REVISED FEBRUARY 2022
Dear Members and Friends of North Decatur Presbyterian Church:
The Session has carefully and prayerfully considered when and how to resume in-person worship and activities as the COVID-19 pandemic persists. Based on CDC guidance and the optimistic downward trend of COVID-19 cases in DeKalb County and the surrounding counties, the Session has approved a plan for in-person indoor worship and activities, as outlined below. While we are excited to resume in-person indoor worship and activities, we are mindful that specific precautions must be taken for everyone’s continued health and safety.
We are excited to announce that Indoor in-person worship will begin on Sunday, February 27, 2022 in the NDPC sanctuary. Worship will be held at 11:00am only on the 27th. After the 27th, the session may consider an option to return to two Sunday services. Everyone attending worship is encouraged to be fully vaccinated and boosted, as eligible, following CDC guidelines. The CDC continues to state that for people who have yet to be vaccinated and boosted, attending in-person events (such as worship) increases risk of exposure to COVID-19.
To be respectful of all persons worshiping at NDPC, masks will continue to be required while indoors. There will no longer be a requirement of 6 feet of distance while inside the church buildings. We will, however, continue with a contact-less passing of the peace and discourage physical contact between unrelated people until mask requirements are removed. In the sanctuary, some seating will be every pew, while other seating will be every other pew. Communion will be served the first Sunday of the month with care taken to limit the chance of virus transmission during the sacrament.
If you are unable to attend, or uncomfortable with attending in-person worship, you will still be able to enjoy the worship service. Every service will be livestreamed on the ndpc.org website and on Facebook. The service will also be recorded and will be available for viewing on Facebook or the NDPC website later in the day on Sunday.
Masks covering mouth and nose will be worn by everyone 2 years of age and over while inside the NDPC buildings, including when singing in worship. Vaccinated worship leaders may remove their masks as required to speak, sing, or play an instrument. Any choirs or music leaders (adults and children) who are singing together as a group must wear masks when singing. N95/KN95 masks are proven to be the best protection against COVID-19 transmission; N95/KN95 masks are recommended, but not mandatory. Masks are no longer required while outside on NDPC grounds; people may still feel comfortable wearing masks at all times, indoors and/or outside.
Following CDC Guidelines, social distancing of at least six (6) feet will no longer be required. While indoors, please respect that people have varying levels of risk tolerance. Stay aware of people’s comfort levels of their personal space and err on the side of keeping respectful distances.
Masks should continue to be worn in restrooms.
Cleaning, Hand Sanitizing and High-Touch Materials
Worship spaces and restrooms will be cleaned before and after services, and hand-sanitizing stations will be available. We will not pass an offering plate during worship. Please refrain from shaking hands and hugging others while on campus, even if you know a person’s vaccination status.
Eating and Drinking
Eating and drinking are permitted outdoors only for the time being.
Children and Youth
Based on CDC guidance, the Session has approved a plan for in-person church school and activities for children and youth, as outlined below. While we are excited to resume in-person church school and activities for children and youth, we are mindful that specific precautions must be taken for everyone’s health and safety.
Children’s Church School
In-person church school for children and youth will begin again on Sunday, February 27, 2022 at 10:00am. A nursery for infants will be available. We expect to hold Church School indoors, with the following safety protocols to be followed.
Recognizing that children under 5 years of age are not able to be vaccinated, and to be respectful of all persons at NDPC, masks for everyone 2 years of age and older will be observed, indoors. When Church School is indoors, windows and doors in each classroom will be open to allow ventilation to the extent allowed by the fire code.
Extended care during worship will be offered for children 2nd grade and below, following the same safety protocols for church school described above. Details about the drop-off and pick-up procedures for extended care will be announced.
Children are also welcome to sit and worship with their family in the sanctuary, where their parents or designated adults can supervise them.
Other Activities for Children and Youth
Other activities for children and youth, such as children’s choir, youth group, and OWL, will meet following the same safety protocols for church school described above.
Vaccinations for Volunteers with Children and Youth
All adults and volunteers working with children and youth in church school, extended care, or other activities will be required to be vaccinated and boosted, as eligible.
Masks for Children and Youth
Masks covering mouth and nose will be worn by everyone 2 years of age and older while inside the church buildings at all times, including when singing in church school, worship, and children’s choir. While masks will be optional for vaccinated pastors and adult lay worship leaders when leading worship, members of the children’s choir will be required to wear masks.
Social Distancing for Children and Youth
Following CDC Guidelines, social distancing of at least six (6) feet will no longer be required. However, we will continue to keep group gatherings to a minimum while indoors and respect that people have varying levels of risk tolerance. Stay aware of people’s comfort levels of their personal space.
Accompanying Children to Restrooms
Adult teachers and shepherds may accompany children to the restroom in accordance with NDPC’s Child Protection Policy. Masks should stay on at all times in restrooms.
Cleaning, Hand Sanitizing and High-Touch Materials
Church school spaces and restrooms will be cleaned before each Sunday, and hand-sanitizing stations will be available. Please refrain from shaking hands and hugging children and youth while on church grounds, even if a person’s vaccination status is known.
Individual servings of food or snacks will be permitted during church school, extended care, and other activities for children and youth.
We look forward to making a safe transition to in-person activities. These last two years have been truly difficult for everyone, and we are grateful for our congregation’s patient faithfulness as the Session has discerned the best path. We know that some members of our community are not yet ready to return to in-person worship and that some of our members have been eagerly awaiting this day. We continue to be one body–the body of Christ–and so we ask that the congregation hold our diversity of perspectives and comfort levels with the risk factors of COVID-19 with grace and mutual forbearance. The Session will monitor conditions and the workability of this plan, with an eye toward making appropriate adjustments as needed. Please reach out to the co-pastors or a Session member if you have any questions or suggestions.