August, 2021 – Vestry Re-instates Mask Requirements
The vestry has voted to again require masks for all people attending indoor worship who are ages five and up (masks are encouraged but not required for children above age two to five). Masks must cover the nose and mouth. This decision was made in response to rising transmission rates of the delta variant of COVID19 and is in accordance with CDC guidelines which call for masks to be worn indoors in public venues in counties that have substantial or high virus transmission rates. New Castle County currently has high transmission rates: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view
Some among us are asking why mask requirements apply to those who are fully vaccinated. The short answer is that new information indicates that even the fully vaccinated can transmit the highly contagious delta variant. Some are also wondering why the mask requirement does not apply only to those who are not fully vaccinated – after all, if a person chooses not to receive the vaccine, the consequences are for that person to endure. This idea would be a game changer except there are some among us who are not eligible to receive the vaccines – namely, the children of the parish and Day School. Anecdotal reports from some pediatricians and children’s hospitals are reporting increased infection rates for some children, although hospitalization rates for children with severe symptoms do not seem to be notably higher. Still, long-term effects of this virus are not yet fully known and keeping our children safe has to be a priority for us.
The day is eagerly anticipated when we can again remove our face coverings in worship. Until then, the vestry is making every effort to make worship a worry free zone and safer place to gather. There are some among us who feel that mask requirements are overstated and/or are an infringement upon personal freedoms. Thank you in advance for your flexibility as parish leaders wrestle with complex community dynamics. Please believe me, no one relishes these sorts of decisions. Although our country’s founding document extols our individual rights, the Bible and our Baptismal Covenant remind us of our responsibilities – especially to those who are vulnerable. This dual citizenship lays upon us Jesus’ command to “love our neighbor as yourself.” Caring for the most vulnerable is a hallmark of becoming more fully God’s beloved community.