News from the Pastor
September 20, 2020
A Proposed COVID-19 Policy
Our medical ad hoc committee of Suzanne Clark, Sandra Higgison, Kathy Kendrick, Frieda Underwood and Rob Wilson has proposed a church-wide COVID-19 policy that as of this writing is under consideration from the church council. I should add that this policy has already been adopted by the personnel committee, and we are currently taking its recommendations seriously. But I felt like the entire congregation needed to know what this conscientious committee has proposed.
Overview: Of paramount importance is the use of face masks/coverings to be used by all staff, volunteers, visitors and congregants upon entrance to VBC buildings/services. The only exceptions to this safety practice are the existence of a pre-existing condition which precludes the use of a face mask/covering and if the individual is located in a closed office/workroom.
In addition face masks/coverings must be worn by all individuals at outdoor events or tasks if a social distance of at least six feet cannot be maintained.
General Operating Guidelines:
- All people who enter a VBC structure MUST wear a face mask/covering. Exceptions include those aged 2 and under, those working alone in a room/office with their door closed, or those suffering a pre-existing condition which prevents the use of a face covering.
- Frequent handwashing and sanitizing of hands is strongly encouraged
- Sanitation of all rooms used by groups must be completed no later than the day following the event.
- Sanitation of each workspace to be completed daily with frequently touched surfaces.
- Ventilation of the AC system must comply with CDC filtering recommendations.
- Any external group using VBC facilities is discouraged, but if allowed, all attendees must adhere to this operating policy. And any group cannot exceed 50 participants in the sanctuary or activities building.
- There will be NO in-home visitation of ill congregants.
- If any individual exhibits the following symptoms, they must remain at home:
a. fever of 100 degrees or greater;
b. shortness of breath or breathing difficulty;
e. muscle pain;
g. new onset headache;
h. new loss of taste and/or smell;
i. nasal congestion, runny nose;
j. nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
These symptoms apply to church staff and to congregants. (In short, don’t show up for work or worship at the church if you are sick!)
Also, in accordance with the medical team’s recommendations, each of us on the church staff undergoes a temperature check daily at the office. This is also true for the morning school staff and students. They also recommend no sharing of food or beverages or use of the church’s water fountains.
Finally, the medical team recommends that ALL of us receive the annual flu vaccine. (I will admit that I usually don’t get the flu vaccine, but I WILL this year.)
Should any church staff member or church volunteer be exposed to COVID-19, the medical team recommends self-quarantining for ten days. This staff member or volunteer can return to duties after ten days, if they are asymptomatic and test negative for COVID-19.
Some may regard these precautions as unnecessary. But the virus has been brought home to me in a very personal way. Despite being very careful about public interactions, just in the last week, four of my family, including my father, have been exposed to COVID-19. One of my sons resigned his post as a teacher because his school was not implementing safe teaching procedures, and he couldn’t afford to bring the virus home to his wife, who is in her last trimester of pregnancy. You might think this virus cannot reach you or affect your family. Trust me – it can. Let us take every measure necessary to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our community.
A word from your pastor,
Dr. Richard Kremer