McFarland

Updated Spetember 14, 2021

As promised the COVID Task Force is providing a bi-weekly update on our recommendations for church operations during the continuing pandemic.

As you are aware, Madison Dane County Public Health extended its requirement for wearing masks indoors until October 8, 2021.  The COVID Delta Variant remains at high levels with the 7-day average of r approximately 700 new cases per week.  The vaccination rate is increasing but with those aged under 12 remaining ineligible for the vaccine, county residents who are fully vaccinated remains just under 70%.  The Delta Variant has a higher level of infectivity thus vaccinations remain paramount along with masks, social distancing, and good sanitation practices for indoor activities. 

Our most recent recommendations on wearing masks for all church activities indoors remains in effect for those aged 2 and older.  For outdoor activities we still encourage masks, but they are not required.  The changes outlined for worship in our last communications remain.

We continue to look for safer choices for our members with the understanding no choice is definitely safe.  Further, we can only mitigate risk, not eliminate it altogether.  Given how contagious Delta Variant is at this time and that masks offer a safer choice to mitigate the spread of Delta Variant, the task force will continue to monitor the COVID situation in the county and reassess our current approach that all persons over the age of 2 should be wearing masks for all indoor worship services and indoor meetings.

At the COVID Task Force’s most recent meeting on September 7, 2021, we decided beginning the first of October to allow outside groups to meet in our buildings for activities as long as they follow masking guidelines and follow our building use policies.  The outside groups who may use our facilities for the immediate future must have had a relationship with McFarland Lutheran Church in the past (pre-pandemic).  The task force will monitor the use of buildings by outside groups to ensure we are continuing to offer a safer choice for these groups.

As our members and the general public obtain information on COVID and the precautions to take, we realize there is pushback on wearing masks and obtaining vaccinations based on information from some questionable sources.

  • Masks do work but they are not 100% effective unless you are using an N-95 mask (96% effective if fitted properly). Surgical masks and cloth masks are less effective than N-95 masks, but the percent effectiveness is 50% or greater for cloth masks, an obvious advantage over no mask.  Regardless of what you hear, mask studies underscore their effectiveness over the past 18 months in reducing the spread of COVID, the flu and other respiratory illnesses.   Further, the masks are safe to wear and their importance in reducing spread of COVID from infected vaccinated individuals remains important.
  • Vaccinations are important to controlling the pandemic. Without vaccinations, the virus in unvaccinated individuals can develop variants as well as the disease is more readily spread to others.  Members who are not vaccinated should discuss their situation with their physician and discover how a COVID vaccination may help you.  Further, for full protection in an imperfect world, individuals need to be fully vaccinated.  Complete the series of two shots or one shot based on the brand vaccine you are offered. 
    • As you are probably aware recommendations on booster or additional vaccine shots are being discussed. These recommendations may be finalized soon. If you fall into one of the categories, immunocompromised or other criteria as outlined in the guidance, please talk to your healthcare provider about your individual status and how you stay protected. See the following on immunocompromised individuals:
      • https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations/immuno.html

The COVID Taskforce will be providing bi-weekly updates through the MLC weekly newsletter and on the website.  As the opportunity exists, we are committed to open our church in a safer manner as the COVID situation improves.

All members of the task force are available to answer questions or discuss concerns.   John Zweig and Gary Toboyek are providing their contact information to assist in church members to obtain the answers to their questions and concerns.

John Zweig, (920) 427-5540, jezweig@outlook.com

Gary Toboyek, 608-852-6103, gc_toboyek@yahoo.com 

Task Force Members:

Gary Toboyek       
Sharon Mylrea       
Jeff Gehrke    
Christina Hughey
Erika Landerud      
Kristin Hildebrandt                       
Dawn Bolstad           
Pastor Tim Dean    
Pastor Kelli Schmit            
John Zweig