First Presbyterian Congregational and Campus Use Activities:
General Policies (REVISED 24 August 2020)
Update from the FPC COVID-19 Re-entry Task Force, September 3, 2020
On September 1, 2020, Governor Cooper issued Executive Order No. 163 moving the state to Phase 2.5 on September 4, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. It will remain in effect through October 2, 2020, unless further action is taken in the interim.
While this next progression allows for further easing of group sizes for indoor and outdoor events, the FPC RETF will maintain our current policies for the foreseeable future, at least through October 2, 2020. As such, the guidelines we shared last week regarding the size of events on the FPC Campus continue in force as is.
There will be one substantive modification to the event participant assessment. We are adding a third screening question to capture participants’ testing status. This question: “Are you or anyone in your household currently awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test because of a potential exposure?” will allow us to capture people who may have been tested because of workplace or other exposure where testing has been completed but results are not yet available. An affirmative answer to this question would exclude a person from in-person activities until the outcome of the test is determined.
Additionally, as a point of clarification, in instances where we do have any kind of exposure to the virus, FPC staff and RETF will work with the Alamance County Health Department to determine situation specific recommendations with regard to exposure risk including testing and quarantine guidelines. Anyone at risk of exposure will be notified and recommendations shared. Identities of individuals involved in any situation will remain confidential.
We are working to incorporate these changes into the documents shared last week. Revised documents will be identified as such and will be available shortly.
With our church family, our response continues to be one of caution with mitigation of risk as a principal focus. We will continue to review the current situation and provide further updates to the FPC Session and Congregation.
UPDATE FROM THE FPC COVID-19 RE-ENTRY TASK FORCE
The COVID-19 Re-Entry Task Force (RETF) has continued to meet each Wednesday since early June. The RETF is chaired by Lucy Kernodle and includes: Gene Grimley, Beth Hooten, Wendy Lunsford, Allison McHugh, Kris Moffitt, Amy Richardson, Bruce Shields and from FPC staff: Taylor Barner, Patrick Murphy, Charlotte Nance-Allbright, and Ron Shive. They have reported twice to the Session. The first report in June was followed by the letter from the Session to the Congregation in which we acknowledged the challenge we all are experiencing in the context of a pandemic. The second report was made on 16 August 2020. This e-blast summarizes our collective experience these last five months and provides highlights of the second report to the Session.
Where We Have Been
In the first quarter of 2020, the arrival in the US of the corona virus which causes COVID-19 turned our lives upside down. Initially, NC shut down with a stay at home order which placed significant limits on the size of in-person activities and asked everyone to avoid leaving home except for only the most essential purposes. This period of “lock down” lasted through 8 May 2020.
FPC’s response was to cancel in-person gatherings and to go to live streaming our Sunday worship service. We closed the church office and Playschool. The Child Development Center closed as well. Meetings and faith formation activities shifted to virtual formats. Though physical gathering at the campus ceased, FPC and its staff remained engaged with the congregation and community.
For the interval between 8 May and 22 May 2020, NC was in a modified stay at home plan which allowed for more mobility and some small group gatherings. Restaurants remained closed except for take-out or delivery. Schools were virtual and people were encouraged to work from home.
On 22 May 2020, the NC Governor moved the state from Phase 1: Modified Stay at Home to Phase 2: Safer at Home. This loosening of restrictions for gathering, retail operations, etc. informed, in part, the FPC Session’s decision to create the RETF to help guide the process for collective activities at our campus.
Where We Are
The second phase has been extended twice now as the morbidity and mortality experience of the state remains problematic. Most recently, on 5 August 2020, the NC Governor issued an order extending Phase 2 through 11 September 2020. Additionally, at the end of June, the NC Governor issued an order for the use of face coverings in most settings.
The shift to Phase 2, allowed for some group gatherings and as we have begun to hold activities with our church family, our response continues to be one of caution. We have developed guidelines, in effect for the foreseeable future, to help mitigate risk of disease transmission. The RETF does not foresee a return to larger group gatherings prior to the end of Phase Two, whether that be on 11 September 2020 or beyond.
The capital improvement project of the duct, lighting and painting refurbishment of the Sanctuary will keep us from a return to large groups in that space through the term of that project (mid-September through late-November).
FPC Guidelines Shared
With our church family, our response must be one of caution and as such, we have developed guidelines, in effect for the foreseeable future, to help mitigate risk of disease transmission. We will continue to review the current situation and provide regular updates to the FPC Session and by extension, the FPC Congregation.
At the August Session meeting, the RETF shared two documents: 1) General Guidelines for FPC Activities and 2) Pastoral Care Guidelines. These documents are intended to foster understanding of the guidelines and processes we have developed for small group activities as well as supporting our pastoral staff in providing care to the congregation. Copies of these two documents are linked below.
These two documents helped to inform work to develop specific and consistent guidelines for other activities on the FPC Campus including the Furniture Ministry, use of the Garrison Joyner Building, Funerals and Weddings, and staff and parent policies for both CDC and Playschool. Copies of these additional documents are also available at the link referenced above.
These documents are not static as our policies will likely change as the pandemic experience in North Carolina changes. We may adjust guidelines to be more or less restrictive depending upon morbidity and mortality burdens experienced locally and in North Carolina as a whole. FPC policies are based upon guidance provided the federal Centers for Disease Control and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and are subject to any mandate issued by the North Carolina Governor.
FPC Guidelines Summarized
Generally – one is safer at home, particularly if you fall within the identified higher risk groups (e.g., those 60 years or older, those living with significant health risks, and those living with family members with compromised immunity). Each member of the FPC family is cherished and we encourage each person to evaluate their own risk when making decisions to join in collective activities.
We strongly recommend that all events/activities/gatherings be held using virtual technology, whenever possible, for the foreseeable future. This includes most pastoral care visits.
When the decision is taken to meet at the FPC campus or in person, each person should assess their recent history with regard to COVID-19 exposure including responding to questions about symptoms (new or recent onset of a cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, or recent loss of taste or smell) and interactions with those who may have been ill. Temperature checking procedures are also a tool we may employ.
People who have been exposed to someone with symptoms of COVID-19 or a confirmed COVID-19 case within the last 14 days will be required to stay at home. Further, to keep our church family safe, people experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 will be required to stay at home. They should remain isolated and may not return to FPC activities for 14 days and they are asymptomatic or have a negative COVID-19 test.
If they cannot be held virtually, we strongly recommend that all events occur outside, without the use of restrooms, to accommodate physical distancing. Attendance at groups meeting outside must not exceed 30 people. If necessary, and with specific approval, only one set of restrooms (e.g., on the black and white hallway) will be made available and these must be cleaned after each event.
In-person, indoor activities are limited to those specifically required for the completion of FPC Session approved mission activities (e.g., Andrews Elementary feeding programs, the FPC Furniture Ministry) and are limited to 10 people. All events will occur in Calvin Hall or the Witherspoon Room or in the Furniture Ministry Office. They must be scheduled at a time to avoid any interference with the normal operations of CDC or Playschool. All precautions should be taken to avoid any exposure of CDC and Playschool students and staff to event participants.
For these indoor, in-person events, only one set of restrooms (e.g., on the black and white hallway) will be made available and these must be cleaned between events.
Events are restricted to Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
No group will have access to the kitchen facilities within FPC to accommodate food safety preparation requirements for CDC.
For groups assembling at FPC to travel to off-campus activities, transportation arrangements should limit exposure (e.g., no more than two passengers excluding the driver per passenger car).
All events must be submitted through an online portal for approval. Additionally, online resources will afford the ability to record contact information of all event participants so that it is possible to track and trace viral exposure.
All participants should practice the three W’s – Wear a face covering, Wait six feet apart, and Wash hands for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer!! Face coverings must cover the nose and mouth.
Failure to follow these policies will result in participation prohibition for subsequent FPC activities.
Click the linked documents listed below to view and print.