COVID-19 Guidelines

As recommended by the Re-opening Task Force and approved by the Session
Updated March 30, 2022

Background:
The Second Presbyterian Church Session, Staff and members of the Covid-19 Task Force have worked together to develop Covid-19 guidelines. The objectives are to balance the spiritual, emotional, medical and social needs of the members of our congregation and to do our part to minimize the strain on our local healthcare system.

We acknowledge that members of the congregation have different needs during the Covid-19 pandemic. We want to provide a safe place for those who feel comfortable coming to church. We want to respect those who choose to continue wearing masks and social distancing. We also want to stay connected with members who are uncomfortable returning to church at this time. We will continue to offer worship services and other programs online for those who wish to participate remotely.

The Importance of Covid-19 Vaccination

  • Vaccination continues to be the best defense against COVID-19, including Omicron. The CDC reports that unvaccinated people are 44 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than people who are up to date with their vaccines.
  • Up to Date is defined, as having received one J&J vaccine plus a booster OR two Pfizer or Moderna vaccinations plus a booster. It also includes future up dates as suggested by the CDC.
  • Up to Date is required for:
    • Anyone attending a church-sponsored retreat or event lasting more than three hours
    • All staff unless there is a medical documented exemption and then this staff member must always wear a mask in the church building.
    • All volunteers who work with children more than one hour per week
    • All choir members

Mask Guidelines
Masks should be worn by all individuals age 5 and older. They are also highly recommended for children ages 3 and 4. Masks should be worn covering the nose and mouth. For increased protection, N95, KN95 or KF94 masks are encouraged. Alternatively, double masking with a cloth mask and a surgical mask is acceptable.

The following guidelines are based on the updated CDC guidelines that take into account the Covid 19 Community Levels by county. This link identifies the level by county and is updated weekly.

The Guidelines below apply to CDC Community levels that are described as High or Medium. Under Low Community Levels, Second Presbyterian returns to routine practices consistent with the CDC guidelines that include being up to date on vaccines and testing when needed. See the CDC guidelines for details.

Worship Services (and large groups using the Sanctuary)

Community Level High

  • Masks are required for those up to date with vaccines, persons who are not up to date on their vaccines and those who are unvaccinated.
  • Participants will be required to maintain six feet social distancing.
  • During Time with Children, all children are invited to sit in the front row of the pews.
  • Worship Materials: Bibles and hymnals may be used in the pews. Ushers will hand out bulletins and bulletins will be placed on tables for participants to pick up.
  • Communion: Servers will sanitize their hands prior to serving and will place the communion elements into the hands of participants.

Community Level Medium

  • At the 8:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. services masks are optional for those up to date on vaccines and required for persons who are not up to date on vaccines and those who are unvaccinated. Participants will be encouraged to social distance.
  • There will be a 9:00 a.m. service that will operate under all of the conditions of the high community level. The doors to the courtyard will be open as weather permits.
  • During Time with Children, all children are invited to sit on the steps at the front of the Sanctuary.
  • Worship Materials: Bibles and hymnals may be used in the pews. Ushers will hand out bulletins and bulletins will be placed on tables for participants to pick up.
  • Communion: Servers will sanitize their hands prior to serving and will place the communion elements into the hands of participants

Church Building – Members and Visitors

Community Level High
Masks are required for those up to date with vaccines, persons who are not up to date on their vaccines and those who are unvaccinated.

Community Level Medium
Masks are optional for those up to date with vaccines, and required for persons who are not up to date and those who are unvaccinated.

Church Staff

Community Level High
Masks are required for those up to date with vaccines in the main office, hallways, staff meetings and workroom. When in the outer office and visitors are present, all staff must wear a mask. All church staff who are not up to date and those who are unvaccinated must wear a mask at all times.

Community Level Medium
Masks are optional for up to date vaccinated staff. Mask are required for staff who are not up to date and those who are unvaccinated.

Small Group Meetings and Classes with 25 or fewer participants

Participants in group meetings and classes held inside the church building must be members of Second Presbyterian Church.
Community Level High

  • Masks are recommended for those who are up to date with vaccines. Masks are required for those who are not up to date and those who are unvaccinated.
  • Room selection for these meetings should allow for social distancing.
  • Food may be served if at least 3 feet can be maintained between people while serving and eating and if all in attendance agree to accept this risk.

Community Level Medium

  • Masks are optional, for those who are up to date with vaccines and highly encouraged for adults who are partially vaccinated or are unvaccinated.
  • Food may be served if at least 3 feet can be maintained between people while serving and eating and if all in attendance agree to accept this risk.
  • Masks are optional for youth who are participating in Youth Group activities.

Choirs (Choral and Handbell)

Community Level High
Masks are required for those who are up to date with vaccines in order to participate in Sunday services and rehearsals. The choir will rehearse in the choir room or sanctuary depending on the number of participants. Room selection will be based upon the ability to maintain a 3 feet distance between all participants. Each choir member will maintain his or her own music folder and choir robe so as to eliminate the need for the choir members to assemble in the smaller choir robe and music room before rehearsals and services.

Community Level Medium
Masks are highly recommended for those who are up to date with vaccines in order to participate in Sunday services and rehearsals. Social distancing is recommended.

Fellowship, Food and Drink

Community Level High
Outside spaces, such as the Prayer Garden will be used whenever possible. The Great Hall will be used for receptions. Food will not be served. Masks will be required of those who are up to date with vaccines, those who are not fully vaccinated and those who are unvaccinated.

Community Level Medium
Outside spaces, such as the Prayer Garden will be used whenever possible. The Great Hall will be used for receptions. Food may be served. Masks will be optional for those who are up to date with vaccines. Masks will be highly recommended for those who are not up to date and those who are unvaccinated in groups of 25 persons or less. Masks will be required for persons who are not up to date vaccinated or who are unvaccinated when the number of people in the group exceeds 25 persons.

Outside Groups

Community Level High

  • Outside groups that have previously used the church follow the church guidelines. No new outside groups are allowed to use the building during Community Level High.
  • Masks are required for those up to date with vaccines, persons who are not up to date on their vaccines and those who are unvaccinated.
  • Participants will be required to maintain six feet social distancing.

Community Level Medium

  • Small Group Gatherings (approximately 40 or less): Follow church guidance—masks optional for those up to date with vaccines and mask required for others.
  • Large Groups meeting in the Sanctuary and Great Hall: Numbers are limited to 2/3 Capacity—400 in the Sanctuary and 250 in the Great Hall. Proof of vaccination and masking is required. The groups are responsible for implementing the policy.
  • 12 Step Groups Exception: Masks and vaccination are recommended but not required. Rationale: These groups face significant mental and personal health issues due to addiction. After weighing the public and mental health, the mental health risks are determined to be higher than the physical health risks. These risks outweigh concern for COVID risks.

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