Covid Update - March 2, 2021

Covid Taskteam Update – March 2, 2021
Our Covid Taskteam met on Wednesday, February 24 and begun the discussion of expectations for returning to in-person worship.
Your church leadership should determine the level of risk appropriate for your congregation.  There is much information out there, so we encourage your leadership team to inform themselves with information that is pertinent to your county.
No Risk:  No in-person gathering at this time. 

Low Risk:  Gathering in-person based on your county’s guidelines for inside gatherings.  If you do choose in-person, we recommend the following:
  • 6’ social distancing for those not with their immediate household
  • Wearing a well-fitting mask over the nose and mouth, no bandanas or gaiter coverings
  • Proper ventilation in space – more information is available here
  • Proper hygiene- Wash your hands
  • Singing is discouraged but if you are going to sing, individuals need to be spaced 6’ apart and wearing a well-fitting mask. 

High Risk:  This would be opening and not following any CDC or county guidelines. Please don’t do this.  
Consider those in your congregation who might be in the High-Risk category by continuing to offer online options for worship, even if you return to some form of in-person worship.  We encourage you to be creative and invite you to look for ways to offer lower-risk ways of worshipping and being the church.  We are called to be Christ to one another, and we show that by caring for and offering love and compassion to one another.
We continue to stress the Three Simple Rules for Re-Entry:
  • Be Cautious
    To determine your best next steps as a local congregation, we recommend that you follow your local County Health Department Guidelines for gathering.  Information pertaining to your county’s guidelines and county/public health numbers can be found here:  Wisconsin County Information

    We encourage your leadership team to access the vaccine information on the Wisconsin Health Department website and share it with your congregation.  We also encourage everyone to get a flu shot if they have not done so already.

    We ask that you remember John Wesley’s rule of “Do No Harm” when making your decisions for re-entry.  Please remember the vulnerable in your congregations and communities when developing your re-entry plan. 
  • Be Gracious
    We ask that you show grace to those who may have differing opinions of what the re-entry process may be for your church and congregation.  Be gracious to those who may choose to remain in a virtual setting, or choose to safely worship in person, whether that be laity or clergy.

    We ask that you encourage one another while making these hard decisions.  Work collaboratively and creatively with one another.  Remain respectful of the decisions that your laity and clergy leadership are making regarding whether to open the building or not.
  • Be Flexible
    Be mindful that cases, vaccines, and information are changing daily.  Remain flexible with your re-entry plan knowing that you may have to pivot back to virtual.  Make a plan that has tiered phases to it so that you can quickly adjust without having to have an “all or nothing” plan.