TPC Enters Phase 2 of Updated Regathering Plan
Report of the Regathering Task Force – 10/6/20
- The many variables that affect the percentage of risk one has for contracting a virus in aerosol and/or droplet form.
- Steps that can be taken to decrease risk of virus contraction/spread
- How to monitor the pandemic’s impact on our geographical location.
To study the above, members of the team have:
- Attended numerous “webinars” led by leading experts in various fields (including public health, music and virus transmission, HVAC and virus transmission),
- Read an abundance of articles
- Regularly monitored the latest information from leading institutions including the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, the Harvard Global Health Institute, the State of Maryland, the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Presbytery of Baltimore, and more.
In addition, the team has been blessed by the participation of Dr. Alain Labrique (Professor of International Health and Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health), and Dr. Polly Trexler (Director of Health Care Epidemiology and Infection Control, The Johns Hopkins Health System)
Primary factors affecting virus transmission are:
- The amount of virus particles one is exposed to
- The duration of time one is exposed to virus particles
- The manner in which one may be exposed to virus particles (e.g. breathing through the mouth or nose; touching a surface with particles and then rubbing your eye).
Increasing evidence demonstrates the efficacy of utilizing these practices to minimize risk of transmission:
- Gather outdoors whenever possible, as virus particles disperse and dissipate much more quickly outdoors than indoors.
- Remain socially distanced (> 6 ft) from non-household members at every gathering.
- Wearing masks that cover over both one’s nose and mouth at every gathering
- Wash or sanitize hands before and after every gathering
Metrics can monitor the pandemic’s impact on our specific geographic location. The team has identified the following as particularly important for measuring pandemic expansion and/or contraction:
- Number of new cases per 100k people per day
- Percent Positivity: the percentage of people tested who test positive for the virus
- Reproductivity Rate (or the Rt Factor): the average number of people one infected person will spread be the virus to.
Through this research, it is clear that TPC CANNOT ELIMINATE the risk of infection for anyone who attends an in-person TPC gathering. We can, however, take important steps to reduce this risk. As such, the Team’s recommendations are:
- Gather outdoors when possible
- Virus particles dissipate much more quickly outdoors
- Gathering outdoors while masked and socially distanced further decreases the risk of spread.
- If gathering indoors
- Properly disinfect (using CDC approved disinfectant sprays and wipes) all interior floors, flat surfaces, and areas potentially touched after each area/room’s usage.
- Utilize only utilize rooms that have proper ventilation, and do not use/send recirculated air from/to other areas of the building
- The Team recommends limiting room usage to Thompson Hall and the Chapel once/day.
- Require proper social distancing among participants (minimum of 6 ft. between non-household members) at all events during pandemic
- Require mask wearing (covering the mouth and nose) at all events during pandemic
- Request proper hygiene (handwashing and/or sanitizing, coughing/sneezing into elbow) of participants at any in-person gathering
Phased Regathering Plan
The Team recommends the implementation of the accompanying Phased Regathering Plan with corresponding restrictions, according to these criteria:
|Daily New Cases per 100k||
Long-term trend approaching 10 cases/100k || Never > 13.5 cases/100k
< 10 cases/100k
Long-term trend approaching 5 || Never > 7.5%
|Infection Reproductive Rate*||
Long-term trend approaching 1.0 || Never > 1.5
*Rationale for Updated Metric Analysis
Originally, the Team recommended specific scores within each metric in order to move from one phase to the next. However, in studying both the metrics and trendlines further, the Team now believes the most important criteria for a given area are not the specific scores of that day, but both the long and short-term trends within each metric. This is in part because some of the metrics themselves (e.g. the Rt factor) do not measure static points in time, but trends or 7-day averages. As such, the metric score for one day can be changed by the score the following week).
Phases of Regathering
*TPC’s Social Distancing Requirements for indoor and outdoor church gatherings
When attending a TPC event, participants must:
- wear masks covering nose and mouth
- keep > 6 ft distance from non-household members
- use provided hand-sanitizer upon arrival
No communal sharing of food or drink.
**Children’s Ministries (Pre-K – Grade 5) will remain “remote” through Phase 3
***CDC Guidelines and State & Local Ordinances supersede Towson Presbyterian Church’s Regathering Plans and Protocols. Should such guidelines or ordinances contradict the information herein, the CDC’s guidelines and governmental ordinances shall apply. TPC encourages everyone to remain socially distanced and masked when in a public setting.
****Session may discern then need to move back to a previous phase depending upon pandemic conditions