FROM: Department of Communications
DATE: August 17, 2021
RE: Updated COVID-19 Guidelines for Parishes and Schools
|The Department of Communications wishes to share updated COVID-19 guidelines for parishes and schools in the Archdiocese of Detroit. We ask that these updated guidelines be shared with the necessary parish and school staff.
- The Archdiocese of Detroit encourages Mass-goers, regardless of vaccination status, to wear face-coverings and to practice social distancing to reduce exposure to COVID-19
- Each pastor/In Solidum team should evaluate their location in the Archdiocese and implement the following protocols:
- Establish an area where social distancing is observed
- Strongly encourage masking and social distancing
- Hang signage indicating masking and social distancing are encouraged
- Evaluate space for the choir, and strongly recommend that those who are unvaccinated do not participate in the choir at this time
- Retain sanitization/face covering surrounding the distribution of Holy Communion
- The faithful are reminded that particular dispensations from the obligation to participate in Holy Mass remain in effect for people who are ill or who find themselves in other specific circumstances. More information is available at aod.org/emergencyresponse
As information about the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, the AOD Return to School Task Force meets regularly to assess and update its safety guidelines to ensure the health and wellness of everyone in our school and parish communities. The Task Force met recently to reexamine guidelines put in place on July 21, 2021.
Updates to the guidelines include:
The full, updated policy is available here.
- The CDC recommends that all people wear masks indoors to reduce exposure to COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status.
- Likewise, the Archdiocese recommends but does not require indoor masking for all students, faculty, staff, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status. Schools in the Archdiocese will promote and encourage consistent and correct mask use.
- Schools will promote proper handwashing and covering of coughs and sneezes
- Schools will clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces at least once daily
- Schools will improve ventilation by opening doors and windows, using child-safe fans, and making changes to HVAC or air filtration systems when possible.
- It is recommended that schools maintain at least six feet of physical distance between students to help limit the need for quarantine in the event of a positive case within the classroom. If all students are masked, the recommended distance may be decreased to three feet.
The AOD will continue to monitor the following factors to help determine appropriate mitigation strategies in our schools:
- Level of community transmission of COVID-19.
- COVID-19 vaccination coverage in the community and among students, teachers, and staff.
- COVID outbreaks or increasing trends in the school or surrounding community.
- Ages of children served in the school and risk associated with school, extracurricular, and social activities.
Due to the recent surge of the Delta variant across the country, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends universal masking in public indoor settings in areas of substantial and high transmission of the virus, regardless of vaccination status. Fully vaccinated individuals with a known exposure to someone with COVID-19 should get tested three to five days after exposure and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until receiving a negative test. If a fully vaccinated individual tests positive or has symptoms, he/she should isolate for 10 days.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) states there is no statewide mask mandate, but rules of local health departments, establishments, and school districts must be followed. MDHHS recommends masking as the safer option in areas of substantial and high transmission.
Currently, Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties are listed as areas of substantial and high transmission.
Find more information on the new mask guidance here.
In accordance with these recommendations, the Archdiocese of Detroit recommends but does not require indoor masking for individuals working in or visiting parishes, regardless of vaccination status. It is also recommended that individuals maintain at least three to six feet of physical distance, when possible, to help limit the need for quarantine in the event of a positive case.
Employees should refrain from reporting to work if they are ill, following the office protocol(s) for reporting an absence. Staff shall notify the pastor immediately of any possible or confirmed case of COVID-19, and parishes will continue to collaborate with their county Health Departments to establish contact tracing and to implement quarantines when deemed necessary by health officials.
The Department of Human Resources will keep you apprised of any new recommendations or orders.