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COVID eksenannounce From the EK Seneschal News

Kingdom COVID19 Response

Greetings, Tyger Populace, 

I want to apologize again to the populace.  I am sorry that the decisions I made caused upset. I hope that the coming information will help to begin to mend your faith in me and that we can all step together to find a middle ground. 

To that end, I would like to share the Kingdom’s current response to COVID with you. I would ask that you please read all the way through, then re-read, as there will be a lot of information here, and there is no good way for me to break it up. I have provided a Highlights section here, so you know what to expect.

New Kingdom-Wide Variance

A Kingdom-wide variance has been approved by the Society Seneschal to go into effect immediately and will end on March 1, 2023.  It is as follows:

Indoor Masking for all persons age 2 and over will be required at all official SCA Activities (events, practices, meetings, etc.) in the United States portion of the East Kingdom, under the following condition: 

When the county where the activity is located reaches a status of HIGH on the CDC Community Levels map found here: 

https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view?list_select_state=all_states&list_select_county=all_counties&data-type=CommunityLevels&null=CommunityLevels

This is determined by the data on the Thursday just prior to the activity. 

If state or local regulations are more restrictive, those measures are to be followed.

For the Canadian provinces in Tir Mara, provincial and local guidance will be followed.

This variance is in effect immediately and will end on March 1, 2023.  

Examples:

An official practice will be held on Tuesday, January 3, 2023 in Springfield, MA.  If, on the Thursday prior, December 29, 2022, the Community Level in Hampden County, MA is listed as HIGH according to the map above, then masks will be required at the practice on January 3, 2023.  

An event will be held in Bangor, ME on Saturday, January 21, 2023.  On the Thursday prior, January 19, 2023, the Community Level in Penobscot County, ME is listed as LOW according to the map above. As such, masks will not be required. 

An event will be held in Montreal, Quebec on Saturday, February 4, 2023.  On January 12, 2023, the local government issued a mask mandate requiring indoor masking due to an increase in cases.  Masks will be required at the event on February 4, 2023.

(Variance wording stand-alone found here: https://seneschal.eastkingdom.org/new-kingdom-wide-variance-effective-11-11-2022/

As the Kingdom has followed the CDC guidance from the beginning of the pandemic, we will continue to do so.

The CDC has recommended the use of the Community Levels map to determine action as it addresses the impact of COVID19 on communities.  The chart below is taken directly from the CDC website and shows how the Community Levels are calculated.

(Chart pulled from CDC website on 11/10/2022)

The CDC has recommendations based on these levels, and they can be located here: 

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/covid-by-county.html

Status of Variances

  • There are a few variances I approved for local practices and gatherings through November 30, 2022. Those will remain in effect through November 30, 2022 and then be replaced by the above Kingdom-wide variance. 

  • There are a couple of variances I denied, based on the above CDC map at the time of decision. As the Kingdom-wide Variance is in effect immediately, should the county in question fall into the HIGH category on the Thursday prior, then masks will be required at the event. 

As an example, this weekend is St. Eligius in New Haven, CT.  New Haven is in New Haven County.  

New Haven County’s current Community Level is MEDIUM.  As such, masks will not be required at the event. 

  • There are a few variances which are still “in the wings” so-to-speak.  No decision has been made on them as of yet. I will be formally denying those variances in favor of the Kingdom-wide Variance, as all of those requests have come in for after December 1, 2022. I will be sending those notifications out after this has been posted. 

— 

Requesting New Variances

Should you wish to request a variance to alter the Kingdom-wide variance (or any variance for that matter), there are a few steps which must be taken.  

  1. The request must come from the branch Seneschal. And specifically, must come from the seneschal@GROUPNAME.eastkingdom.org email address.
  2. It must be specific in nature and have a metric and/or reasons for an alteration. 
  3. Confirmation that the request has been received will be made in 48 hours and provide a decision timeline.
  4. If I agree with the variance request, I will send it to the Society Seneschal for review.  
  5. If I do not agree with the variance request, I will notify the branch Seneschal. 
  6. Should you wish to appeal my decision, the branch Seneschal would then email the Society Seneschal to request review. 

If you would like to have a conversation with me regarding this process, or have specific questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. 

Personal Responsibility and Illness

I want to stress the importance of taking care of yourself, your health (mental and physical), and those of your loved ones. 

If you are experiencing any symptoms of illness, regardless if they are COVID-related or not, please do not attend the event/practice/gathering. If you are playing the “allergies or cold” game, please assume cold and do not attend the event. 

If you test positive for COVID, please do not attend any event/gathering for 10 days, or when you have had 2 negative home tests 48 hours apart. The Kingdom has to rely on your honor for this, as we will not be allowed to ask for proof. Please choose to do the right thing. 

In addition, all members of the populace should be prepared to mask at events and gatherings. 

Masking and Distancing

With all that said, I recognize there is always more we can do to protect each other while also respecting each other. 

To this end, I ask that the people of the East begin to reframe how they interact with each other. Do not assume close contact is acceptable for everyone. Please ask before entering someone’s personal space. Remember just because you have received permission once, does not mean you always have permission. Similarly, if you are asked to mask when approaching someone, please do so. Consent is absolutely vital in our Society, and we should be making every effort to allow people that right. 

I strongly encourage people to mask when possible, with the best masks they have access to. The CDC, along with other sources, advise the best masks available are N95s or KN95s.

As such, with the support of the Crown and Heirs, I will make N95/KN95 masks available for any event attendees between this announcement and the end of the variance, March 1, 2023.

Masks will be available for any event that has a listing on the East Kingdom Event Calendar and will be shipped directly to someone who will be attending. 

To request masks for your event, the event steward just needs to complete the form linked here: https://forms.gle/8WoRJq2GUHHsetAk9

(If there is a problem with the form, please email me as soon as you are able, and I’ll get it fixed!) 

I have had several people ask if they can put verbiage out recommending masking at events. The short answer to that is “Absolutely!” I encourage groups to continue to promote masking.  This can include signs at events, language in event listings, and setting an example by wearing them. 

Commitment to Vigilance

I will be routinely checking the CDC website and keeping an eye on the state of the Kingdom and the COVID levels. Should things in the Kingdom change, I will review our next steps appropriately and act with the best interest of the Kingdom as a whole. 

I will be reviewing the existing variance in mid February 2023.

I hope you were able to get through all of that, and thank you for sticking with me. I am thankful for each and every voice in our Kingdom, and hope with the above measures in place we are able to come together again and enjoy our hobby. 

In Service,

Magistra Audrye Beneyt 
East Kingdom Seneschal

Categories
COVID eksenannounce From the EK Seneschal News

New Kingdom-wide Variance Effective 11/11/2022

The following variance has been approved by the Society Seneschal, to go in to effect immediately: 

Indoor Masking for all persons age 2 and over will be required at all official SCA Activities (events, practices, meetings, etc) in the United States portion of the East Kingdom, under the following condition: 

When the county where the activity is located reaches a status of HIGH on the CDC Community Levels map found here: 

https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view?list_select_state=all_states&list_select_county=all_counties&data-type=CommunityLevels&null=CommunityLevels

This is determined by the data on the Thursday just prior to the activity. 

If state or local regulations are more restrictive, those measures are to be followed.

For the Canadian provinces in Tir Mara, provincial and local guidance will be followed.

This variance is in effect immediately and will end on March 1, 2023.  

Examples:

An official practice will be held on January 3, 2023 in Springfield, MA.  If, on the Thursday prior, December 29, 2022, the Community Level in Hampden County, MA is listed as HIGH according to the map above, then masks will be required at the practice on January 3, 2023.  

An event will be held in Bangor, ME on January 21, 2023.  On the Thursday prior, January 19, 2023, the Community Level in Penobscot County, ME is listed as LOW according to the map above. As such, masks will not be required. 

An event will be held in Montreal, Quebec on February 4, 2023.  On January 12, 2023, the local government issued a mask mandate requiring indoor masking due to an increase in cases.  Masks will be required at the event on February 4, 2023.

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eksenannounce

A Kingdom, A Seneschal and a Pandemic

Greetings to the Tyger Populace, 

So many things have happened in the last two months that I’m not entirely sure where to begin.  Please hold tight, and come along for a little ride with me.  

 Let me start by recognizing we are a mighty and ferocious Kingdom, which is built upon a love for this hobby, a care for each other, and knowing when standing up is the right thing to do. 

When I made the decision to drop the mask mandate on October 1, 2022, I heard cries of outrage and cries of joy.  They varied from whispers to downright screams.  I heard each and every one. I felt all of them, and the turmoil it put on the Kingdom and its people was hard.  

When I stepped into this role back in April, I didn’t know quite how hard it would be to experience all of that first hand. Even having stood next to Medhbh for pretty much her entire time as Seneschal, I couldn’t anticipate how it would feel to stand in those shoes. If you were to ask any of my predecessors, they would tell you the same, I am absolutely sure of it.

All that is to say, I’m sorry. I am sorry that people felt (and still feel) stressed. I am sorry that people did not feel heard, and did not feel wanted. I am sorry to those who do not feel safe enough to share their thoughts. I firmly believe it is important to recognize when we have made a mistake which impacts so many others. I believe apologizing is important. I believe doing both of those things publicly when it is called for, is absolutely necessary. 

I want to acknowledge that, regardless of where a person stands on the topic, they are important. I repeat, each and every one of you is important. You are important to me, to the Crown, to the Kingdom. 

With that said, over the next day I will be releasing some information which I hope will help us all move forward as a Kingdom. I hope it will help us begin to walk towards each other again, instead of creating division. I hope we are able to find places to meet in the middle, where all feel safe, heard, and wanted.

I ask that you please be patient with me as I get this information out in a way which is clear, concise and easy to follow so it is done once without the need to retract, rephrase or explain in other ways.

With my love, and in service to the Kingdom of the East,

Audrye, KSen

Categories
eksenannounce From the EK Seneschal

Weekly Update – October 17, 2022

Good afternoon to the Tyger Populace!

I’m going to attempt to start doing a “weekly newsletter” of sorts to let you know what kinds of things are going on, and where I/We stand on certain situations. I’m hoping for weekly, but the reality is, it might be a bi-weekly update. It will cover things like the current state of the Kingdom, COVID, what events I’ll be attending, and other things as needed.

You’ll be able to find it here on the Seneschal’s Website, but it will also be cross-posted to the EK-Announce Lists as well Facebook/Discord.

State of the Kingdom

As one might imagine, the populace is a bit animated with the lifting of COVID restrictions in a rapid fashion. The voices are being heard in my office from both sides of the fence. This has caused a bit of delayed response, unfortunately, because it is important that I be able to read through all of the responses. While I may not always respond to every single one, they are being heard.

The other side effect to the email-chaos, is that some emails have slipped through the cracks and into a filter that should not have been the case! I’m pretty tech savvy, but even I get caught up sometimes! If you have not heard from me inside of a week regarding something, please resend the original email to me so I can review it.

Generally speaking, though, the events I have attended all seem to be in good spirits and people are happy to be together more regularly. It’s important to take care of ourselves and be cognizant of our own health as we continue to move forward. I would ask all local groups to continue to encourage spaces where all members of the populace can attend, whether they be in-person, online meetings, or a combination of both.

COVID Restrictions

And that brings me to the hot-topic directly. I have heard many voices both for and against the lifting of restrictions.

Some local groups have requested variances to the policies regarding indoor masking for events and local gatherings. Generally speaking, I have been granting them. In full transparency, I am not granting any variances regarding the vaccination/negative COVID tests as the Policy as written (and kept by the Board of Directors) is no longer effective as an actual measure of safety. I’ll leave that conversation for in person discussions, and am happy to have that.

I am currently working on a variance request to Society which, if successful, I believe will make much of the populace feel better, and provide a measure of control at a local level. It is presently being drafted and I’ll be sending it off to the Society Seneschal for review by the end of the week.

Thank you to all those who have shared their opinions, both for and against, the restrictions. And an extra thank you to all who have reached out to share words of support for the role and me personally while this is all going on. It has meant the world to me to see a message or an email pop in saying that they care and hope I am weathering all of this okay.

In closing, I really appreciate the effort and care the populace puts in to this Kingdom. Whether as a regular attendee of gatherings in person or virtual, a volunteer, a member of landed nobility, or the Crown, the passion of people in this Kingdom are what drew me to this role as Seneschal and will continue to drive my work here.

Thank you all for everything you do, and I hope to see you soon. The events I’ll be at are shared at the bottom of this note!

In Service,
Audrye

Upcoming Events

You’ll be able to find me at the following events:

October 29, 2022 – Crown Tournament of Mohammad and Corotica

November 12, 2022 – St. Eligius Arts & Sciences

November 18, 2022 – 100 Minutes War