cookies and cupcakes, untouched by human hands. BYOB or drink my bottled water or diet Dr Pepper. Were it to rain, my living room can also seat ten people, four to six feet apart. My only deficiency is that I only have four outdoor chairs, so some will need to provide their own, sit on a work stool or on the concrete (consider bringing a cushion for that).

Survey your potential. If you have parking, outdoor seating area, and outdoor furniture, measuring your distancing limits will determine how many you can accommodate. An easily-accessible hand washing station would also be good. Most of the community groups have been less than ten, so it doesn’t take all that much space. Furthermore, via an RSVP requirement, you can easily set limits, or even have revolving groups meeting as often as you want. Though we can’t meet as before, we can, if we plan judiciously, improve the quality of our imposed isolation.

I am near Kuykendahl and FM1960. If interested in attending a meeting, send email to <jmnelson@cloudnet.com> with preferences for date and time and whether you could provide your own chair.

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