All of our lives continue to be shaped by the effects of COVID-19, including our church ministries and worship. A BUMC Re-Entry team was created in May 2020 and has been meeting regularly since that time to develop a Re-Entry Plan along with general policies and procedures for how we might safely resume in-person activities at the church. We are continually considering difficult choices between conflicting needs, wants and imperatives. We also recognize that our Re-Entry plans will not always move in a linear fashion, but will be a process of gradual opening and evaluation for the foreseeable future. Additionally, as new information emerges about COVID-19, our guidance may change in order to promote the safety of all BUMC congregants. We have at all times sought to be guided by the currently available medical advice and best practices, as we seek to maintain a safe environment for BUMC congregants and staff.
Re-Entry Update (as of March 20, 2022)
In response to updates from CDC and Montgomery County Public Schools, the Re-Entry Team has decided to accelerate the timeline for returning to more normal gatherings. Masking will be optional for all participants who are vaccine eligible (age 5 and up) for worship and Sunday School effective Sunday March 27. For indoor activities focused on children who are not vaccine eligible, including Preschool-K Sunday School, Kids With Purpose and the Nursery, universal masking will still be required for those age 2 and up.
For other activities such as small group gatherings, committee meetings, music rehearsals, visits to the church building during the week, etc., the Team clarified the existing policy of following CDC guidelines and allowing masking to be optional for fully vaccinated people.
We will continue to have sanitizing stations available and encourage people to continue practicing good hand hygiene. Signs will be updated to reflect that mask wearing is optional, and that people who have symptoms of illness should refrain from gathering in person. Ventilation will remain a focus to ensure fresh air throughout the building.
We encourage those who wish to wear a mask to do so. We encourage all to respect the comfort level of others for physical spacing and interaction.
We are taking this week before implementing this change to allow people to be aware of this change, so that each of you can make informed decisions about your choices and have a chance to ask questions about our policy. We will continue to follow updates from the County and CDC and will adjust our policy if necessary.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me or the pastors.
Jack Fisher, Re-Entry Team Chair