COVID Building Reopening Plans

Updated COVID-19 Protocols as of 3-9-22
With the dramatic decrease in the COVID-19 infection rate, test positivity and hospitalizations, as well as the new guidelines from the CDC https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/covid-by-county.html, PCO is updating its COVID-19 protocols.
The COVID Task Force will be disbanded with incredible gratitude to Keith Camann, Gary Sturk, David Detrisac, Rev. Alice Fleming Townley and Rev. Peggy Casteel-Huston for all of the energy, intelligence, imagination and love they have shared with the congregation during the past two years.
Pastor Lisa Schrott will continue to monitor the status of Ingham County and updates to the CDC guidelines. Additional modifications will be made as conditions allow, with Pastor Lisa consulting with Keith Camann and the Session. Please see the new guidelines below and reach out to Pastor Lisa at pastorlisa@okemospres.org with questions.

Sunday Morning Worship Beginning Sunday, March 13, 2022
• Masks will be optional for congregants except for singing when masks will be required. Masks will be available in Fellowship Hall for those who need one.
• Spacing in the pews will continue as it exists at the present.
• Worship leaders serving communion will be masked. Communion will be served by intinction.
• Masks will be worn by the person leading the Time with Children.
• The Chancel Choir will be masked when singing. The Bell Choir may wear masks at their discretion.
• Wind Musical instruments will be masked.
• Friendship pads will be returned to the pews. It will no longer be necessary to sign in at the welcome table.
• Coffee will be available following the service and coffee may be brought in from outside sources. The Parish Life Committee will be exploring a return to additional Sunday morning fellowship opportunities.

On October 31, 2021, congregation singing began with the requirements that all attendees practice safe distancing with at least 6 feet of distance between family groups or individuals and that attendees stagger themselves in the pews. In late August 2021, choir singing was approved with the requirements that all choir members be vaccinated, all would wear masks and that there would be 3 feet of spacing between choir members. Beginning Sunday June 27, 2021, there were no longer restrictions on the number of people who could attend church services. The option of online worship will continue to be offered. These services are available live and as recordings on the PCO website and on YouTube.

Non-Worship Activities Beginning Wednesday, March 9, 2022
• The sign in sheet at the office entrance will be eliminated and signage removed from entrance. New signage will be welcoming and note that masks are optional.
• Masks will be required for teachers and volunteers working with children under the age of 5 in indoor settings or with close contact in outdoor settings.
• For church and community groups and committees, masks are at the discretion of the group.
• For funerals and memorial services, the Deacons may purchase or use food prepared outside the church to serve the attendees.

Church Office Guidelines
If you need to come inside the building to do church business, The COVID Task Force (CTF) asks you to complete the following steps before you proceed to the work of the church:

  • If you feel sick, please leave.
  • Please sanitize your hands by washing or by hand sanitizer.
  • Try to avoid touching surfaces, unless necessary, such as doorknobs and office equipment.
  • You may wish to use a sanitizing sheet to disinfect any surfaces you may have touched while doing your work.
  • Any employee or church member doing church business who is not fully vaccinated must wear a MASK at all times when unable to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from other individuals.
  • Employees and church members who are fully vaccinated are not required to wear a mask when performing church business.
  • When using the church office there can be no more than 4 people in the office at any one time.
  • Thank you for your compliance to these steps.
  • We will continue to follow the guidelines of the Ingham County Health Department, the state of Michigan and the CDC, and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and we will always err on the side of safety and caution when faced with multiple guidelines. For a congregation as large as ours, reopening may happen in several phases. There may be times when we return to earlier, stricter, phases, before opening back up for a second or third time. We have to be flexible in adapting to the guidelines, and we will continue to clearly communicate how to participate in church ministry at every step of the way.

    Sunday Worship & Sunday School
    Sunday School is being offered to all age groups.

    Weddings and Funerals
    We will evaluate how we conduct weddings and funerals as the need arises depending on the safety recommendations of the moment. We will work with families to create a plan that honors their loved one, honors their grieving process, and keeps everyone safe.

    Building Rentals and Support Groups
    Our Administration Committee will communicate with our outside groups about meeting requirements and timelines for reopening.

    Looking Ahead Long Term
    Although there is still a lot about the future we do not know, we believe we can anticipate these things:

    There will be some continued change that feels like a loss, and some that feels like an opportunity. It is okay to grieve the changes in our rituals and gatherings. It is also okay to look for the ways our creativity is drawing us into new, more accessible, ministries. We are in this together, and there will surely be a wide range of feelings that we are all processing. We will continue to create space for us to share and process our experiences together.

    Our staff and church leadership are prepared and poised to take on these new challenges. They have been working together for the past two years to ensure the safety of our congregation and to bring PCO’s ministry to life in new ways. With the help of God, may our church continue to be a beacon of hope and a touchstone of care for all who encounter us.

    In hope and love,

    PCO Session and
    COVID Task Force Members:

    Keith Camann
    David Detrisac
    Gary Sturk