Since the outset of the pandemic, Central has sought to utilize the counsel and guidance of various organizations and individuals with expertise regarding appropriate safety measures to incorporate into various elements of our worship and ministries. We have also relied heavily on key metrics and
trend analysis that has been regularly supplied to our Board of Trustees. All the while, we have recognized that the actions we have taken have been too stringent or too soon for some and not relaxed enough or quick enough for others.
In early August, the Board of Trustees implemented requirements for face coverings in response to the rapid increase in the level of cases and hospitalizations because of the Delta variant.
Recently, we have seen active Arkansas case levels drop to 23% of the level they were two months ago going from 25,735 on August 15 to 5,952 on October 18. Statewide hospitalizations dropped to 33% of the level their August peak of 1,459 on August 16 to 477 on October 18. In addition, we have seen active cases in Washington County drop to about 17% of their Delta variant peak of
2,313 on August 21 to 404 on October 18.
As a result, the Board of Trustees recently met and have unanimously decided to make face coverings optional for our worship services beginning this Sunday, October 24. Staff, life classes, and small groups may continue to meet without face coverings if attendees are vaccinated.
With the projected availability of vaccinations for those age 5-11 coming soon, we anticipate the possibility of having a campus-wide face covering optional policy in place by early January. We will continue to monitor that situation in the months ahead.
Central UMC Board of Trustees