Little Elks Preschool and Building Use Update
Little Elks Resumes October 12 under Commonwealth Daycare Guidelines
After careful review, feedback from families and teachers, and monitoring the progress of other daycare facilities, Little Elks is preparing to resume classes Monday, October 12. Little Elks is following the guidelines for masking, social distancing, room cleaning, room capacities and more from the Commonwealth. All classes and teachers will be confined to one part of the building during school hours, staying in the designated Little Elks classrooms and no longer using the gym or nursery rooms. Little Elks will not engage in large-group gatherings (for play, snack or song).
Small group use of the church building is also allowed for ministry related gatherings under the following conditions:
- Groups of 25 or smaller, and cannot exceed the COVID-safe capacity of a room
- Temperature screening for anyone who enters (higher than 100 degrees must return home)
- Masking and 6-foot social distancing required
- High-risk individuals (for example, those with underlying conditions) are strongly encouraged to remain at home
- Each group needs at least one hygiene coordinator (trained by Morganne Brackney, Healthy at Church task force member)
- Group meeting must be requested at least one week in advance with church office
- Attendees will need to RSVP with the group leader before attending
- No food or drink shared
Restrooms are generally closed, and may only be used in the event of an emergency. If restroom facilities are to be used, they must be cleaned after each use.
Refreshments shall not be provided.
Additional guidelines may apply.
Groups can and currently are meeting outside. On Sunday mornings an adult Sunday School meets on the lawn, children and youth groups meet across the campus. Masks and social distancing are required, and RSVPs are needed for children and youth. Additionally, many groups are successfully meeting virtually–from Sunday School classes to bible study and committee meetings.
What does this mean for worship?
Worship will continue to meet outside on Sunday mornings. Gathering indoors in a large group for worship creates unique concerns and challenges different from what Little Elks or small group classes confront. Specifically:
- There is no indoor space currently large enough for one worship service when social distancing and reduced capacity limits imposed by the state are factored in. Multiple services create logistical hurdles with cleaning and turning over the building, substantial increase in staff work load, safety concerns with coming and going between services, and a fractured sense of community with multiple worship experiences.
- Gathering indoors would reduce the meaningfulness of worship. Singing would not be practiced indoors at this time, but we are able to do so outdoors. The greatest ventilation system in the world (nature) greatly reduces the likelihood of catching or spreading COVID-19 when singing or speaking loudly.
- Gathering indoors would reduce the inclusiveness of those who might otherwise attend outdoor worship. Those who choose to drive in to worship are able to remain isolated in their cars and significantly reduce the chance for catching or spreading COVID-19 while still seeing others, being present for worship, and enjoying significant interaction from safe distances. There is no drive-in option for gathering indoors. On September 20, 120 of the 200 people in attendance at outdoor worship remained in their vehicles.
- We want to get back to normal too, but want to keep our congregation and guests healthy. We are blessed to have an outdoor space that allows us to have a healthy dose of community and connection while avoiding the risks of indoor activities at this time.
Where do we go from here?
We continue to monitor changes to the state requirements, and we anticipate that the Healthy at Church Task Force will continue to update the guidelines to allow more activities to occur, as long as they can occur safely and remain within legal mandates. You are welcome to reach out to the Task Force with questions, concerns, or suggestions by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.