Re: COVID divisions
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sun, 15 Aug 2021 08:58:27 -0700 (PDT)
> On Aug 14, 2021, at 7:24 PM, Dean smith via Cohousing-L <cohousing-l [at] 
>> wrote:
> As a forming community seeking members we have a covid-delemma.  Most of our 
> members have gotten the vaccine.  Some have not have gotten the vaccine.  
> Those who have the vaccine refuse to be around an 40% is not.  If 60% of our 
> folks refuse to associate with the other 40%, we could be in for some 
> striking divisions.  Should the first question for prospective members be, 
> “Have you been vaccinated for Covid-19?"
> In an established community  this could even cause it  to split.  Am I over 
> reacting or is this an issue?
> It seems to me that living in community almost demands that we all protect 
> each other be being vaccinated.  Yet those who refuse feel that they have 
> good reasons.  Is it possible that the refusers wouldn’t be interested in 
> community anyway?  

I requoted this whole message because in full it contains all the conflicts of 
new communities. Basically, what is cohousing?

1. Is cohousing doing what the majority thinks is the wisest course?
2. Do neighbors decide what is the wisest course?
3. Is everyone expected to do what “everyone” else is doing?
4. Do you reach a consensus on the basis of truth and follow that — as one body?
5. Can groups with beliefs that are so closely associated with lack respect for 
science and for reality be good communitarians?

(The closely related unanswered question is: Has anyone found a Republican in 
cohousing yet?)

Firstly, I think it is important not to paint everyone with a yes/no brush. 
There are all kinds of reasons for not getting vaccinated and for getting 
vaccinated — personal health status, religious beliefs, social theories that 
favor pandemics as necessary population corrections, etc. 

Is it any more positive that many of the vaccinated are only vaccinated because 
it was the thing to do. Or their neighbors or parents set up the appointments?

As a decision-making exercise that could benefit the group would be looking at 
ways the accommodate both groups. Vaccination is not as we are finding proof 
that the person next to you is not infectious. We have 2 residents in 
quarantine now who attended a celebration with all vaccinated friends — one of 
whom was diagnosed a day later.

So it isn’t, as most questions aren’t, as clear as the reality based 
pro-vaccination groups regards it. We have had incredibly good luck with a 
COVID team that thinks up things that allow everyone to participate. As 
vaccinations now 100% amongst our members eligible for vaccinations, the wall 
is getting firmer, however. An upcoming memorial service for a founding member 
will be for the vaccinated only and in person. People are done with not seeing 
each other, particularly in remembering Steve. We have had 3 social events this 
weekend, all in person, vaccinated only. But they were out doors and masks were 
welcome though not required. When inside filling a plate of food, masks 

The best possible outcome is that the group works together to figure out 
solutions that will allow all of them to participate equally without seeming to 
endanger or piously protect anyone else. This would be the best cohousing 
experience, understanding, and practice.

A story from years ago when finding people who could afford to take a risk by 
buying a home in cohousing, a group found themselves confronting a particularly 
heated and consequential decision in the very membership when one household 
would be observing and making their decision to join or not.

The meeting was long and ran over so much that the group had to move to another 
room to finish the process. They expected the observers to leave at that point 
— to escape. They didn’t. They stayed to the end and the next day signed up as 
invested members. 

Everyone had been assuring them that very few meetings were that difficult. But 
they said it was the way the group handled the decision that convinced them 
that this was a good community. By anyone’s estimate the decision was difficult 
and most groups would have avoided it or gotten a legal opinion and left it at 
that. This group kept at it long enough to find a result that allowed everyone 
to feel comfortable with the final decision. Everyone felt their concerns had 
been addressed, everyone was taken equally seriously, and as many 
accommodations as possible were made.

So this is a wonderful opportunity for the group to bond around respecting each 
other’s differing opinions and for learning more about why some people believe 
and others don’t. Where do you look for the truth? What is real?

Next post on Jonathan Rauch’s The Constitution of Knowledge: A defense of the 

Sharon Villines, Editor & Publisher
Affordable Housing means 30% of household income
Cohousing means self-developed, self-governed, self-managed

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.