COVID-19 Response

Safe Reopening Guidelines for Ministries with Children

Safe Reopening Guidelines for Ministries with Children

The following guidelines will help guide the conversation and any decisions made as these plans are developed:

  1. If your church has created a Relaunch Team to guide the church’s path to reopening, it is recommended that children’s programming should be represented by someone on the team.
  2. Safe Sanctuary policies should be reviewed and volunteers should be reminded of these policies as plans are made for transitioning back to in-person programming as a shortage of volunteers is a possibility as high-risk adults will remain home.
  3. Continued physical distancing and digital ministry is the top recommendation for children’s ministry programming according to the CDC. (Even if public schools resume in-person with face mask classroom instruction, many churches serve multiple school districts which then mix community contact tracing abilities if children were to mix in a faith formation setting within a church.)
  4. Guidelines and procedures for deep cleaning and regular sanitizing of all space used for children’s ministries should be developed prior to in-person events and programs restarting.
  5. Establish plans for registering or accounting for children expected to attend in-person events and programs in order to limit the number of children and adults according to space size. Your total number of attendees should include parents, children, and church staff.
  6. All event participants over the age of 2 are expected wear a face covering at events both indoors and outdoors.
  7. If food is served, it should be pre-packaged and served by a masked and gloved person.

Recommendations for Vacation Bible School

  1. When scheduling VBS, push the date as late into the summer as you are able.
  2. Masks will still need to be worn by adults and children (due to vaccines not currently being available for children). Follow all CDC guidelines.

Suggestions for planning safe in person VBS:

  • Scaled Back VBS – Eliminate the large production of music, decor, and food. In turn, this will cut down the amount of time you hold VBS.
  • Outside is best, but schedule in the early morning before it gets too hot. example 8:00-10 am.
  • Intergenerational VBS in a large indoor or outdoor space. Families attend together in their safe bubbles rotating through stations in a short weekly evening or weekend VBS.
  • Neighborhood or backyard VBS kits with parents leading for their pod of children.
  • Larger churches could hold old VBS over two weeks with age groups coming at different times during the weeks. For example, Group #1 has 3 to 5 year olds, Group 2 has K-2nd graders, and Group 3 has3-6th graders.