We want to see you on Sunday mornings. We know that many of you want to see us on Sunday mornings as well but the lack of childcare has made coming on Sundays impractical. So, after much consideration, prayer, and planning, we have decided to re-start childcare on Sunday mornings, starting on Aug 30.
See our overall plan for meeting safely here.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, childcare is going to look very different than it did at the start of 2020. We are taking extra care to reduce the potential risk to our church, our family and friends, our community, and our witness in the world. While no plans of man can guarantee people’s health or safety, we are going to do what we can to be prudent while still providing care for families.
Here’s the summary of what to expect.
- If some of your kids can sit with you during service, please have them do so.
- If your kids are feeling sick, stay home.
- Each family will need to bring a bag of toys / activities for your kid(s).
- All the kids in childcare will be in the back room, divided into smaller groups. We’ll maintain 6 ft between groups.
- If you want to have your kid(s) preassigned to a group send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can follow up. Otherwise they will be assigned as they arrive.
- There will be a minimum of two adult volunteers to oversee the kids. There won’t be a lesson, but your kids will be supervised.
- For ages 2 and under, masks are not encouraged. For ages 3-5 masks are encouraged, but not required. For ages 6 and up masks are required.
- If someone in childcare is confirmed to have COVID-19, expect to be notified.
- These plans will change as needed.
- Questions and comments can be sent to email@example.com
Here’s the details of the plan.
COVID-19 is the disease caused by a particularly contagious virus with the potential to cause serious sickness and even death, particularly in populations with underlying health conditions. Yet, Christ commands the church to not forsake meeting together. For many families, meeting together is not practical without childcare. We know that we cannot eliminate the risks that come with COVID-19, but because we are convinced of God’s utter control, His sovereignty, and His grace, we believe that God is calling us to provide care for children during the service so that the families of Living Hope Church can meet in person.
To reduce risk, we are implementing a strategy with layers of risk mitigation. No layer on its own provides a complete reduction in risk. While we will screen for symptoms we will not rely on this alone but also seek to minimize the number of children exposed as well as the opportunities for spread between children. In the end, each family must still decide if they accept the remaining risk.
As circumstances change, so will our childcare plans. Please stay on top of emails to stay up to date on the plans.
The first layer of risk reduction is minimizing the number of kids in childcare. Older kids who are able to quietly sit through service are encouraged to sit with their parents. A quiet paper activity such as a word search or coloring sheet will be provided each week to help occupy older kids during service. If an older sibling can be helpful to a younger one in childcare, then it may make more sense to have the older sibling in childcare instead of the service. This is a matter of parental judgement.
The second layer is screening for symptoms and exposure. When a child is dropped off in childcare, parents will be asked about the following symptoms. A child with symptoms of COVID-19 during the previous 24 hours will not be allowed in class on that Sunday. Please be on top of checking temperatures and monitoring for symptoms.
- Temperature 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
- Sore throat
- New uncontrolled cough that causes difficulty breathing (for kids with chronic allergic/asthmatic cough, a change in their cough from baseline)
- Diarrhea, vomiting, or abdominal pain
- New onset of severe headache, especially with a fever
- New loss of taste or smell
- New congestion or runny nose
Parents will also be asked about close contacts with COVID-19 over the last 14 days. A child who has had close contact with someone with COVID-19 must not attend Living Hope Church childcare for 14 days since the last contact unless they:
- developed COVID-19 illness within the previous 3 months and
- have recovered and
- remain without COVID-19 symptoms (for example, cough, shortness of breath)
The third layer is minimizing opportunities for spread between households. Living Hope Church will not be providing toys for kids to use or share. Each family must provide a bag of toys and activities for their kids to use along with any related supplies like crayons, pencils, etc. Kids will be assigned to groups, with kids from the same family assigned to the same group. Group size will be limited to 3 families and will largely be aligned with adult small groups. Each group will have an area in which to play quietly that is more than 6 ft away from another group. Volunteers will help to maintain separation between groups and help keep kids quietly occupied. As much as possible, we will try to have stable group membership, but groups may change as needed. We will communicate with parents before changing groups. We will be reaching out shortly to gauge interest and form groups. Group assignments are limited to the kids’ time in childcare. Outside of childcare, parents are responsible to supervise their children’s contact with others according to their conscience and local regulations.
We will not have snacks or other food provided.
All kids over 2 are encouraged to wear masks. Kids over 5 are required to wear masks. We will work to minimize the number of opportunities for spread between kids and volunteers by requiring masks for volunteers, limiting close contact when reasonable, and having a minimal number of volunteers. Volunteers will wash hands or use hand sanitizer before and after physical contact with kids. Parents will be called for diaper changes and bathroom breaks.
There is still a non-zero chance that a child or volunteer contracts COVID-19. In preparation for this possibility, child attendance and volunteer names will be recorded each week in Planning Center. The check-in tablet will be in the childcare room and will be operated exclusively by one of the childcare volunteers. We will work with parents to ensure their contact info is current. If a child in childcare is confirmed to have COVID-19, we ask the parents to notify Olmsted County through the COVID-19 hotline (507-328-2822) and Living Hope Church childcare. Living Hope Church will work with Olmsted County to provide attendance records and contact info for affected families.
If a COVID-19 case is confirmed, that child or volunteer must not attend Living Hope Church childcare until:
- 10 days since symptoms first appeared or the date of the positive test if asymptomatic and
- 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
- COVID-19 symptoms have improved if originally present (for example, cough, shortness of breath)
After these conditions are met, the child or volunteer may return to Living Hope Church childcare.