The Return to In-Person Activities Advisory Group met in early September and proposed revised policy guidelines for in-person gathering, that have been approved by Session.
Guiding Principles: Our policies will be guided by CDC and NJ state guidelines, providing faithful opportunities to gather, keeping in mind what’s beneficial for the community within and beyond PCOL. We encourage all who participate in the life of PCOL (and are eligible to do so) to receive full COVID-19 vaccination.
- Allowed Attendance (# limits)
- The Meetinghouse will be limited to approximately 100 persons, with exceptions possible for funeral/memorial services at the discretion of staff and/or Session.
- Other spaces will be limited to 50% of capacity per Fire Code.
- Who Can Attend (Ages)
- All ages can attend; it will be up to parents of children 12 and under to assess risk. (A cautionary message for those not vaccinated will be communicated.) Where applicable, we will follow the protocols and policies of the Lawrence Township Public Schools regarding Covid.
- As appropriate, Children’s Ministries will provide some programming, preferably outdoors, with distancing and masking required.
- Vaccination Status
- All are welcome, although it is recommended that all who attend (who are eligible) be fully vaccinated. We will provide assistance as needed to support this. This advice will be communicated through all of PCOL’s communication means.
- Parents of young children, those not fully vaccinated and those with compromised immune systems will assess their own risk.
- Distancing Requirements
- Reasonable physical distancing will be required and only households are to sit together. Ushers will seat people to support distancing (i.e., every other pew), especially for those identifying as not fully vaccinated.
- Masks/Worship Leader Masking
- Required for indoor activities, including for children 2 years and older. Worship leaders and vocal musicians who are fully vaccinated will wear masks except when up front directly leading the service/singing. (Unvaccinated leaders/musicians will wear masks throughout.)
- Attendance Records
- Attendance records will be taken at all events, should contact tracing be needed.
- Responsive Liturgy/Passing the Peace
- Spoken word allowed (with appropriate masking). Passing of the Peace – people will remain in their pews, with no touching.
- Allowed quietly, with masks on.
- Taking Offering
- Offering plates will remain stationary at each entrance, no passing.
- Pre-packaged communion elements will be provided. Masks will be removed only for the consumption of the elements.
- Allowed indoors with adapted liturgy and in consultation with pastoral staff. Otherwise outdoors.
- Self-Screening Guidelines
- Continue to use and communicate to all groups using facilities.
- Open whenever weather allows, including balcony windows. Fans can be used at open windows aiming outside only, to assist prevailing wind direction.
- Restrooms are available for use for up to 2 people at a time. Signage will be posted to remind people to physically distance when waiting to use restroom.
- Childcare will be provided in the nursery, with all caregivers masked, and fully vaccinated.
- Hand Sanitizer
- Continue to require use upon arrival, at front and back of Meetinghouse and in various convenient locations throughout the facility.
Other Indoor Gatherings/Activities
- Allowed Numbers
- 50% of allowed capacity per indoor space, with a limit of 100 persons in the Meetinghouse. Specific maximum allowed attendee numbers by room will be calculated based on fire code.
- Masking/Social Distancing
- Still required for all indoor activities.
- Registration/Attendance Records
- Continue to require and maintain attendance records with contact information for all attending.
- No group eating indoors. Certain events approved prior to September 8, 2021 are excepted.
- Available for 2 people at a time. Signage to remind people to physically distance when waiting to enter restrooms.
- Surface Cleaning
- Still encourage use of hand sanitizer and surface cleaning of high-touch surfaces with sanitizing wipes/cleaner after use.
- Self-Screening Guidelines
- Continue to require use; to be communicated to all groups utilizing facilities. Temperatures for children no longer required before admittance.
- Allowed Attendee Numbers
- No limit, as long as safe distancing is accomplished. Continue asking attendees to bring their own chairs.
- Masks & Distancing
- Masks required for worship, regardless of vaccine status. Tents to be set up for worship to support distancing.
- For Social Events – Masks optional for fully-vaccinated attendees, though strongly encouraged; masks required for those not fully vaccinated, per CDC guidelines. Important to distance when unmasking to eat outdoors.
- Allowed if pre-packaged individual servings; no passing/sharing.
- Singing and Responsive Liturgy Participation
- Allowed if all are masked.
PCOL RIPA Advisory Group
September 8, 2021