1. Self-Monitoring (Family Monitoring)
It is important that every person at Heritage do their part in self-monitoring their health and condition to help ensure that when we do gather together, it is as safe and sanitary as possible. We ask every person at Heritage to regularly monitor their health, especially the day before and the day of gathering together.
Any signs or indication of any kind of illness should be taken seriously. A sign of illness means you should stay home. Fever in the last 24 hours, chills, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, shortness of breath, cough, congestion or runny nose and general aches and pains are all signs that indicate you must stay home.
Additionally, it’s crucial to pay attention to COVID-19 symptoms. CLICK HERE for the virus symptoms with information on how to report if showing these signs. Any signs of COVID-19 or if you may think you are showing any signs of COVID-19 are reason enough to stay home.
The CDC recommends regular temperature taking, especially for those who are entering into public gatherings. We are asking every person at Heritage to take their temperature the night before or the day of a gathering together. The CDC says that a person with a temperature at 100.4 should self quarantine.
Online worship will remain available so you don’t miss
It’s important to know that being cautious with your health and your families health is a good act of neighborliness. It is better to be safe than sorry. In the event you feel ill, or simply are not ready to gather in a larger group setting, please stay home. For the foreseeable future we will be providing live streams of worship and/or additional online worship experiences.
For the time being, as we transition back together, there will be no children monitoring outside of parents and guardians. We will not have a nursery or any children’s classes. This means that parents must ensure the health and actions of their children while we are together.
It’s important to note that children who are not feeling well should also stay home. A child with any symptoms of illness should then include the entire family. It’s best for families to stay home if one is sick or feeling ill rather than some members stay and go out.
Our children are not allowed to be away from their parents or guardians at any point during our gatherings. It’s critical that parents monitor their children the entire time. For the health and safety of everyone, while also trying to limit our touch points, children should not run or play in the areas we are gathering. This may be a hard aspect for children to understand, but children can not hug, or share toys with other children while together. Children can not sit with anyone outside of their family units during this time.
We ask all parents or guardians to inform Heritage if any child or family member becomes ill. This will allow us to monitor illness and to contain any potential spread quickly.
2. Social Distancing at church
Everyone has quickly grown accustomed to social distancing. The practice is also important while at church during these days. The CDC defines social distancing as “limiting face-to-face contact with others.” This seemingly goes against how we’ve conducted church gatherings, but is an important aspect to create a safe and sanitary environment while we gather together. We believe social distancing at church is possible when everyone participates.
Handshakes and Hugs
For the time being, we must shed these social norms. No physical contact must occur between people. Instead of a handshake or hug, we must practice a wave, head nod or just a simple “hello” to one another.
The social distancing rule of being six feet from one another must be practiced when we gather. Ensuring a safe distance between us does not limit conversation and time together, but helps create a safe environment for everyone to be together during this time.
Empty seats around you is a good thing
As we gather together, our chair set up will reflect social distancing. We will create space between rows and between groups of seats that allow families to sit socially distant from one another.
Wearing a mask is highly recommended and encouraged. The CDC continues to recommend cloth face coverings when in public settings as a protection to other people. Face covers will be fully accepted by all. It is important to also consider masks for children as it could be difficult for them to maintain social distancing at times.
3. Touch Points
A typical Sunday morning at the elementary school involves a lot of items being moved and touched. Set up and clean up alone creates a lot of touch points. As we transition back together during these days, we will be working to limit our touch points and when absolutely necessary, using extra safety precautions.
For the time being there will be no passing of any items when we are together. This includes communion (more below), Welcome Books, bulletins, etc.
Set up and Clean up at the school
Folks who assist with our set up and clean up will be required to wear a mask and gloves to ensure that we are limiting any transfer. This may go against our instincts, but those who are not wearing a mask or gloves will be unable to help.
Sanitizing what we can control
As guests at the elementary school, there are many things out of our control. We are working with the school on ensuring that areas are being sanitized and remain safe for our usage. In the spaces and with the equipment we do have control and access to, we will be taking extra precautions to ensure things are wiped down and sanitized.
Hand washing and hand sanitizer
It’s important to continue practicing frequent hand washing. During these days of limited hand sanitizer availability, we recommend each person bring their own personal hand sanitizer to use and wash their hands frequently when we gather.
As we transition back together, it’s important to note that many aspects of our worship and gatherings may function differently than before. Communion is one example of how we want to continue practicing this important worship element while doing so in a healthy and sanitary way.
Think of our transition back together in tiers with the ultimate hope of being able to practice various aspects the way we believe and hope we should. These initial tiers of how we practice communion will help us to offer communion.
Tier 1- BYOC (Bring Your Own Communion)
Tier 2- Sanitarily prepared for pick up (BYOC still an option)
Bread, juice combo cups
Tier 3- Gloved and masked passers hand out one time, no passing between people
Tier 4- Gloved and masked passers facilitating passing one time through. Those that do not want to touch plate do not have to.
Tier 5- Gloved and masked passers facilitate passing between rows
Sanitarily prepared for pick up also available in back as option
Tier 6- Gloved passers facilitate passing between rows
The best practice is to contribute online. However, we will provide a drop box where you can drop any cash or checks during our gatherings. Of course you may continue to mail contributions to the church office any time.
6. Welcoming and Greeting
During these unusual days and this strange transition back to gathering, it’s more important than ever that we focus on our hospitality. Guests are planned for and we must be prepared to greet them appropriately. Social distancing asks us to limit our touch, but it doesn’t mean we limit our friendliness.
Some of the same basic actions still apply. Seek out new faces and go say “hello.” Introduce yourself, welcome them and share info about our church family. Of course, no shaking hands, but you can wave. And always be conscious of your distance and space around each other.