Summer 2020 will look different from any other summer in recent memory, as ministries adjust to CDC and state health guidelines. Different from worship services, summer activities and events hold additional liability for churches and ministries. It is vitally important that ministries consider all the factors before moving forward with any activities or events.
Below are recommendations for all summer activities:
- Most churches and ministries are canceling summer events
- There is a litigation risk as COVID-19 may spur lawsuits, so we recommend you use written waivers
- Limit attendance to children who have a strong connection with your current members
- Put precautions in place to protect staff and volunteers
Additional steps should be thought through for the various types of summer activities and events being considered. Due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19, any ministry holding activities and events this summer will be assuming risk.
Overnight summer camps will be an area of significant risk for ministries as it involves working with young people in a confined space for several days. It is our recommendation that overnight camps delay until after July 1. After July 1, it is our recommendation that you ensure correct safety protocols are in place to mitigate risk. These protocols are not only for the protection of the children but also the ministry. Additionally, we recommend you limit parent guests and only have staff members involved during camp weeks.
Vacation Bible Schools
Vacation Bible Schools will be more challenging this year than in prior years. It is your church’s decision whether to hold vacation Bible school or not. This is an area-by-area decision, as some states and locales have been more affected than others. Small classroom sizes, additional cleaning protocols, temperature checks, and liability waivers should be part of the process if your church is planning on moving forward with vacation Bible school this summer.
Day camps will be more challenging this year than in prior years as well. Day camps are similar to daycare facilities. Your ministry needs to think through reduced groups of children, cleaning protocols, social distancing, scaling back large-group activities, and liability waivers specific to COVID-19. These elements will ensure your church or ministry does not needlessly open itself up to a lawsuit for negligence.
If your church or ministry is planning an adult overnight retreat or event this summer, it is our recommendation to postpone this type of event unless the group size is reduced, with social distancing parameters put into place to ensure the safety of everyone involved. This age group is at higher risk than children, and the Ministry should require a signed liability release from each attending adult.
As your ministry determines how to handle summer events, remember there is no one-size-fits-all solution. If you are still trying to determine how best to navigate this complicated time for your church or ministry, please contact our office, and one of our team members will gladly assist you in answering your questions. Contact our office by calling 888-233-6255 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.