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The question we’re still asking in our conversations about planning our u3a activities is how to manage the demands of Covid. Of course, as members of a social organisation, each of us must decide when and how to attend any u3a gatherings, whether they’re indoors or out.
As I’ve mentioned in previous newsletters, group convenors who are hiring meeting rooms must ensure that their group members follow the guidelines given by the accommodation provider. However, if successful in-person meetings are to take place, I feel sure that everyone in our groups will understand and be happy to help where new restrictions have been introduced or extra preparation and cleaning is required. Remember, if you feel unwell or have had close contact with anyone testing positive for COVID, please don’t attend a live meeting.
Over the last 18 months we’ve learned quite a bit about using technology for our u3a activities, but we’re still discovering what is possible, what works well online, and which activities we should delay restarting until it’s wise to do so. Some u3as have started to hold larger meetings such as coffee mornings, but we’ll continue to use Zoom for the monthly coffee morning talks until at least November. Our IT Champions are working on ways to extend the reach of our coffee mornings by making them ‘hybrid’ meetings. This is to make it possible for any member with online access to ‘attend’ our in-person meetings, even if unable to physically get to the venue. The IT Champions have written a short introduction to hybrid meetings.
With the support of the committee, I intend to consider whether we could organise a social event for members – maybe as early as October – unless Covid numbers in the meantime make holding it inadvisable. We’ll see how things develop from there.
All that will be happening over the coming months, but as we start our new ‘learning year’, it would be wonderful to hear from members with ideas for new groups. The u3a ethos is not only to learn new things, but also to share with others our own knowledge, expertise and interests. If you have work-based experience you could share with us, I’d be delighted to hear from you.