COVID Safety @ St. Paul’s

ST. PAUL’S COVID POLICY FALL/WINTER 2021

UPDATED 29 NOVEMBER 2021

Our practice from the beginning of the Pandemic has been to follow the guidance of the CDC and the Virginia Department of Health and to apply that guidance to the particular context of our church community. We continue to watch the latest varients and employ COVID protocols based on whether we are in the red, orange or yellow zone. Richmond and the surrounding counties are currently in the “orange,” which means that the region is experiencing 10 – 24 new cases per 100,000 people. (The next level down would be yellow, which means that numbers are 1 – 9 new cases). The below protocol reflects measures put in place while we are in the “orange” zone.

OUR GUIDING FRAMEWORK:

  • We believe that worshiping in person at the church remains a vital part of the Christian life and also contributes to our social and emotional well-being. At the same time, we will do all we can to provide safeguards and alternatives for those with health concerns.
  • Masking does provide a measure of self-protection, but the main reason for masking is to protect others, especially children and other vulnerable people, in our community when we may be asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19.
  • For a healthy, vaccinated person, the chances of a “breakthrough infection” are still relatively low. For those who do experience a breakthrough infection, vaccination can significantly lessen the impact of the virus and prevent hospitalization.
  • READ HERE for what to expect if you or someone at St. Paul’s experiences a positive COVID diagnosis after attending an activity at St. Paul’s.
  • If you have received a positive COVID test within a week of attending worship or an event at St. Paul’s please contact the church at HERE.

PREVENTATIVE MEASURES AT ST. PAUL’S:

  • Any person (age 3 and up) is required to wear a mask when inside our church building;
  • All teachers and leaders of children and students are vaccinated and required to wear masks in the classroom;
  • All worship leaders must be vaccinated;
  • Our HVAC system has been updated to the highest filtration system it can handle;
  • Staff may still work from home;
  • Smaller, distanced, masked gatherings are allowed indoors, but no food or drink may be offered indoors;
  • Simple receptions may be held outdoors (this includes Sunday social hour following the service)

WHAT TO EXPECT IN CHURCH:

  • Masks still required during the service;
  • The pews are no longer roped off, but we still ask that you keep a minimum of 3 feet distance between family units. The balcony is available for seating, as well as distanced seating in Scott Hall;
  • Singing is allowed with masks (masks must be worn correctly – covering both the mouth and the nose);
  • We have reintroduced the offering plates and shared offering;
  • Contact-less communion (bread only);
  • We are able to serve food and drink outside. Masks are encouraged.
  • Please only attend worship and receive communion if you are healthy and non-symptomatic with COVID-19 or any other transmittable disease that could compromise the health of another congregant.

WORSHIP FROM HOME:

  • We will continue to stream our Sunday worship services at 10:00 a.m. on Facebook Live and on our website.

BUILDING USE AND IN-PERSON MEETINGS:

Additionally, we know that some of you are eager to return to in-person meetings. We also realize that some of you have found the ease of Zoom meetings a good and helpful thing. Currently, most committee and ministry meetings are virtual. Our guidelines do allow for smaller (socially distant and masked) meetings to take place at Church and we are begging to see these meetings return. Plans to regather for meetings at St. Paul’s will largely be determined by the staff persons leading your ministry area and other safety and staffing considerations.

Thank you for your ongoing support and prayers as we thoughtfully and safely enter this new season together online and in-person!