Youth Ministry reopening recommendations

As the state of Illinois has entered into Phase Four of Reopening, IGRC churches will begin planning to reopen their buildings and transitioning ministries from online to in-person. The following recommendations will help guide the conversation, and any decisions made as these plans are developed to start doing in person youth ministry:

  1. All churches should follow the guidance of the Bishop as to when and how churches can be open. Check here for the latest updates from the Bishop
  2. Church Relaunch Teams should include a representative from youth ministry.
  3. Review Safe Sanctuary policies. Volunteers should be reminded of these policies as plans are made for transitioning back to in-person programming. A shortage of volunteers is a possibility as high-risk adults will remain home. Some changes in policy may need to be considered in order to reduce the possibility of spreading infection.
  4. 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.
    8. Youth trips, outings, and missions should not involve communal travel.
  5. 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, with a maximum of 50 people.
  6. Attendance should be taken at all youth gatherings, including youth and adults in attendance, in case COVID-19 tracing needs to occur.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

Sites that will continue to post new articles, lessons, ideas and reflections

Safe Practices for Online Youth Ministry

Devotionals and Reflections

Physically Distanced, No Contact Game Ideas

Resources for Ministry with High School and College Seniors

Mental Health Resources

Virtual Activities for Youth

Other Resources