Coronavirus

UPDATED Aug. 26, 2021

Today, the Illinois Department of Public Health and Governor announced a state-wide mandate beginning on Monday Aug. 30, that all people wear face masks while with non-household members in public indoor spaces. On Aug. 24, the Illinois Great Rivers Conference extended cabinet, district superintendents, and Bishop discussed and released the following statement:

As much as we’d like it be otherwise, COVID-19 is still a danger to our congregations and communities. As disciples of Jesus Christ, the Great Physician, Christians are called to model the highest standards of care for others, especially those who are at higher risk of becoming sick. At this time, we strongly recommend that all IGRC pastors convene a meeting of their local church leaders to review and update their COVID-19 health safety practices as soon as possible.

A set of current best health safety practices for local churches can be reviewed at below with the downloadable document. If you have additional questions, please contact your district superintendent or Curtis Brown, IGRC Director of Connectional Ministries at cbrown@igrc.org or 217-529-2442.

UPDATED Aug. 24, 2021

Bishop Palmer and the Cabinet are calling on churches to convene or establish a safety team to assess risk in the local congregation.

Download Covid Safety Practices for Churches... (4 pages, PDF)

UPDATED Aug. 4, 2021

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Illinois Great Rivers Conference is updating and revising its COVID-19 safety practices for its staff and visitors to the IGRC Conference Center and other IGRC staff workplaces. 

  • All staff and visitors to the IGRC Conference Center will sign-in upon entering and sign-out upon exiting. 
  • All visitors to the IGRC Conference Center will need to be admitted and escorted by a staff person. The IGRC Trustees, Personnel Committee, Extended Cabinet and Bishop have agreed with the risk management assessment conducted by Church Mutual insurance to keep the exterior doors of the Conference Center locked for the physical safety of our employees and guests. 
  • All staff and visitors who are not yet full vaccinated will be required to wear a face mask while inside the IGRC Conference Center or other IGRC staff workplaces.
  • All staff and visitors who are fully vaccinated will be required to wear a face mask while inside the IGRC Conference Center or other IGRC staff workplaces whenever the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the Illinois Department of Public Health, or local county Department of Public Health recommends doing so. Currently, they recommend wearing masks during periods of “high” or “substantial” viral community transmission according to the CDC’s tracking metrics found at: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view
  • Staff members who are alone in their workspace with the door closed may remove their masks while they work.
  • All staff and visitors will maintain social distance of six feet between other people while inside the IGRC Conference Center or other IGRC staff workplaces.
  • In addition to wearing masks and social distancing, all staff and visitors should avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, wash hands often, cover coughs and sneezes, clean high touch surfaces, and regularly monitor their health in accordance with CDC recommendations: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html
  • Staff members and visitors should monitor their health daily and not to come into the IGRC Conference Center or other workplace if they are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, including
    • Fever over 100° F
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Cough
    • Chills
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle or body pain
    • Headache
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
    • Sore throat
    • Congestion or runny nose 
  • Staff members experiencing any symptoms should contact their supervisor to inform them that they will not be at their work site as scheduled. Keep them updated daily. Employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are expected to stay home until they are free of fever and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines. 
  • When appropriate, supervisors should work with staff members to establish appropriate on-site, on-line, and work-from-home schedules that allow staff members to accomplish their tasks while minimizing risk.
  • Staff members of visitors who contract COVID-19 should alert their supervisor or staff contact person as soon as possible. The IGRC will notify other staff and visitors who might have been exposed in the IGRC Conference Center or other staff workplace and recommend that they seek medical advice and testing.

Staff members who have been exposed to or contracted COVID-19 will follow the CDC guidance on determining when it is appropriate to return to work in the IGRC Conference Center or other staff workplace: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/quarantine.html

UPDATED June 11, 2021

Illinois goes to Phase 5

On June 4, the Illinois Department of Public Health released its guidance on COVID-19 safety practices for Phase 5. The entire State of Illinois is on track to meet IDPH’s safety metrics and will be entering Phase 5 on Jun 11, 2021. Here is what it means for our Illinois Great Rivers Conference churches:

  1. We will enter Phase 5 on June 11. At that time, we will retract our Illinois Great Rivers Conference general health safety recommendations.
  2. Local churches should continue to be cautious and rely on their church health safety team to make determinations about safe practices in their ministries.
  3. Local churches should continue to monitor and support recommendations from national, state, and local public health officials.
  4. State safety guidance, including recommendations on when to wear masks and how to practice social distancing, can be found at: http://dph.illinois.gov/sites/default/files/COVID19/Illinois%20Phase%205%20Guidelines.pdf

Some ministries, including day camps and preschools, will need to continue to follow additional safety practices as described by the IDPH licensing requirements.