COVID-19 Task Force

An informed community is a strong community! Members of Shallowford’s COVID-19 Task Force (pictured below) meet weekly to brainstorm and strategize what it will look like for us to return to the church campus safely. Discussions are based upon our faith in God, the science of COVID-19, and our experiences in the medical and public health fields, as well as guidance from the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta. If you have specific questions about the church reopening, feel free to send an email to [email protected]

Know the Numbers

Visit the Georgia Department of Public Health Daily Status Report to track each state’s progress towards stopping the spread of COVID-19. The Daily Status Report is updated once daily at 3:00 p.m. Data is reported to the Georgia Department of Public Health from numerous labs, hospitals, and providers in various ways.

Know the Numbers

COVID-19 Testing

COVID-19 testing is free and widely available in Dekalb County! To register for a test, visit the Dekalb County Board of Health website. Below “COVID-19 Testing,” click “Register Online,” and follow the prompts to take a screening questionnaire, choose a location, and make a free appointment.

Vaccine Locator

Georgia eligibility is open for everyone 12 years of age and older for the COVID vaccine. Currently, three vaccines are authorized and recommended in the United States to prevent COVID-19:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech
  • Moderna
  • Johnson & Johnson – Janssen

The best COVID-19 vaccine is the first one that is available to you. All currently authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and reduce your risk of severe illness. Note: Pfizer is the only COVID vaccine currently authorized for children aged 12 through 17. 

Next Town Hall Meeting

Join us for a Zoom Town Hall on Monday, August 2 at 7:00 p.m. where the COVID-19 Task Force will update the congregation on the virus and its response to coronavirus. An informed community is a strong community, and this webinar will provide a way for us to learn and grow together. Please submit your questions in advance to [email protected]shallowford.org.

Town Hall

Resources

Questions about Worship 

Q: Do I have to wear a mask, even if I’m vaccinated?

  • Yes! In order to comply with the most recent CDC guidelines, we ask that all people wear masks indoors on Shallowford’s campus until further notice.

Q: Do I need to make reservations to come to worship?

  • No. We invite you to show up on Sunday and sit where you feel comfortable.

Q: Can I still worship from home online?

  • Yes, we will continue to livestream the 11:00 a.m. worship service.

Q: Will we use hymnals, bulletins, and bibles in the pews?

  • Yes! We will use hymnals, bulletins, and bibles.

Q: What time should I arrive for 11:00 a.m. worship?

  • The sanctuary doors will open for worship at 10:45 a.m., and we ask that everyone be seated by 11:00 a.m. for the opening voluntary.

Q: Will choirs sing during 11:00 am worship?

  • Yes, we will have a small choir each week! The choir will sing anthems and hymns.

Q: Will the congregation be allowed to sing during the 11:00 a.m. service?

  • Yes! According to the most recent updates from the CDC, singing is no longer considered a super spreader event for fully vaccinated people.

Q: Will the nursery be open during 11:00 a.m. worship?

  • The Nursery is open and ready to care for your little ones while you worship. Reservations are not required.

Q: Will we pass offering plates and friendship pads during 11:00 a.m. worship?

  • Not yet. Instead, we will collect an offering as people exit the sanctuary.

Q: I miss my friends and pastors! May I give them a hug?

  • At this point, we ask that you not give hugs or handshakes. Not everyone in our community has been vaccinated, and we want to reduce risk as much as possible. Greet each other with a wave instead!

Q: Will everyone who attends worship be vaccinated?

  • As vaccine availability grows, Shallowford is encouraging everyone to be vaccinated. However, we are not keeping a register of vaccinated members or requiring vaccination to attend events. 

Q: Will we have gatherings for only vaccinated people, or vaccinated-only seating sections? 

  • No, we do not plan to divide the congregation into vaccinated and unvaccinated groups, because we have some people who cannot be vaccinated due to health concerns or age eligibility.

Q: What is happening with Sunday School?

  • Children’s Sunday School meets in person each week. Adult Sunday School classes continue to meet on Zoom, and in person.

Q: Is the church office fully open?

  • No, the church office is still not fully open as we continue to distance our staff in order to reduce risk. To make sure someone is here when you come by, please call in advance!

Q: When will 8:30 a.m. worship resume in the Chapel?

  • Early worship will resume at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, August 8. Masks are required.

Questions about the COVID-19 Vaccine

Q: How do I register for a COVID-19 vaccine?

Q: Technology is a challenge for me, and I need help registering for a vaccine. Can anyone help me?

  • Yes! We have “vaccine champions” at Shallowford: members who have already received at least one dose of the vaccine and are willing to help others. Email the task force ([email protected]) to get connected with someone who can help.  

Q: I love to help. Can I help people register for the vaccine, find transportation, etc.?

  • Yes! Please email the task force to let us know you are willing to help. 

Q: Once I have an appointment, how easy is it to get the vaccine?

  • Easy. When you get the vaccine, you and your healthcare worker will both need to wear masks. While you wait, be sure to maintain distance from others. You should receive a vaccination card or printout that tells you what COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you received it, and where you received it. Even after you get your vaccine, you will need to keep wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth, washing your hands often, and staying at least 6 feet away from other people. It’s important to continue protecting yourself and others.

Q: What does “herd immunity” mean, and when might we reach it?

  • Herd immunity means that enough people in a community are protected from getting a disease because they’ve already had the disease or they’ve been vaccinated. Herd immunity makes it hard for the disease to spread from person to person, and it even protects those who cannot be vaccinated, like newborns. The percentage of people who need to have protection in order to achieve herd immunity varies by disease. CDC and other experts are studying herd immunity and will provide more information as it is available.

Questions about Shallowford

Q: Is Shallowford open for any in-person gatherings now?

  • Yes. Shallowford currently offers Sunday worship in the Sanctuary at 11:00 a.m . Shallowford is also open for small group gatherings, indoors and outdoors. Children’s ministry, youth ministry, music ensembles for all ages, and Shallowford Presbyterian Women are currently meeting in small groups on campus. Contact your staff liaison if you have questions about gathering on or off campus!

Q: Once I’m vaccinated, will I still have to wear a mask at Shallowford?

  • Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention updated their guidelines, recommending that all people (vaccinated and unvaccinated) wear masks in indoor public settings. 

Q: Who decides when Shallowford is ready to take a reopening step, and how?

  • On May 16, 2021 the session voted to allow staff, committees, and the COVID-19 Task Force to set guidelines to safely reopen the campus. Recommendations no longer require a session vote. Recommendations are based on two key metrics:
    • The number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in Dekalb County.
    • The new COVID-19 PCR test positivity rate in Dekalb County.
      Both of those metrics are tracked through the Georgia Department of Public Health.

Q: Can individual Shallowford groups start gathering now?

  • Yes, individual Shallowford groups are welcome to gather in person. Talk to your staff liaison for more information about how to schedule group time on or off campus. Remember that meeting in-person may not be the best option for every group, as we continue our mission of inviting all people. 

Q: What about Sunday School?

  • Children’s Sunday School classes meet in person each week. Adult Sunday School classes will continue to meet on Zoom or in person.

Q: Will worship continue to be streamed for people who stay home?

  • Yes! The pandemic has introduced a new way of “inviting” people to Shallowford and staying connected when we are absent, and we expect that livestreaming will continue once the pandemic subsides.

Q: Are we saying that persons at higher risk are not welcome at Shallowford?

  • Absolutely not! We will continue to live out our mission of inviting all people to a faithful way of life in Christ and in community. We encourage people to use their judgment and follow health and public safety guidelines, and we will stay connected through technology with all people who are unable or uncomfortable returning to campus in person.

Q: What is happening with music at Shallowford, in light of COVID-19?

  • Music is vital to our congregational life. As we move forward, Shallowford will continue to support Atlanta instrumentalists, the choir will continue to be a vibrant community, and music will continue to be a key part of our worship together.

Q: How has the pandemic impacted Shallowford’s financial health?

  • Thanks to the generosity of Shallowford’s members and the leadership of the session, Shallowford continues to be in a healthy financial position. Thanks be to God! We ask members to continue practicing generous stewardship by giving online or mailing contributions to the church office.

Q: What should I do if I have more questions or concerns?

  • We would love for you to email the task force at [email protected]. The task force meets every Tuesday, and someone will follow up with you as soon as possible. 

Zoom Recordings