COVID19 and Ministry with Children
Practical considerations for children’s programs
In physical gatherings follow these principles to reduce the risk of transmission of coronavirus
- Be far enough apart physically so that droplets from people’s mouth and nose are not inhaled by others.
- Reduce the likelihood of touching the same surface as someone else who has coronavirus. The coronavirus can live on some surfaces for 3-7 days.
- Promote good hygiene to reduce risk of virus transmitting from hands to surfaces and other people.
- Be able to trace all the people who were together at the gathering. If someone is later found to have Covid19 the NSW or ACT Health Department will contact people so they can isolate themselves to reduce the risk of transmission to the wider community.
- Reduce congestion on arrival and exit
We can put in place practices that minimise the close contact children have with one another, but do not need to be as strict about kids and physical distancing. Importantly, parents, carers and group leaders need to maintain distance from other adults and from children where practical (other than their own) as there is a significant risk of adults transmitting the virus to one another. It is essential your team puts into practice the guidelines from ACT Government or guidelines from NSW Health for religious gatherings. The following are some practical steps you can take:
Communication & Signage
- Making sure people know what is expected in terms of physical distancing – both signage and verbal communication
- Give carers confidence that you have steps in place to keep children safe.
- Ensure people know they must not attend a program if they are unwell.
- Ensure parents know that if their child is noticed to be unwell, they will be asked to take them home.
- Have clear signage about how many people can be on the premises or in the room
- Have a Covid Safe Plan in place (in NSW this needs to be registered.) You do not need a separate Covid Safe Plan for each ministry but the individual needs of that ministry must be considered in shaping the plan.
- Where possible have separate entry and exit points. Plan entry to the program and returning children to parents in a way that avoids adults congregating.
- Use signage to communicate clearly expectations and safety messages.
- Collect contact details. At a minimum name and phone number of every person in attendance including leaders. Remember you need these contact details digitally for both contact tracing and to be stored for at least 45 years as part of your safe church requirements. In the ACT anyone over 16 years of age must check-in.
- Hand hygiene should be encouraged and supported throughout the program.
- Total numbers on site to be within the government restrictions currently up to 25 or 1 person/2m2
- Group singing and reciting in kid’s programs can occur without masks.
- Camp sites following covid safe plans can host overnight programs for children and young people.
Hygiene & Cleaning
- Encourage regular handwashing (on arrival, before and after eating, after toileting as a minimum) – ensure bathrooms are well stocked with liquid soap and disposable paper towel with bins.
- Supply hand sanitiser at entry points and throughout the room. Keep hand sanitiser out of reach of young children so they do not use it unsupervised.
- Clean toys and equipment with soapy water and/ or disinfectant.
- Clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces eg. door handles, taps, tables
- See the Safework Australia Website for detailed information about cleaning and what products are suitable to use.
- Avoid self-service of food. Have people assigned to serve food to others.
- It may be easiest to serve individually packaged food or ask people to BYO meals/snacks.
- Anyone serving food needs to maintain strict hygiene measures – eg washing hands, disposable gloves, tongs etc.
You will find helpful guidance available through the NSW Government https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/covid-safe/places-of-worship, ACT Government https://www.covid19.act.gov.au/business-and-work/weddings/what-businesses,-venues-and-places-of-worship-need-to-do and NSW Education Advice https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/education or if you are still have questions contact the Baptist Association Children and Family Ministries Team firstname.lastname@example.org
(Provided as a part of the Safe Church Health Check) Document last updated on 26/03/20
Playgroup Leaders group to ask questions and share ideas
Children and Family Ministry Leaders group to ask questions and share ideas.