Redirect – Checklist for Communities of Faith
Communities of faith are encouraged to use this checklist to protect the health of their staff and congregants during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. For detailed information, see CDC’s Interim Guidance for Communities of Faith. Also, view information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that includes recommended preventive practices and FAQs for faith-based and community leaders.
Update your emergency operations plan with the help of your local public health department, emergency operations coordinator or planning team, and other relevant partners to include COVID-19 planning. Be sure to include plans on how to protect staff and congregants at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
Designate a staff person to be responsible for responding to COVID-19 concerns. Staff and congregants should know who this person is and how to contact them if they become sick or are around others diagnosed with COVID-19. This person should also be aware of state or local regulatory agency policies related to group gatherings and other applicable state and local public health guidance and directives.
Identify space that can be used to separate sick people, if needed, and make plans for safely transporting them to their home or a healthcare facility, notifying the health department, and cleaning and disinfecting the facility after they have left.
Identify actions to take if you need to temporarily adjust operations, and be sure to account for staff and congregants who need extra precautions.
Promote the practice of everyday preventive actions:
- Frequently wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or use the inside of your elbow. Throw the tissue in the trash and immediately wash your hands.
- Practice social distancing, that is, maintain at least six feet between people not living in the same household.
- Encourage the use of cloth face coverings among staff and congregants, noting that cloth face coverings should not be placed on children younger than 2 years old, anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, or anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove it without assistance.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Stay home when sick.
Find freely available CDC print and digital resources that promote these preventive actions on CDC’s COVID-19 communications main page.
Have COVID-19 prevention supplies available for staff and others who come to your facility (e.g., soap, water, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, tissues, no-touch trash cans). Keep a few disposable cloth face coverings in stock for those who need them.
Plan for staff absences by developing flexible attendance and sick-leave policies, plan for alternative coverage, and monitor and track COVID-19-related staff absences.
Offer support to groups of people stigmatized by COVID-19 and speak out against negative behaviors to help counter stigma and discrimination.
Stay informed about local COVID-19 information and updates; check for updates from local health and other authorities.
Put your emergency operations and communication plans into action, including notifying local health officials and alerting staff and congregants who may have been exposed to COVID-19.
Communicate with your staff, congregants, and others using your facility if you need to adjust operations.
Encourage staff and congregants to talk with people they trust about their concerns and how they are feeling. Consider posting signs displaying the national distress hotline: 1-800-985-5990, or text TalkWithUs to 66746.
If someone becomes sick while at your facility, separate them into an isolated room and safely transport them home or to a healthcare facility as soon as possible. Notify the health department and follow CDC guidance on cleaning and disinfecting the building where the individual was present.