The risk for transmitting the virus is high in church nurseries and Sunday School.
Plan for children to be in worship with their families at this time.
(BWC Guidelines for Re-entering Well, p. 4)
The safety and wellbeing of young people is paramount. While the symptoms of COVID-19 are similar in children and adults, children with confirmed COVID-19 have generally shown mild symptoms such as fever, runny nose, and cough. Due to the need for physical closeness and touch in the care of young children, every measure should be taken to prevent them from being in danger of exposure to COVID-19 or exposing others such as Sunday School and nursery volunteers.
In order to avoid placing infants, children, and youth at risk, the nursery and Sunday School should not be reinstituted during Phase 2. Young people should sit with their immediate families during worship. When Phase 3 begins to unfold, churches should follow CDC and other guidelines for children’s safety. We do not yet have those guidelines.
Sunday School teachers and others should promote all of the virtual resources the church has available for children. Church leaders should continue to be intentional about the spiritual lives of the church’s children.
Poll parents and/or experiment with ways to connect virtually with children during Phases 1 and 2.
Consider partnering with area congregations to share virtual ministry resources for children.
Notify parents to keep young children with them at all times and to accompany their children to the restroom to ensure appropriate social distancing.
You may wish to consider creating a sign with this information.
Inform parents that they are responsible to ensure their children are wearing masks and to clean their children's hands as per guidelines. It is recommended that children under age 2 wear no mask because of the potential to suffocate.
Children’s sermons may still be delivered; however, children should not be invited to gather with the pastor during this time.
Invite a Christian educator or a skilled congregant with the appropriate gifts to serve as a resource to parents regarding the spiritual and emotional issues facing young people.
Children’s ministries are often family ministries. Ask parents to stay home with children who are not well.
Checklist for Re-Opening Sunday Schools and Nurseries
During Phase 3, some churches may choose to re-open nurseries and Sunday School, recognizing that this is a significant undertaking. One session of the Re-Entering Well Task Force should engage key Christian educators to make intentional plans for re-opening Sunday School and other programming for children following local guidelines.
Plan training sessions for teachers and nursery workers to equip them for safely re-opening your nursery and Sunday School that cover these topics/questions:
How will social distancing be observed, allowing at least six feet between each student?
How will social distancing guidelines be enforced? Do more adults need to be added in each classroom?
How may materials be used and shared in ways that do not risk transmission of the virus?
Ensure a significant supply of hand-sanitizer is on-hand and remind or help students to wash their hands regularly.
Develop a schedule for cleaning and disinfecting.
- BWC List of Resources for Parents During COVID-19
- BWC List of Resources for Family and Children’s Ministry During COVID-19
- Example of a Routine for Cleaning, Sanitizing and Disinfecting
- Listing of EPA-approved cleaning products
- Schools and Child Care Programs, from the Centers for Disease Control
- Guidance for Child Care Programs that Remain Open, from the Centers for Disease Control