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We're so thankful to be able to meet during this time to worship as the body of Christ. Take a look below at how Calvary will continue to address the COVID-19 crisis and approach the the decision-making process.
A large congregation church and a school are two of the most difficult institutions to navigate through a pandemic; this is definitely a new lane for me, and as every leader will attest, there is no blueprint of how to deal with it. Even though we could not meet in person, we were able to keep our community together via livestream, Zoom and other social media platforms. It hasn’t been easy, but the Lord has blessed us and we are thankful for where we are as the fall season is upon us. With services happening every weekend and people gathering in small communities again, I wanted to discuss the criteria we use for decision making.
Government Regulations: As a church we are deemed an “essential” organization, meaning we were allowed to function during the entire pandemic. For three months we did not hold in-person services, abiding by stipulations to flatten the curve of infection. We only began meeting again when Delaware County entered the green phase of the Pennsylvania restart plan. As far as school is concerned, Pennsylvania public, private and parochial schools have the discretion to open for in-person learning this fall. As a private school, Innovate Academy will open our doors in a few weeks along with most private and catholic schools. We are adhering to all state guidelines.
Science: This one is tricky. There is no one reading this email who has not read conflicting or controversial information about how this virus may or may not spread. We have tried to stay away from partisan information and rely on things of which we can be certain, such as washing hands, social distancing, wearing masks when appropriate, deep cleaning, and limiting crowd size. Having done outdoor services for the past 15 years has really helped us navigate the summer well and we have seen tremendous ministry happen. We will continue with outdoor services through September 27th, weather permitting.
The Necessity of Ministry: This is often an overlooked factor, but one that is critical in our decision-making process. While the pandemic has created the opportunity for families to spend more time together and has slowed life down a bit, there have been huge downsides for many in our church community. Congregants who live alone have called to share feelings of fear and isolation. In addition, parents are telling us that their kids are acting out because of too much time spent on computer screens, and both single parents and two-parent working families are struggling to juggle life’s demands. These concerns have been factors in several of our decisions, such as hosting Job’s Blues Shack (a truncated Summer VBS), and the decision to move forward with our traditional fall weekend retreat for youth in late September.
Common Sense: We realize that the greater community has made the decision to cancel many activities, events, leagues, programs, and much more. While some of this is driven by safety concerns, there are other factors, such as fear of litigation, that do not drive us. We have the freedom to look at all ministry decisions with clarity, relying on the above criteria and depending on the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Livestream: Finally, our online presence allows for congregants who are at higher risk of the virus or who still feel uncomfortable attending in-person services to still feel a part of our community. We continue to put tremendous effort and financial resources into making this option more interactive and of a higher standard.
As I stated previously, this is all new to our leadership team at ccdelco. The good news is that our whole staff has been in the office regularly since May, and we have held weekend services the entire summer with no reported infections. We fervently ask that everyone abide in a spirit of love and adhere to proper hygiene while attending Calvary and to refrain from attending services if you are experiencing symptoms. We are all in this together and it is our desire to see people served, delivered and restored by God’s grace.
We are excited to welcome both preschool and elementary-age children into JKids as we move our services back inside. Our goal is to foster a deeper connection between your kids and the Lord, while still creating an environment that gives you peace of mind. Please take some time to review the plans and policies for JKids:
Before checking in children, we’ll conduct a health check of each family. If family members are experiencing any of the symptoms listed below, we will request that family try again next week.
- A temperature >=100.4 or chills, now or in the last 48 hours
- New sudden loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat, dry cough, or trouble breathing
- Fatigue, headache, or body aches
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Check-in occurs at manned stations in two locations
- At the bottom of the stairs at the far side of the Atrium
- Near the JKids parking lot entrance
- Please use the social distancing markers in the check-in areas
- Designated Check-In Volunteers will sign in all families, providing a touch-free experience
DROP-OFF AND PICK-UP
As you drop off and pick up your children, please:
- Use masks for adults and children 3 years and older
- Follow a counterclockwise path around JKids, as indicated by signs on the walls
- Take your children to the restroom prior to dropping them off in their classrooms (Please note: At this time, JKids staff will not change diapers nor assist in cleaning a child who is potty training. Parents will be called to address these needs, as needed.)
- Children will be dropped off in the following classrooms:
- Puggles (2-3-year-olds) – 2-3-year-old room
- Cubbies (3-5 year-olds) – Dance room
- Sparks (K-2nd grade) – Multipurpose room
- T&T (3rd-4th grade) – 4th Grade room
JKids follows the mask protocols and practices used throughout ccdelco, so:
- Parents and Children. Masks are recommended for adults and children ages 3 years and older
- Check-In/Check-Out Volunteers will wear masks.
- Teachers and Classroom Helpers will have masks and are permitted to remove them while teaching
- Flexibility will be extended to adults and children who have difficulty wearing masks, and children will be permitted to remove masks during games and when they are able to maintain physical distance from others
SAFETY, SANITIZATION, HYGIENE, & CLEANING
- Staff will perform self-health-checks prior to serving and will not serve if exhibiting any of the symptoms listed above
- Classrooms are equipped with individual room air purifiers
- Hand sanitizer will be present in all rooms, and children will be encouraged to wash hands/use sanitizer throughout their time at church
- Toy selection will be limited, and bins of toys will be changed for each service
- Craft materials, like crayons and glue sticks, will be packaged for individual use
- High-use surfaces, including restrooms, will be sanitized between services
- Please review the section below for specific measures taken for each age group
For more information, visit our JKids Sunday Morning page.