We have all learned this year how quickly things can change and how we need to adapt to an ever-changing virus. At this point, we are optimistic that plans can move forward and are hopeful we can gather in-person for events youth have loved over the years. Synod leadership will continue to monitor COVID-19 and the impact of variants, and follow local and CDC guidelines to make decisions and set protocols in the best interest of participants. Event specific protocols will be shared two weeks prior to the event with registered Primary Adult Leaders. We ask leaders to pass these on to youth and parents at that point. You can anticipate at a minimum a requirement for non-vaccinated participants to wear masks. Participants who are sick will be asked to not attend. Unfortunately, due to the expense the synod incurs when a registered participant cancels we are not able to refund deposits, even due to illness.
As you consider participating in synod youth ministry events, it is important to be aware of the health risks inherent in a large gathering of people from wide and diverse geographic regions. We will manage protocols as best we can for the safety of participants, but it is important youth and parents understand that physical distancing is not practical for the types of events we hold. Participants are housed together, eat together and gather in large groups for worship and activities.
We encourage congregational leaders to have a conversation with parents and youth prior to registration regarding their comfort level of gathering in-person for any of our events, especially if participants or someone they live with are at higher risk if they are exposed or infected with COVID-19. We encourage you to discuss travel and housing arrangements, program activities in large groups, willingness to follow COVID-19 protocols even if participant has been fully vaccinated, and the financial risk of non-refundable deposits if a participant gets sick.