During COVID-19, Covenant Presbyterian Church is taking the following precautions for the use of its facilities.
The Healthy Pathways Task Force of Covenant Presbyterian Church (“Task Force”) prayerfully and respectfully offers this plan to transition to in person service and meeting in the Covenant facilities.
Small, church related groups, of under 25 people, will be permitted to make an appointment to meet in the Church buildings. The groups will be assigned a time, date, and room by the Church Administrator. Groups will follow the small group protocol. After the meeting, the Leader will report to the Church Administrator: the names of the people attending, the nature of the meeting, and how the protocol worked for their meeting.
Once the Church is equipped to transmit live church services and follow the protocols and guidelines, with volunteers to assist, socially distanced worship could resume on Sundays. Potential guidelines are included below.
Prayer for Healthy Pathways
Holy God, give us your healing, your wholeness, and your shalom. Teach us wisdom as we seek to protect each other and grant us hope as we seek to call people to experience and share your goodness. Allow our church to continue to be a community where your love has the run of the house. Give us grace and generosity with each other as we navigate into an uncertain future, putting our trust and hope in you. Amen.
The Task Force has studied and recommended changes/upgrades to our church facilities to decrease “touch points.” Restroom light switches had been changed to motion sensors. As funding becomes available, faucets, soap and paper towels will be converted to touchless. We will start by adding eight touchless faucets in the restrooms. The elimination of these touch points is helpful during the pandemic and during cold and flu season.
Cleaning wipes, hand sanitizer dispensing stations, disposable masks, disposable gloves, and appropriate cleaning products are available for sanitation of the building and personal use by people entering the building.
Protocols and Guidelines for Use of the Covenant facilities:
- COVID safeguard rules: These Rules are for everyone’s health and safety. Compliance with these rules is required and appreciated.
- Everyone must take their temperature at the Welcome Center. No one with a temperature over 100.4, or who is feeling unwell, may enter the building. The thermometer must be wiped after each use.
- The Office and restricted areas are closed to everyone, except office staff or AV operators. Please make requests for copies, etc. in advance.
- Church employees may not touch other people’s desks, work areas, etc.
- Mailbox keys will be distributed to Session, Deacons and those receiving mail.
- One person or family group (group of people residing in the same household) in the elevator at one time.
- Music Room access will be at the discretion of Tom Sabatino, who is working with the Task Force to establish a music schedule for small, socially distanced groups of singers and/or musicians to practice, record and perform, with safeguards, once in person worship is resumed. The Congregation shall not join in the singing at this time.
- Staircases are designated as “up” (closest to the West entrance) and “down” (Closest to the East and South entrances) Take a wipe for handrails when you use the stairs.
- 6’ separation between everybody everywhere! Please greet each other in a socially distanced manner.
- Everyone must wear face masks at all times while in the church facilities. Anyone who does not feel comfortable wearing a mask or has a condition where wearing a mask is not medically advisable, should participate virtually. Disposable masks will be available for those who forget.
- Take a cleaning wipe with you and wipe every doorknob and light switch that you touch.
- The last person out of the room or building wipes touch points.
- Anyone who wishes to enter a Church building (who is not part of a group or for worship) must notify the Church Administrator, in advance, of their time of arrival, purpose for the visit, name and contact information (phone number and email). Please do not come into any Church building unless absolutely necessary.
- People entering the Church buildings are encouraged to bring their own pens.
- At the Welcome Center, please sign the sign-in form for individuals and Small Group Leaders to register their entry into the Church. Please wipe the pens with hand sanitizer or cleaning wipe after each use.
- Restricted areas:
- Office, except by staff.
- AV room, except by operators
- Music room, except Tom Sabatino and Patti Mann
- Do not use Sanctuary (Lancaster Avenue) front door, except for funerals and emergencies.
- The second floor (unless you are assigned a second-floor room for your meeting) Preschool and Sunday School rooms will remain locked.
- Use of the nursery room is restricted to use of the changing table.
- Protocol for Small Group meetings (≤25 people in green phase) (either standing groups or one-time meetings) and small weddings, baptisms, and funerals with Pastoral discretion:
- All small groups must preregister with the church administrator to be assigned a date, time, and place for their meeting. To the extent feasible, the CCLC should be used for ease of entrance without steps or elevators. Otherwise, the sanctuary, parlor, fellowship hall (lower level) or gathering space will be assigned.
- All small groups must offer a virtual meeting option to their members.
- The Leader must arrive in advance, enter the facility, and create a clear path to the meeting location, propping doors and turning on lights
- The group will gather, at social distances, outside until designated start time.
- The Leader will create a log of the names of all people entering the building.
- The Leader will remind everyone of the rules for being on site:
- Masks on at all times.
- Temperatures will be taken by the Leader; no one who is running a temperature over 100.4 or feeling unwell will enter the building.
- Remain at least 6’ from your nearest neighbor.
- The Leader will invite the group into the building via the designated path, passing a hand sanitizing station, which all will use.
- The Group will assemble in the designated location. Please do not assemble in areas outside the designated location, except in the case of emergency.
- The meeting will commence with the Leader activating the virtual component for people joining the meeting virtually (if everyone is not present).
- Restroom use is discouraged, but, if necessary, attendees agree to follow prescribed Restroom Protocol below.
- At the close of the meeting, the Leader will distribute wipes for participants to disinfect the tables and chairs they occupied.
- The Leader will lead participants back to the outside door, creating a path where no one else will have to touch anything.
- Participants will use the hand sanitizer station on the way out.
- The Leader will re-enter and disinfect any other surfaces touched during the meeting or on the way out.
- The church administrator will retain copies of the roster of meeting attendees.
- Groups which do not abide by the guidelines will lose the privilege to meet in church facilities.
- Restroom protocol:
- People queueing to use the restroom should stand 6 feet apart. The floor will be marked with 6-foot standing places.
- One person or family group (group of people residing in the same household) in the restroom at one time.
- When entering the restroom use a cleaning wipe to open the door.
- Use the wipe to open and close the stall door when entering and exiting the stall.
- Use the wipe to flush the toilet. Please do not flush cleaning wipes down the toilet!
- Wash hands.
- Discard wipe and paper towels. Use a new wipe to exit the restroom. Discard wipe after use.
- It is everyone’s job to clean up after themselves.
- COVID-19 Infection:
If the Church is advised that a person diagnosed with COVID-19 was present in the church facility, the Church Administrator shall notify anyone who was in the church facility, at the same time as (or within 3 days after) the infected person, that they may have been exposed. The Church can only notify people who have signed in with the Church Administrator (either individually or as part of a small group).
- Employees. To the extent possible, and as long as possible, all employees should continue to work from home.
- All paper, bibles, hymnals, and prayer cards have been removed from the pews.
- Touchless greetings are encouraged, please wave or bow. There should be no handshaking or holy hugs. Please respect everyone’s space.
- Communion will be suspended until we can find a safe (prepackaged) way to serve the elements.
- Safety Spacing for In Person Worship:
- 14 person/family units in the sanctuary with 6’ spacing (most accessible for ADA)
- Possible 3 – 4 persons/family units in the gathering area (most accessible for ADA)
- Chairs will be arranged in the lower level fellowship hall for appropriate spacing and participation in worship via the existing TV connection. The lower level should be utilized, if possible, by persons/families not needing the elevator. Possibly 15+/- individuals or family groups.
- Families will be requested to keep young children with them during worship as Nursery care and Children’s Church are temporarily suspended, until safety guidelines can be implemented. The changing table will be available in the Nursery. Please wipe the area with cleaning wipes after each use.
- There hospitality/coffee/food service at this time. Resumption will be based on CDC guidelines.
- No eating or drinking in the church facilities, with the exception of children under 2, because face masks must be worn at all times.Preparing to Resume In Person Worship:
The Task Force is also reviewing the facilities and Presbytery guidance for resumption of in-person/virtual hybrid church services in the future. At that time, attendance would be purely discretionary, and subject to guidelines and current CDC rules. No one should feel pressured to attend in person. Please note that the following are some of the guidelines for return to in-person services.
- Youth Group:
At the discretion of the Pastors and Youth Ministers, Youth Group meetings may resume, in the CCLC or outside, following the small group protocol, social distancing, and masks.
- Covenant Preschool:
The Pre-School is suspended until January 2021, when Session will review the situation.
- Non-Church Groups and Boy Scouts:
At this time no outside groups are permitted to use the church buildings.
These guidelines will remain in place until January 31, 2021, at or before which time the Task Force and the Session will reevaluate the situation. These guidelines will be reevaluated and amended, as needed, as additional information comes to light and as the situation changes.
The Healthy Pathways Task Force
Jo-Anne Frazier, Elder
Roger Baldwin, Elder
Michael Neeb, Elder
Tom Reardon, Elder
Rebecca Gustafson, Elder
James Moyer, Pastor
Alex Becker, Associate Pastor
 Due to demand and commercial availability, some products are backordered and will be purchased and implemented as soon as commercially available.
 On August 31, 2020, the Session will review and consider the use of the CCLC building by Voter Services for the November election.