Plan for Reopening

Last month we communicated information below on the session’s plan for reopening the campus. You’ll note that there are two metrics we committed to follow: the first related to onset of new confirmed cases in Bexar County, and the second related to Texas as a whole (and a broader range of metrics) through covidexitstrategy.org. We celebrate that the first metric has been met, with the onset of new cases in Bexar County showing a steady decline from July 11 through August 16. The second metric, however, remains problematic. Rather than being rated “Trending Better” (Green) or “Caution Warranted” (Yellow) or even “Trending Poorly” (Red), Texas has remained stubbornly stuck in “Uncontrolled Spread” (Dark Red). The primary problems are that we are only doing about 20% of the testing needed in our state to identify outbreaks early and deeply reduce the number of new cases per million residents that will demonstrate an abating of the pandemic in our state.

Our Covid-19 Response Team is continuing discuss metrics to be used and types of gatherings that might be possible until it becomes possible to open the sanctuary safely for in-person worship. The Session is also planning ways to engage with our congregation during this time, including those mentioned in the article on the Vital Congregations Initiative. 2020 is proving to be a challenging year, but we trust that we will be led into deeper steps of faithfulness during this time.

As San Antonio has begun to reopen, our process has become streamlined for determining when we can reopen. Covenant’s session has determined, both at its May and June stated meetings, that it is important for our church to use metrics recommended by the medical community to determine the responsible time to reopen. Now there are just two metrics we are watching to be able to open at a “Phase 2” level.

Metric 1 – At least 28 days of consistently stable or declining onset of new confirmed cases in Bexar County (per https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/055ec707a95e462281a5f0dbaa752a63).

Metric 2 – At least 21 consecutive days of Texas being labeled yellow or green on covidexitstrategy.org including at least the last 10 days of being labeled green on that website.

The first metric focuses on our success in “flattening the curve” in San Antonio. The second utilizes a balance of many factors (new cases, ICU availability, testing availability, etc.) to show when states are ready to reopen.

While these metrics don’t give us the satisfaction of knowing when we will be able to reopen, they do help us track our progress. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the NAIAD Director, has observed, “You don’t make the timeline; the virus makes the timeline.” So we will continue to watch the above metrics over the coming weeks and months.

If you have questions about these metrics or our progress toward reopening, please feel free to reach out to Pastor Dan via email office@covenantcares.org  or contact one of our session members.

Meanwhile, let’s deepen our creativity and care for one another and show our love to a broken and hurting world as we walk through a pandemic that is now clearly going to be a major factor in our lives for many months to come. The church has often discovered new avenues for faithful living in challenging times like these.