Compiled Recommendations for Safely Gathering Youth In-Person

Recommendations and best practices for gathering youth in-person.

Safety Guidelines:

  1. Youth programming must follow CDC guidelines for sanitation, safety, size, and social distancing.
  2. Guidelines and procedures for deep cleaning and regular sanitizing of all spaces used for youth ministries should be developed prior to in-person events and programs re-starting.
  3. Develop a plan for providing face coverings for youth and adults who arrive without one.
  4. All staff, volunteers, and youth should wear face coverings and maintain 6 feet physical distance from all present whether gatherings are indoors or outdoors. Those who live in the same household can be considered a “family unit” and can be within 6 feet of one another but must wear a face covering at all times.
  5. When possible, youth gatherings should be held outdoors.
  6. When youth gatherings are held indoors, limit the time to 30-35 minutes since contracting COVID-19 involves both distances from infected persons and duration of exposure.
  7. Whether indoors or outdoors, a space of 36 square feet should be accounted for per “family unit” in attendance to allow adequate space for physically distancing as recommended by the CDC. For younger kids, consider using things like hula hoops, taped off squares or rope circles to help them understand and maintain the appropriate distancing.
  8. Youth trips, outings, and missions (if possible and allowed) should not involve communal travel.
  9. Check your state and local guidelines for the number of people allowed to gather, both outdoors and indoors. Registering or accounting for youth expected to attend in-person events and programs must be used in order to limit the number of youth and adults.
  10. Create a plan to have parents take temperatures BEFORE youth come to your gathering and consider taking temperatures yourself (and noting the results) for each person upon arrival.
  11. Attendance should be taken at all youth gatherings, including youth and adults in attendance, in case COVID-19 tracing needs to occur.
  12. Food should be avoided in a communal setting. It is recommended that youth bring their own food to gatherings when possible. For guidance on how to have food safely, contact your county Health Department.
  13. Be aware that while youth appear to be less vulnerable than other age groups, some youth are vulnerable, and some youth are in regular contact with someone who is vulnerable. It is vital to continue to provide ministry opportunities for those who are not able or are not comfortable attending in person.
  14. Be sure to have the full approval of your church, and officials in your town, before proceeding with in-person gatherings.