The FLC Covid Task Force met on March 1 to review and make recommendations for FLC’s next steps. They forwarded the recommendation to the Council which approved it. Covid infections and hospitalizations are approaching the lowest levels of the pandemic. Vaccination numbers are good, especially among people 65 and up, but booster rates are below 40% for the eligible population. As we continue to move towards a more endemic stage of COVID-19, it is OK for First Lutheran to move to a “mask optional” phase for worship and large group gatherings. Communion servers will continue to wear masks while serving. Small groups, including children and youth ministries, consistent with the Decorah Community School District, already had the option of deciding when to wear masks. As with other small groups, the adult and children’s choir leaders and members can decide when masks are optional; until the directors and members decide otherwise, masks will be expected for choir members in worship and practice.

We will continue to monitor the situation and meet quickly to address any upticks or changes in the covid cases in our community. As has been true throughout the pandemic–and before–the quality of our care and respect for our fellow parishioners and neighbors is paramount. Pastor Mike Wilker and the Task Force know there are a good number of members in our congregation that are severely compromised by the Covid pandemic because of their current and potentially critical health conditions. We are grateful to the congregation leaders and members who create and host livestream options for small and large groups as well as for worship. Each month Pastor Mike and Jenine visit members and bring communion–especially to those who cannot attend in person because of Covid. Please contact them if you would like to be on the visitation list.

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