COVID-19 Update #2
COVID-19 – Pastor Ryan Update #2
Dear North Valley Friends and Family,
I have spent the day in on the phone and in meetings with state health advisors from the Governor’s office, officials from the Department of Health Services, the Superintendent of DVUSD, our staff and elder team, key volunteers, and most importantly with our Lord Jesus Christ in prayer.
The good news is that after careful and prayerful evlaution, it seems best that the church and all of its regular ministries, worship services, events, and outreaches should remain open!
While we are adding new procedures and precautions with COVID-19 concerns, there is no reason to believe our church should suspend services, according to experts.
As this situation is evolving, we will assess and continue to make adjustments as necessary. (You can read a list of updated procedural changes below.)
Like I said, yesterday…. The Apostle Paul taught the church in Ephesus, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as the wise.”
In these times of concern, it’s important to slow down and count the facts. Facts fuel wisdom. We have more than 7 million people living in our state; we have 3 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
While this is still a serious concern, according to the Department of Health Services the concern for spreading the virus is very low.
As I spent time on the phone with Dr. Finch (the Superintendent of DVUSD), here is what I learned:
The Local School Districts Are All Open!
- No school district in our area is closing, nor does the State Department of Health Services recommend them to close, nor does it foresee any mandatory closing. All decisions will be at the local level.
- In all of Deer Valley School District with 38 schools with more than 35,000 students, there are no cases of COVID-19.
- All school districts are currently open, including Paradise Valley, Peoria, and Scottsdale school districts are all open. That’s roughly, 65,000 other students in the North Valley area, with not one case of COVID-19.
This is not to say that we shouldn’t be cautious. But it does say that we shouldn’t go crazy. To my understanding, there will likely be school closures in our state and valley, and we as a church can help.
North Valley can help with potential food shortage
In talking with Dr Finch, I asked how we can help. He shared with me that many of the kids that are on the free or reduced meals program will go without food if the schools close. While there are no plans for this to happen, it is a high probability for a number of schools to do this for precautionary practices throughout the state. In the event this does happen, this would leave a lot of kids hungry. Many of the Title I schools provide breakfast and lunch for families at or below the poverty line.
One way we could help as a church is by starting to collect food for this potential risk of food insecurity within the valley and state.
In our services, we will begin to provide food boxes for our church members and attenders to pick up and fill with groceries, non-perishable items, dry food items, canned food, etc and bring back to a service for redistribution. At North Valley, we want to help connect a community of resources to a community in need.
What is NVCC doing?
- Creating awareness on our campus and throughout all ministries with pertinent information and tips about staying healthy.
- Making necessary adjustments to our cleaning procedures for all our ministry areas and teams.
- Making necessary adjustments to our cleaning procedures for our campuses, including increased attention to “high touch” areas as well as providing supplementary cleaning.
- Launching awareness campaigns across all ministries with pertinent information and tips about staying healthy
- Immediately implementing specialized cleaning procedures for our custodial team.
- Suspending international mission trips.
- We are exploring necessary adjustments to Food and Nutrition procedures for our Café.
- Adjusting communion and offering procedures.
- Informing all volunteers, children, youth, and staff to not serve or attend while experiencing flu-like symptoms. Those who have had flu-like symptoms should be symptom free for 24 hours prior to returning to any North Valley program. This includes any fever of 100 degrees or more.
Hand sanitizing stations have been placed throughout the building and should be frequently used by volunteers, children, youth, and attendees.
- We are asking our friendly greeting team and staff to limit handshakes and hugs and replace them with friendly smiles and words of encouragement.
- We are increasing our cleaning and facilities teams for thorough cleaning/disinfecting practices with added focus in the children and youth areas as well as high-touch surface areas and doorknobs.
- Minimizing or suspending other programs that are not needed.
In closing, we understand that there are a number or families and individuals that should use wisdom and not attend our services or any larger gathering in the community, such as those with existing medical conditions, underlying health issues, perhaps the elderly with respiratory problems, weakened immune systems, or simply those that are sick or don’t feel well. In these cases, we are adding a new option of ministry to offer online video access to the teaching that will be posted on Monday or Tuesday following Sunday’s message. As this is a new realm of ministry and technology, we will be needing volunteers and will be training on and implementing this immediately.
I hope this helps you grasp a sense of where we are as a church and what’s ahead! At a time like this we need to be reminded of our Hope… I am sure this week hasn’t been easy, but I do want to share with you the Hope we can find, despite any shortage of hand sanitizer or hazmat suit you might have seen on TV! As Christians, let’s live with a calculated courage! I look forward to seeing you soon!