Short Version – while the CDC has changed their mask guidelines, Æthelmearc is leaving our mask requirements in place for now.
Longer version – After much discussion with His Grace, Duke Christopher, Deputy Kingdom Seneschal for Pandemics, and in coordination with Their Majesties, Æthelmearc is leaving their mask guidelines in place. While the CDC has changed their mask guidance, our reasoning is that much of Æthelmearc is still in substantial or high transmission. It would be difficult to determine (and enforce) who could or could not be unmasked indoors – as many people travel from different areas to attend events and practices. We also have many AE folks who have health issues and we want to protect them as much as possible.
Duke Christopher and I both think that more of Æthelmearc needs to be more in the “green” zone before we change the mask rules.
Here’s the rules –
Children ages 2-5 must wear masks at all times.
All those who are unvaccinated, regardless of age or negative test status, must wear masks at all times, save those under 2.
Those who are fully vaccinated do not have to wear masks outside at events.
Everyone must wear masks inside if community transmission is high or substantial, regardless of vaccine status.
You can find AEthelmearc’s guidelines on masks (and other COVID guidelines here)
I know this is not what many of us want (myself included). We are hopeful that things will improve in the near future.
Folks, here’s the new signage that needs to be at all event notices, flyers, online announcements, and advertisements, as well as being posted in multiple locations at any and all SCA-sponsored functions going forward.
That means practices and gatherings, in event announcements, etc.
Basically, at any SCA function this notice MUST be posted going forward:
“Although the SCA complies with all applicable laws to try to ensure the health and safety of our event participants, we cannot eliminate the risk of exposure to infectious diseases during in-person events. By participating in the in-person events of the SCA, you acknowledge and accept the potential risks. You agree to take any additional steps to protect your own health and safety and those under your control as you believe to be necessary.”
First and foremost, it is approximately six months before the end of my term and it is time for a call for letters. While it is my intention to “re-up” for another two years with Their Majesties permission, I highly encourage everyone who is interested in applying for the position to please do so.
While my tenure has not been the normal experience for this office, it has been one of the best things I have done in my life and it is incredibly fulfilling to be able to help out our Kingdom. If you are interested in putting in a letter, you have until May 1st to send a letter to myself and Their Majesties.
If you are interested in being Kingdom Seneschal but are not quite ready (or do not think you are ready), please consider contacting me about a Deputy position. Æthelmearc can always use more.
As I mentioned in the recent Ælive, via email, and on social media, we have extended the fencing and fighting ban until at least April 1st. Hopefully, our numbers will be much better by then, as with the new vaccines, things are starting to look better and there may be a light at the end of the tunnel.
I also asked, and continue to ask, that we begin discussing just what does “re-opening Æthelmearc” will look like. Please send me your thoughts on what you think re-opening will be for you. This is the beginning of a conversation I would like for us to start, as a Kingdom, to have together.
I have a few things to cover tonight – some good, some more difficult. Bottom line up front – I need for you, for all of Æthelmearc, to hold two separate ideas at the same time – we must double-down right now on keeping ourselves safe, and we need to think about what re-opening looks like in the future.
First – doubling down to keep ourselves safe. Unfortunately, WV, PA, and NY’s infection rates are not good right now and, in conjunction with Their Majesties, The Earl Marshal, the Deputy Kingdom Seneschal for Pandemics, we are extending the fighting and fencing ban until at least April 1st. I also do not recommend having in-person gatherings for the next few months, as we deal with these new COVID variants. If you are going to have one, please contact Duke Christopher at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, I highly recommend doubling down on mask wearing – and getting the vaccine when it becomes available if your doctor recommends it for you. I got my first shot three weeks ago and so far no adverse reactions – but no super powers either.
So, now the better news. The SCA, in general, is starting to talk about what opening back up looks like, as the current projections, with the current vaccines, and the new vaccines that are coming on to market, show that we likely will be in a better place come summer. Also, Pennsic Staff and Coopers Lake are currently planning on Pennsic happening – though that does 100% depend on whether or not the State and County will permit it happening.
We are not opening up immediately, it will be likely summer before Æthelmearc opens up, but I would like for you to consider what that means for you. What form and timeline does reopening take, for yourselves, your family, your friends, your Shires, Dominion, and Baronies?
Please start thinking (and planning) about what the next summer may look like for you and yours. I encourage you to share these thoughts and concerns with me. Please email me at email@example.com. I have some thoughts but I would like to hear yours first. This is just the beginning of a conversation we will have together as a Kingdom over the next several months.
As part of our on-going series of Kingdom Officer profiles (see below), the Gazette interviewed Duke Christopher Rawlyns, the Kingdom Seneschal.
Photo by Master Thorpe
SCA Name/Persona Christopher Rawlyns. I’m a mid 14th century English Knight serving Edward of Woodstock, who many of you will know as the Black Prince.
How did you become interested in becoming Seneschal? Mistress Cori [the previous Kingdom Seneschal] asked me. I figured I could do the job, as I had been Earl Marshal and had three reigns as King, so I had a pretty decent idea of how the Kingdom ran. I also had a good working knowledge of the SCA governing documents.
What exactly do Seneschals do? What does the Kingdom Seneschal do? Seneschals are basically the chapter presidents in the eyes of the Corporate side of the SCA. The Kingdom Seneschal oversees the local and regional Seneschals and works with the Crown to maintain Law and assure that the Kingdom operates within the Governing Documents of the Society. The Seneschal also works very closely with the Exchequer to assure that Society and Kingdom financial policy are followed.
Do you have a general philosophy about how you do your job? In general, I tend to be a minimalist. I would prefer that I never be involved in any aspects of operations of local groups. However, that is sometimes unavoidable. I would prefer to help people problem-solve on their own rather than “fixing” problems when they get to my desk.
Who are your deputies, and what are their roles? I have deputy seneschals for each region, as well as a Law and Policy Deputy. They are responsible for each of the regions of the Kingdom in the case of the Regional Deputies. The Law and Policy Deputy keeps track of changes to Law and Policy that are made at Curias. [ed. note: The Curia Regis is a meeting held by the Crown at least once per Reign, for the purpose of conducting the Kingdom’s business.]
What is the Æthelmearc Kingdom Seneschal’s role for Pennsic? The Æthelmearc Seneschal is part of the Pennsic Seneschal Group for the Seneschals of Æthelmearc, the East and the Middle work to formulate the policy within which the Pennsic War functions. The host kingdom Seneschal is the ultimate legal authority for Pennsic. The role of the Æthelmearc Seneschal is unique here. At Pennsic 47 (2018) the Seneschal of Æthelmearc will be the Seneschal of both the host and sponsoring Kingdoms as Pennsic takes place on Æthelmearc land. Also, the Æthelmearc Seneschal is the only Seneschal who may remove Society sanction from the event, as Pennsic takes place in this Kingdom.
How would someone get involved in the seneschalate? Why would they want to? If you are interested in being a seneschal, I would suggest that you speak to your local seneschal. They are often looking for deputies who may eventually replace them when they step down.
Being a seneschal is simply another means of serving the society. Most of this service is to the “non-game” side of the Society though. Nonetheless, it is vital to the functioning of the Society. It is service that is often done “behind the scenes”, although, at Kingdom events such as Crown and Coronation, the Kingdom Seneschal often has a very visible role in the proceedings.
What is an example of something you think the general populace should know, but don’t? Most issues should be solved on a local level by the people who understand them the best.
Are there any changes coming? We are going to start taking an in-depth look at the zip codes that belong to each group within the Kingdom. Before the end of my term, I would like each group to have a definitive set of zip codes that clearly belong to that group. It is my goal to resolve any “shared” zip codes within this Kingdom. Local seneschals should look for upcoming emails about this from their regional. Ideally they should also dust off their zip code list as we will soon be asking for them.