Pandemic Safety and Sanitation Protocols

Pandemic Safety and Sanitation Protocols

Pandemic
Safety and Sanitation
Protocols

FUMC Allen has developed the following safety and sanitation protocols to help us ease back into a regular schedule of worship, recreation, education, and small group activities as we move into a post-pandemic world. Please read through these before returning to the building. If you have any questions, please contact Church Administrator Larry Wright.

Your program and worship staff have started the process of defining church activities based on a risk tolerance level, which is based on how you, our member, feels comfortable in interacting with others in public spaces outside your bubble. You will see upcoming events tagged as either a Red, Yellow or Green event. Please refer to our Risk Tolerance Levels chart for more information.

Everyone Entering the Building

1) Anyone exhibiting any the following new or worsening signs or symptoms of possible COVID 19 should not come to the church facilities:

    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Chills
    • Repeated shaking with chills
    • Muscle pain
    • Headache
    • Sore throat
    • Loss of taste or smell
    • Diarrhea
    • Feeling feverish or a measured temperature of 100.0 degrees F or higher
    • Known or suspected close contact with a person who has COVID-19 or is suspected of having COVID-19

2) All who enter the building should maintain proper social distancing of six feet or more at all times. Avoid congregating in common areas, such as hallways and restrooms.

3) We encourage everyone to wear cloth face coverings (over their nose and mouth) at all times. Out of respect for those with lower risk tolerance, we will require everyone to wear face masks in worship or in common spaces including hallways, restrooms, entry foyers, or the atrium.

4) All are encouraged to practice good personal hygiene including:

    • Wash your hands frequently using soap and scrubbing for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the restroom, before eating or drinking, after blowing your nose, after touching commonly used surfaces, such as light switches, door handles, tables, and chairs.
    • Avoid physical contact with others including hand-shaking and hugging.
    • Cough into your elbow and avoid touching your face or mask.

5) The facility will remain locked during office hours. Members and guests will be granted access electronically. In keeping with the above protocol, all visitors to the facility will be expected to wear a face mask while in common areas. If they do not have one, one will be provided at the reception desk.

6) Anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 or suspected of having COVID-19 may not return to the church facility until both of the following criteria have been met: At least three days have passed since recovery (resolution of fever without the use of medication and subsiding of other symptoms) AND at least 14 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

7) FUMC Allen will not offer food, coffee, or other drink service at the facility other than individually packaged food and drinks. Drinking fountains have been disabled (except for the bottle refill feature).

8) At-risk populations are encouraged to participate in worship and other activities remotely or in spaces designated specifically for at-risk populations.

Use of Sanctuary, Classroom, and Common Spaces

1) All rooms are subject to a maximum capacity of 50 percent of the fire code rating for that space. Restrooms have limited capacity as well to avoid congregating in them. Such capacities will be posted at each room and seating will be limited to the maximum capacity posted.

Room NumberRoom Name50% capacity
S125Sanctuary400
W250Chapel49
N198Fellowship Hall68
S124Gym185 for events
40 for sports
C170Children's Large Gathering Area55
W257Youth Large Group75
S207/211Classroom24

2) For worship, the sanctuary will be prepared by limiting seating to every other pew and allowing a maximum of two family units and five individuals or one family unit per pew. Family units within a pew will be separated from other families by at least six feet.

3) The elevator capacity will be limited to one household unit per trip (e.g. members of the same house may ride together).

4) All unnecessary articles shall be removed from the sanctuary, classrooms and activity spaces, including hymnals, Bibles, books, pew materials, decorations, markers, coffee makers, dishes, utensils, pencils, crayons, etc.

5) All spaces will be cleaned and sanitized after each use according a room cleaning checklist.” A “Cleaning Certification Log” will be posted in each room and will be signed whenever the room is cleaned.

6) Rooms will display a sign on the door handle indicating “Room is Clean” or “Room is Out of Service.”

Staff

1) Staff are expected to self-screen daily according to the signs and symptoms listed above. Staff who exhibit signs or symptoms listed above or believe they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 are not to return to the facilities and should immediately report their condition to their supervisor.

2) Staff are expected to set the example in practicing social distancing and personal hygiene, including the wearing of face masks in common areas.

3) Staff may be asked to assist with additional responsibilities for sanitizing the facility.

Meetings, Classes, and Groups

1) Groups are expected to observe all of the general requirements above.

2) Groups are encouraged to consider virtual meetings as a first option and outdoor meetings as a second option before choosing to meet in indoor spaces.

3) For meetings booked outside of office hours, the building will be unlocked for a limited time from 15 minutes prior to until 15 minutes after the start time of the meeting. Except for church-wide events, only the exterior door closest to the meeting will be unlocked.

    • North Entrance (Fellowship Hall entrance) will be unlocked for North Wing (Fellowship Hall and classrooms), Children’s Wing, and Playday/Nursery wing.
    • Atrium Main Entrance will be unlocked for Atrium, Youth Wing, and Gym.
    • South entrance will be unlocked for Sanctuary, Community Room, Christian Life Center (CLC) second floor adult classrooms, and Chapel.

4) Individual rooms will generally be made available for a morning period, an afternoon period, or an evening period to allow adequate time for sanitizing. At a minimum, one hour will between the end of the meeting and the beginning of the next meeting.

5) We recommend the wearing of face masks at all times. At the discretion of the leader and if proper social distancing can be maintained inside the room, the wearing of masks may be optional. However, wearing masks is still required in common areas such as hallways and restrooms.

6) Group leaders are responsible for taking accurate attendance with contact information of all participants in the meeting. Such information may be needed for contact tracing should someone from the group later test positive for COVID-19.

7) Should someone in a group test positive for COVID 19 after meeting at the facility that person is expected to report their status to the group leader and the group leader should immediately report to the church office. In such a circumstance, those who were present during the meeting and considered in *close contact* should not return to the church until at least 14 days have passed without symptoms or they have been tested and receive a negative result.

*Close contact is defined by the CDC as someone who was within six feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from two days before the onset of symptoms or two days prior to positive testing (for asymptomatic carriers).

Click HERE to learn more about  Risk Tolerance Levels

Room Cleaning Procedures

1) Wear disposable gloves when available.

2) Clean surfaces of visible dirt and grime using a general purpose cleaner as necessary.

3) Wipe all surfaces using the disinfectant cleaner and disposable towels available in each room. Pay particular attention to door knobs, light switches, handles, tables, faucets, chairs, etc.

4) With mister, sanitize carpet and other soft surfaces.

5) Restrooms will be cleaned and sanitized daily or after heavier than normal use.

6) Sanctuary will be wiped down and/or misted with disinfectant after each public use and electrostatic disinfectant treatment weekly.

7) Rooms should only be vacuumed after they have been disinfected and allowed time to dry.

Outside Groups

1) Outside groups will be expected to comply with all of the policies in this guide.

2) Outside groups are to maintain attendance records with contact information of those present for each activity. The only exception to this rule is for recovery groups (AA, NA, Al Anon). Due to the nature of these groups, reporting attendance to the church is not required; however, it is expected that the groups will maintain attendance records internally.

3) If any participant tests positive or is suspected of being infected with COVID-19, they, or their group leader, are to report that information to the church office immediately. Anyone who was present the last time that participant was in the facility and considered in close contact* should not return to the church until at least 14 days have passed without symptoms or they have been tested and receive a negative result.

*Close contact is defined by the CDC as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from two days before the onset of symptoms or two days prior to positive testing (for asymptomatic carriers).
Gym use for sports

Our gym has a unique set of guidelines because of the additional risk of transmission associated with close contact sports.

1) Maximum capacity for gym use for athletics is 40.

2) No spectators will be allowed. Parents and others are not to wait in the atrium or other inside common areas. They may wait in their cars or the courtyard–observing social distancing guidelines–or leave and return.

3) Per the guidelines for youth sports operators published by the Texas Department of State Health Services, leaders are to “provide notice to all parents and guardians of the enhanced risks of participants being in direct contact with anyone age 65 or older for 14 days after participating in a sport event or practice.” To that end, we will required all group leaders to have the parents/guardians of participants under 18 years of age complete a waiver and return it in to the church office. Adults must sign and return a similar waiver.

4) Gym rental time will allow 10 minutes for sanitizing the room between groups. That means that a one-hour rental will be only 50 minutes long.

5) Drinking fountains will not be available and have been disabled.

6) Participants traversing common areas or using the restrooms must wear a face mask.

Worship

1) As noted above, we have prepared the sanctuary by limiting seating to every other pew and allowing a maximum of two family units and five individuals or one family unit per pew. Family units within a pew will be separated from other families by at least 6 feet.

2) Per the Texas Department of State Health Services’ Checklist for Churches/Places of Worship, those who are part of at-risk populations are encouraged to stay home and worship remotely.

3) Worshipers will be required (per the Bishop’s instruction) to wear face masks during worship. For those who, for health reasons, are unable or unwilling to wear a face mask, there will be an on-campus room that is designated for worship for persons without a mask.

4) The congregational may participate in worship by singing but must continue to wear masks. Only worship leaders are exempt from wearing masks while singing or speaking.

5) Bulletins will not be printed or distributed, and everything–hymnals, Bibles, envelopes, pencils, etc.–has been removed from the pew racks

6) Offering plates will not be passed. Instead, we will have drop boxes at the exits of the sanctuary.

7) If observed, we will serve communion using individual, pre-packaged elements with special consideration given to social distancing.

8) At the conclusion of worship, ushers/greeters will release worshipers in rows and sections to avoid congestion at the exits.

9) We discourage worshipers exiting the sanctuary from gathering for fellowship in the Atrium or other indoor areas. Instead, those who chose to gather may do so in the courtyard, while still observing social distancing.

10) If multiple worship services are planned, we will allow one hour between services to sanitize the sanctuary.

11) Ushers/greeters will receive training on protocols prior to the first “in-person” worship service. Additional training will be given as needed in the following areas:

    • Open doors to limit contact for worshipers.
    • Assist worshipers in seating in the sanctuary to ensure socially distancing.
    • Will not shake hands or hug others and will discourage those practices by other worshipers.
    • Require the wearing the face masks and offer them as needed.
    • May be asked to assist with sanitizing spaces during or after worship services as needed.
Children and Childcare worship procedures

1) Children’s Ministry will offer limited childcare for children 4 years and younger during worship.

    • Childcare workers will undergo training on special hygiene practices prior to caring for children.
    • All caregivers and children will be screened by taking their temperature as they enter the Nursery wing.
    • Additional nursery space will be provided in the nursery wing to allow for social distancing.
    • Parents will not be permitted into the Nursery wing, and if a parent must enter the wing, they will be screened by taking their temperature before being allowed to enter.
    • All nursery workers will wear face masks. In addition, smocks are to be worn by all nursery workers while in the nursery hall. Smocks will be washed and sanitized by the church staff between each nursery care event.
    • Whenever possible, children should not be allowed to share toys.
    • Childcare workers will sanitize surfaces and any toys or objects the children touched during their care.

2) We will not have children’s activities on Sunday morning. We invite children older than four years of age to attend worship with their parents.

3) Children’s Time will be prerecorded: we will not be inviting children to come forward during worship services.

4) The church will provide a “Wiggles and Giggles” room as a place for parents to take children who are unable to sit in worship.

    • We will live stream the worship service into the children’s large gathering area.
    • We will tape off the floor to segregate family units.
    • Children’s Ministry leaders will manage and monitor the room