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Coronavirus COVID-19 Precautions and Protocols

At Saint Michael’s, we are asking the following of parishioners:

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water. This is the best preventive method to reducing infectious diseases like coronavirus.
  2. Exchange the Peace without making body contact. Do not shake hands or share a hug. A head nod with eyes met is an excellent alternative; another is to simply greet each other verbally with eyes met. Remember to wear your name tag.
  3. Communion will be offered in one kind—bread only—and bread will be distributed by one priest having cleaned their hands before any handling of it. We have long believed that Communion in either kind (be it bread alone or wine alone) is full Communion.
  4. We are collecting the offering differently. Place your offerings in the plate as you enter or exit the church. Parishioners must not take the plate in hand; and must not pass the plate to anyone. You can also give online!
  5. Stay home if you are sick, have a cough or fever, or are otherwise unwell.
  6. Stay home if you have an underlying medical condition, are pregnant, or are immune-compromised.

Additional steps we have taken:

  • We have implemented a hand washing advertising campaign here at the church and you’ll see signage posted in key areas reminding people to wash their hands.
  • We are wiping down commonly touched surfaces, like interior and exterior door handles and crash bars, table and counter tops, etc. with antiseptic wipes or a sanitizing solution. If you can help do this on occasion, contact Jason Anderson and he will gladly put you to work!
  • We continue to supply restrooms with soap and paper towels for hand washing; if you notice something missing, alert a Vestry person or any staff member.
  • Hand sanitizer and facial tissues are available at the greeter desk. Hand washing is more effective at preventing transmission of illness.

Additional protocols for Altar Guild members:

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before beginning setup for communion.
  2. Use silver vessels until further notice.
  3. Please continue to set out one silver chalice, purificator, paten, etc. as per normal for the Priest’s use during Communion. Put only a single serving of wine in the cruet.
  4. Refrain from using cloth communion tray inserts or covers for the time being.
  5. Wear vinyl/nitrile gloves when cleaning up after communion. Gloves are single use; discard after use.
  6. Wipe down the plastic communion tray liner and communion tray with a solution or cleaning agent containing bleach after each service.
  7. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after cleaning up from communion.
  8. Wipe down commonly touched surfaces in the sacristy (countertops, door handles, cabinet handles, etc.) with a solution or cleaning agent containing bleach (if making your own solution, a ratio of 1 tablespoon of bleach to 1 quart of water is required, or 1/4-cup bleach to 1 gallon of water). Allow surfaces to air dry; to be fully effective, the sanitizing agent needs to sit for 2 or 3 minutes.
  9. Ensure the bottle of hand sanitizer is left on the re-table.
  10. Stay home if you are sick, have a productive cough or fever. Find a substitute if possible.

Additional protocols for Coffee Hosts:

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before prepping food at home or church, as soon as you arrive on Sunday morning, and after you use the restroom.
  2. Follow safe food handling practices. Please know when hand washing is required and use barriers like vinyl/nitrile gloves and tongs to help prevent the transmission of pathogens. Gloves are in the cabinet above the sink. Watch King County Public Health’s instructional videos (and get a good laugh at the dated music/clothing in the videos).
  3. If you opt to serve food, it must be commercially prepared and individually-wrapped.  We will skip food entirely and only serve beverages at coffee hour and we may yet implement a “no food” policy for coffee hour based on recommendations of public health officials.
  4. If you serve food that is not individually-wrapped, at a minimum, you must ensure serving utensils are available for every plate, bowl, or dish. If you see children or adults not using the serving utensils, say something and help remedy behavior. To make distribution of foods safer, we recommend that you place items in single-serve containers like Dixie cups—a supply of these can be found in the cabinets above the kitchen sink.

Additional protocols for greeters/ushers and Vestry members:

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as soon as you arrive for Sunday worship and after you use the restroom.
  2. Please wear your name tag and remind those whom to greet to wear their nametag as well. It makes exchanging the Peace more meaningful when using names: “God’s peace be with you, Jason!”
  3. Avoid making hand-to-body contact. Think about the implications of this, please. When you’re passing out bulletins you should do so at arm’s length.
  4. We will take up the offering differently. Parishioners will be asked to place offerings in the plate when entering or leaving worship. Please mention this as you greet people: “We’re taking up the offering differently. Just drop your offering in the plate on your way in, please.” Parishioners must not take the plate in hand and may not pass the plate. During the offertory, Greeters will not carry either the offering plates or oblations to the altar, for the time being.

Additional protocols for Godly Play storytellers and doorkeepers:

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as soon as you arrive for Sunday worship and after you use the restroom.
  2. Avoid making hand-to-body contact. Think about the implications of this, please. When assisting or comforting children, you should do so at arm’s length.
  3. Do not let your hands touch your face, mouth, nose, or eyes.
  4. Do not use carpet squares for the time being.
  5. Do not assign bread bearers; we have temporarily discontinued this activity. When you discuss this with your class, be sure to stress that (1) they’ve done nothing wrong and (2) this is something that people who care about health and safety have asked us to do.
  6. Take children to the restroom to wash their hands before returning to worship. Sing the Doxology or A-B-C song together while washing hands to help children reach the recommended 20 seconds.
  7. Wipe down common surfaces and items (door handles, table tops, markers, Godly Play story pieces, etc.) with bleach wipes or similar before you leave. One thorough pass over a surface is sufficient; allow to air dry.

Additional protocols for choir and other small groups:

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as soon as you arrive for rehearsal/meeting/gathering or Sunday worship and after you use the restroom.
  2. Avoid making direct hand-to-body contact. Think about the implications of this, please. It means no handshakes or hugs or pats on the back.
  3. Do not let your hands touch your face, mouth, nose, or eyes.

Additional Resources


A Collect for Those Suffering from Infection

O God, the strength of the weak and the comfort of sufferers: Mercifully accept our prayers, and grant to all who are affected by this virus the help of your power, that their sickness may be turned into health, and sorrow into joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Collect for Healers and Caregivers

Sanctify, O Lord, those whom you have called to the study and practice of the arts of healing and caregiving, and to the prevention of disease and pain. Strengthen them by your life-giving Spirit, that by their ministries the health of the community may be promoted and your creation glorified; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.