RESPONDING TO THE CORONAVIRUS
10 Ways to Keep Your Church & Community Healthy
We recognize the important role churches play within the community. Please help in our efforts to share accurate information, promote actions that can keep us all healthy and safe, and counter misinformation or stigma regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus).
As new information emerges, please remember that the risk of novel coronavirus is not at all connected with race, ethnicity or nationality. Stigma will not help to fight the illness. Do not make determinations of risk based on race or country of origin. Be sure to maintain confidentiality of people with confirmed coronavirus infection.
Sharing accurate information during a time of heightened concern is one of the best things we can do to keep rumors and misinformation from spreading.
Our churches, schools, and ministries are committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for worship, learning, service and fellowship.
- Actively encourage sick people to self-quarantine and stay home from church and community gatherings at a church, school or ministry location. See: Healthy Community Resources & Recommendations
- Promote everyday preventative actions to encourage good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette. Handwashing is a simple and effective way to prevent the spread of germs. See: Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives
- Encourage the church family to call their medical provider with concerning symptoms and exposures and follow their instructions. See: What to Do If You Are Sick with Coronavirus
- Ask a trusted health care provider in your congregation to provide a short preventative health and wellness presentation during a church worship service to educate members.
- Perform routine environmental cleaning following recommendations from your local health department for cleaning and sanitizing your church including backs of pews, desks, doorknobs, offering receptacles, Sabbath School or classroom toys, etc., with an antiviral solution according to package instructions between use of facilities. See: OSHA Disinfecting Environmental Surfaces for further instructions
- Provide COVID-19 prevention supplies at church including sinks with soap, hand sanitizers, tissues, trash baskets, cleaning supplies, and disposable facemasks (for persons who start having symptoms while at church). See: Interim Guidance for Large Community Events
- Based on the risk factors of your local community, consider postponing church family gatherings including potlucks, prayer meetings, or Pathfinders. Find creative alternatives to shaking hands and practice social distancing (six-foot distance). Consider holding virtual board meetings, prayer meetings, Bible studies, and worship-at-home options including livestreaming, online giving, and online fellowship. Cross-train volunteers to fill potential leadership gaps. Communicate plans and options to your church family.
- Check in with your community members and neighbors, especially those who live alone and have other underlying medical conditions. Find ways to support individuals who are sick such as meal delivery to the door or grocery or medical supplies pick-up. Social isolation can be challenging. Virtual visits, social media chats, and phone calls are good ways to emotionally support your friends.
- Keep track of latest updates from CDC, Washington State Department of Health, and your local health department. See: What You Should Know About the Coronavirus
- Pray for God’s gift of health, healing and wholeness for our communities. God is bigger than illnesses. This is a time to trust God, use common sense, and practice good hygiene to boost immunity.
Originally published March 3, 2020