Pandemic Strategy

Tennessee Valley Wood Club

Operations Strategy During the COVID19 Pandemic



Since the COVID 19 pandemic arrived in February 2020, the Tennessee Valley Wood Club has canceled our regularly scheduled monthly meetings as well as almost all of our other activities. At the beginning, we had hoped that we would be up and running by now. However, the current outlook for the virus has not improved. Therefore, we have recognized the need for a strategy that will guide our return to normal.

The goal of this plan is to inform the Club membership that we are still together and will meet face-to-face at the right time in the right place. Any suggestions for improvement or other considerations that should be included in our Club plan are very welcome.

COVID 19 Countermeasure Compliance

The Tennessee Valley Wood Club will comply with all public health guidance provided by the State of Tennessee and any meeting constraints required by the University of Tennessee Space Institute UTSI). In addition, the Wood Club Executive Committee will implement those guidances and requirements with additional considerations that may be peculiar to the Club such as the advanced average age and wide areal range of the membership and the difficulty in maintaining social distancing at some of our activities. We will monitor a specific metric so stated by the State of TN: something like a near-zero level of new COVID infection to determine the duration of our pandemic operations plan. With this approach, it will be clear to all of the Wood Club membership how we are proceeding and why.

In a group environment like the Wood Club, the risk accepted by one is a risk imposed on all. Each member is expected to evaluate his/her own probability of carrying the virus before deciding to attend any Wood Club function. Mask wearing, hand washing, social distancing and limiting attendance to small groups will be implemented at any Wood Club activity until the COVID risk has passed. It will be inappropriate to criticize any member who decides to avoid any meeting or activity based on his/her risk of contracting the virus.

Return to Normal

We will resume monthly Wood Club meetings and Wood Club activities only when a specific metric has been achieved and so stated by the State of TN: near-zero level of new COVID infection when the risk of having to postpone Club meetings afterwards is also near-zero. Resuming meetings too soon will make it harder to resume after a second series of meeting cancellations.


Club membership dues that were paid for 2020 will be good for 2021 as well. We have $4200 in our account. With no expenses on the horizon, we can afford a lapse in income. Anyone wishing to become a new member will provide their application by mail or email. New member dues will be $10 to cover 2020 and 2021.


The Wood Club uses three means to communicate with the membership: the web site, the newsletter and email blasts. Without monthly meetings, the content in the first two has dropped off. Email blasts have continued as required to notify the membership of tool sales and other events / opportunities that the Wood Club does not control.

The Wood Club Executive Committee is aware that the Club membership is in need of more communication, not only to maintain interest in Wood Club activities but to maintain the morale of the membership. Fellowship is a huge part of who we are. Perhaps, each member could recognize the value in reaching out (email, phone call, personal visit) to another Club member whom you haven’t seen in a while just to see what they are doing.

Additionally, without a monthly show and tell, many of our completed projects are not being highlighted. Again, each member is encouraged to send in a show and tell photo to the next newsletter.

Monthly Club Meetings

Resumption of regular monthly Wood Club meetings depends on the availability of the meeting room at UTSI. The Executive Committee has briefly searched for alternate meeting locations. There really are no options for meeting inside and the option to meet outside has not been fully explored. It may be possible to meet outside in a sheltered area, with social distancing and everyone wearing a mask. With no more than 20 members gathered for a 1 – 2 hour meeting, members will have the opportunity to meet and share what they have been doing. Show and tell might be possible with no touching of show items by anyone but maker of item. 

Club Activities

Since our Club activities typically involve hands-on workshops and social gatherings, it is difficult to envision any of these activities until our return to normal. 

Carver Clinics

The bi-monthly Carver Clinics have continued through the pandemic mostly because the small group of carvers are wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. They meet of the first and third Saturdays of the month at Jim Jolliffe’s shop from 8:30 to 10:00 am. 

Small Group Gatherings

Using the Carvers Clinics as a model, small gatherings of other wood workers might be possible. Attendance at a small group gathering should be offered to the whole club membership on a first come basis with a not-to-exceed number of participants. The web site and/or the newsletter would be an appropriate means of advertising such a small gathering. 

Club Projects

At least one Club project, construction of seventeen of Little Free Libraries for Franklin County, has been completed early in the pandemic. At that time, some but not all of the current COVID countermeasures were implemented. However, it would have been feasible to comply with all of them had they been required at that time.

Future of the Wood Club

When the “all clear” is given, the Wood Club will continue as we have for thirty-five years. Until then, it will take some ingenuity to maintain the attention of the Wood Club membership. Any and all suggestions for appropriate activities will be appreciated. More importantly, each member should do their part to ensure that we are all present at the next full Wood Club meeting. We will do this by complying with the recommended COVID countermeasures and by making fellowship a priority.