COVID-19 Safety Protocols @ First Friday
After a year of cancelled First Fridays, we are excited to re-start this popular program. We cannot imagine how much the kids have grown up over the past year, and we are excited to be with them once again.
. . . that said. . .
We understand that the world we live in now is very different than it was one year ago. We are doing everything we can to find a balance between the First Friday we all know and love, and creating a safe and healthy environment for the kids and our wonderful volunteers. Please read on so you are aware of our approach to First Friday in our new COVID-19 world.
registration, check-in, and mask policy
All volunteers will be masked and we ask that you and your children arrive with masks as well. We also will have free masks on hand at the registration table in the case of forgetfulness or masks breaking, etc. All parents have been notified that their children will be required to wear facial coverings at all times (except while actively eating or drinking), and are encouraged to reinforce this knowledge prior to arriving at First Friday. Throughout the evening, volunteers will be enforcing proper mask wearing (covering nose and mouth).
Food preperation & service
The CDC has stated "Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that handling food or consuming food is associated with COVID-19." That said, we are still taking reasonable precautions in preparing and distributing food. Our meal preparation team is small to limit human contact with food, and all those serving the meal will do so wearing masks and gloves. Our lead kitchen volunteer is currently employed in the kitchen of a local high school, and is knowledgeable of current protocols regarding food preparation and distribution in a very similar environment.
In addition, hand washing before and after meals will be strictly enforced, and bottles of hand sanitizer will be placed throughout the building to keep the germ counts as low as possible!
regarding social distancing
Due to the nature of First Friday, strict social distancing (remaining 6 feet apart) cannot be uniformly enforced. However, new and existing policies and structure will create more distance naturally:
- We are limiting the number of registrations to First Friday to remain below the 25% capacity of each area of the building we will be using.
- Children are assembled in small, distant groups prior to the meal for a short review of the rules and a prayer. Each group is brought downstairs individually, which mitigates congregation around the food service areas. Once one group is served, the next group will be assembled and brought down. The tables in the eating area are spaced further apart than normal to increase the distance between children.
- Several new areas have been opened up within the building to separate the children while doing activities. Our new reading/puzzle, game, and sports rooms on the upper level will naturally promote distance and organization within the program. The number of children within each room will be limited to serve the same purpose. The room limits and masking guidelines will be enforced by multiple volunteers in each room. Hallways will be monitored to ensure safety when moving about the building.
- Our new check-out process will ensure we have an accurate count of people within the building at all times.
We understand that not everyone is ready to send their children to a public event like First Friday just yet, and that's fine! Every situation is unique, and this pandemic has impacted all of us differently. If you are not comfortable with this type of environment for your children just yet, please, follow your gut. We hope and pray for the health and safety of all our dear friends in the Kops Park neighborhood, and yearn for the day when this is behind us and we can gather freely once again. God bless you all!