During the COVID-19 pandemic, WCF has taken a posture of caring for and protecting the most vulnerable members of our community by embracing a policy of universal masking during worship. We recognize that in recent months, WCF has maintained our mask mandate, while mandates have been lifted in many other settings. Our Fall 2022 survey of the WCF community reflected changing attitudes about COVID and masking, compared to earlier survey results.
With vaccination rates high and COVID cases comparatively low compared to the peak of the pandemic, the CDC has recommended using a “Community Levels” metric to determine appropriate levels for community prevention actions, based on a metric that assesses how COVID-19 is impacting a particular community (new infection rates, hospitalizations from COVID, etc).
WCF will lift its mask mandate for adults and children, effective January 15, 2023, and shift to a policy where masking requirements and other COVID prevention methods are aligned with current CDC’s community level ratings. Consistent with the CDC’s guidelines, when community levels are low or medium, WCF will not require mandatory masking (see below). While lifting the mask mandate, WCF will continue several other COVID-19 prevention methods, including
1) maintaining a section of the sanctuary where individuals can choose to be more socially distanced,
2) having hand sanitizer available,
3) continuation of efforts to increase ventilation and airflow in our HVAC system,
4) encouraging community members to stay home when exposed to COVID-19 or when sick, and
5) notifying community members when there is COVID exposure at a WCF event.
We recognize that attitudes and COVID precaution measures will vary by individual, and we will continue to embrace and welcome those who make a personal choice to continue voluntary masking or worshiping online.
The CDC’s COVID-19 Community Level for DC and the surrounding communities is currently LOW (1/27/23), though subject to change from week to week.
At LOW Community levels, no masking is recommended by CDC.
At MEDIUM Community levels, CDC recommends masking for individuals at high risk (or those living with others at high risk of contracting COVID).
At HIGH Community levels, CDC recommends masking for everyone.
If you have questions or comments, please follow up with Rebecca Hunt, Deacon for Worship.