Pandemic Outbreak Planning

The collaboration of Faith-Based and Community Organizations with public health agencies will be essential in protecting the public’s health and safety if and when an influenza pandemic occurs. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed a checklist that provides guidance for religious organizations (churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, etc.), social service agencies that are faith-based, and community organizations in developing and improving influenza pandemic response and preparedness plans.

The new checklist identifies specific steps faith-based and community organizations can take now to prepare for a pandemic. The checklist includes these suggested actions:

Plan for the impact of a pandemic on your organization and its mission:

  • Communicate with and educate your staff, members, and persons in the communities that you serve
  • Set up policies to follow during a pandemic, including evaluating activities and religious practices, if applicable, to identify those that may facilitate virus spread from person to person
  • Coordinate with external organizations and help your community.

For more information:

Faith-based community checklist:
Faith-based community checklist as a PDF file (69 KB)

Federal government flu website portal:

CDC’s Hotline:   1-800-CDC-INFO   (1-800-232-4636). This line is available in English and Spanish, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. TTY: 1-888-232-6348.

Six Simple Ways for Churches to Respond to Flu Season

From the Pacific Central District Newsletter

Health officials estimate that 80% of disease transmission could be avoided if we all were better at washing our hands more frequently. Now would be a great time to pay more attention to that. Here are half a dozen other things our congregations can do this year:

  • Place bottles of hand sanitizer in classrooms, offices, and even the sanctuary/lobby. Encourage those who handle the Offertory donations to be especially good about washing their hands afterwards.
  • Be sure to have the nursery and children’s toys sanitized each week - this is a good all-year-round idea anyway.
  • Instruct the greeters to warmly welcome visitors without shaking hands - many visitors may feel uncomfortable with such physical contact this season anyway.
  • Develop a simple Nursery and RE Classroom policy, and be sure all the parents know about it. This can be as basic as saying, “As part of our efforts to keep our church/fellowship a healthy and safe place, we ask that you keep children at home if they’ve had a cough or runny nose within the last 24 hours, or have had a fever within the last 48 hours. We appreciate everyone’s cooperation.”
  • Encourage everyone to stay home when they aren’t feeling well! This should include staff, the Music Director, DRE, and our ministers. But, let’s face it, they’re going to be mighty reluctant to stay home if there’s not a back up plan in place for their absences.
  • So let’s create those back up plans. One example of such a plan is Church-in-a-Box: it’s a box of materials, all ready to go whenever needed, including a sermon that a Worship Associate has already become familiar with, easy-to-play hymnal selections, opening, offertory, and closing words, and several copies of an undated Order of Service. Let’s make it comfortable for all staff to call someone on a Sunday morning to say, “You know, just to be on the safe side, I think I’d better stay home today.

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