COVID19 Policy-St. James United Church

COVID19 Policy-St. James United Church

COVID19 Policy

February 2023 Update

St. James has dealt with many challenges as they pertain to CoVid. Over the past 3 years, our in-house worship services were temporarily eliminated and we relied on the videos that were taped and available to all. Fellowship was no longer, and any and all social gatherings were not permitted. We formed a CoVid committee and we were “tasked” with the job of adhering to policies, regulations and recommendations that would provide for the health and well being of all our congregants. We met regularly to ensure that we were compliant and adhering to all restrictions and guidelines, as they were constantly being reviewed and/or changing. Often, the decisions that were made were difficult, however, compliance was necessary in order to provide for the health and safety for all who entered our church.

The good news is that those restrictions and precautions that were in place have been lifted. We have returned to in-house worship services, face to face meetings, social gatherings and fellowship following Sunday Services. The CoVid committee no longer meets, however it is ready and available should the current environment change.

We were tested and we rose to the challenge, but we all must continue to be vigilant as we resume “normal” activities.
Please, if you are feeling unwell, have a fever, or are experiencing respiratory symptoms (cold, cough, runny nose), stay home until you are well enough to return to St. James. Remember, you can watch our online services.

Masks are no longer mandatory, however if you choose to wear one your decision will be respected and we can provide masks for you if needed.

Our Greeters will offer you hand sanitizer - and additional bottles can be found throughout the church’s public spaces.

It is the responsibility of all of us to look out for each other, to keep each other well and to get back to what we do best at St. James, as a church community.

Thank you to all who have travelled with us on this challenging journey and a huge “Welcome Back” to those returning - you have been missed.

Take care and be safe, one and all.


2021 COVID Policy for St. James United Church

At the August 2021 Board Meeting, it was decided that the Covid Committee and the Outdoor Service Committee should
join as one committee. The committee members now include: Patricia James (minister), Karen Given, Jean Hillock, Karen Kelly and Hilary Mallett. This committee is responsible for ensuring that Covid safety protocols are adhered to at St. James United Church in Stroud, following the local health unit and United Church of Canada requirements.

This COVID Policy is available upon request for review by the Simcoe Muskoka DistrictHealth Unit (SMDHU) and members of St. James United Church (SJUC). Notification of any changes to this policy will be e-mailed, added to weekly announcements, and available in hard copy.

COVID Policy for St. James United Church developed by:
Jean Hillock, Karen Given, Hilary Mallett, Karen Kelly, Patricia James

As the Covid-19 pandemic is an ever-changing situation, the Covid Committee will do it’s best to ensure the safety of everyone entering the premises of SJUC by reviewing the Covid policies on an ongoing basis. Re-opening fully will happen as the committee deems it safe for everyone. Any mandates by the Ontario government or local health units that affect churches and worship services will be adhered to immediately.
Policies Are Effective as of:Nov. 26, 2021

SJUC is open for in-person services. Services are also offered online for those who are unable to meet SJUC Covid policies. In order to attend an in-person church service, the following is required, as regulated by the Provincial Government:
  • All adults and children aged 12 and over require proof of double vaccinations. Once it is provided, verification will be noted and it will not be required again.
  • Beginning December 24, 2021, proof of a single vaccination is required for children aged 5 - 11 years.
  • As of April 1, 2022, proof of double vaccination for all children ages 5 and up must be provided.

Acceptable Forms of Proof of Vaccination:
  • A Government issued printout (receipt) received at the time of vaccination, or
  • A Government issued printout or digital download obtained from the provincial Covid-19 vaccination portal; or
  • A receipt signed by an Indigenous Health Provider.

If Medically Exempt from Vaccination
Proof of Medical Exemption must be provided by:
  • a Physician, a Registered Nurse, or a Nurse Practitioner on letterhead providing the name and contact information for the Physician, Nurse or Nurse Practitioner.
  • The proof of Medical Exemption must provide a statement that there is a medical reason for the exemption and an effective time period that includes the date of access.

Guidelines for attending an in-person worship service
a)       If the chairlift is not required, entry through the west door into the narthex is requested.
  • A mask must be worn before entering the church.
  • Proof of vaccination will be requested as earlier outlined.
  • Covid protocol questions will be asked.
  • Hand sanitizer will be given.
  • Contact tracing information will be taken.
  • Directional arrows have been placed on the floor of the sanctuary for entering and exiting the sanctuary with as little close contact as possible.
  • Only those in a personal bubble will sit in the same pew.
b)       If the chairlift is required:
  • Provided sanitizer is to be used prior to using the chairlift.
  • All other guidelines as outlined above will be done upon entry into the sanctuary (at the piano) by a designated volunteer.

Additional Safety Measures
  • White ribbons have been placed to block off pews, thereby ensuring physical distancing from the worship leadership team and congregation members who are not in the same bubble.
  • These ribbons are not to be removed, as they have been strategically placed.
  • Hymn books are in the pews, as there is enough time between services to have the virus die. If services are within 72 hours, the hymn books will be removed.
  • The offering plate will not be passed around. It is placed in the narthex as you exit the sanctuary. PAR is an alternative to giving a physical donation.
  • Passing the Peace is not being done until further notice.
  • Singing is allowed with a mask on.
  • There will be no fellowship after the service until deemed safe according to Covid protocols.
  • All use of church facilities must be booked with the Office Administrator. This ensures that adequate time is allowed (72 hours) before the space is re-used. Otherwise, cleaning will be required by the Covid trained custodian. See Appendix 1.
  • The Office Administrator will inform the Covid committee of any request for room rentals, funerals or weddings. The Covid committee will ensure that all of the Covid policies are implemented.

For Church Use Other Than Sunday Worship Services:
  • Enter via the church office door.
  • Sign in: On the office door is the required chart for contact tracing. Fully complete the chart. Each person must sign in each time they come in.
  • ALL UCW and Committee meetings, along with any other use of the church facilities MUST be booked through the Office Administrator to avoid the need for Covid cleaning.
  • All meetings must follow mask mandates, contact tracing, hand sanitizing, and social distancing.

Appendix 1 - COVID Cleaning Protocol

If 72 hours has passed since anyone has been into the area, additional cleaning will not be required, as the virus is no longer present.

If an area has been used, it is to be marked with a “do not enter” posting until it has been cleaned by the custodian before re-use.

This information is for use if a room is rented. When getting ready for a function put a “cleaned” sign where needed.

  • For any COVID cleaning, the solvent needs to be one that will kill the virus.
  • If the area is to be used sooner than the 72 hours, then all of the touch surfaces must be cleaned. This includes bannisters, light switches, door handles/knobs, the top of the pews and the arm section of the pew. (Excludes all pianos or the organ, which will be cleaned by the music director.)
  • The pulpit area: The arms of any chairs used, the pulpit, and the microphone arm will be cleaned.
  • The AV folding table will also be cleaned.

  • A full cleaning of the bathrooms, including door handles.

Upper Room
  • General Traffic Areas: Wipe all the tables, chairs, inside and outside door handles, light switches and hand rails going up and down the stairs.
  • Chair Lift: Wipe the seat, hand rails and controls.
  • Kitchenette: Wipe the faucet, taps and both counters, as well as the front of the fridge and its door handle. Wipe window latches.

Admin Office
  • Do a full COVID cleaning protocol in the office for regular office cleaning due to it being a high traffic area.
Sunday School Rooms
  • If 72 hours has passed since anyone has been into the area, additional cleaning is not required.

The basement has a large amount of touch surfaces which will require thorough cleaning if rented, for which the custodian will be paid.

For self-protection, garbage & recycling containers should be wiped when taken out & when bringing them back in.

Putting up the signs to indicate that a COVID protocol has been completed will ensure that no one goes in prior to the area rental. Please contact Karen Kelly or Hilary Mallett with any questions.

The COVID committee will make final decisions regarding the safety of all persons using the church.
Covid Policy Revised Dec. 5, 2021