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What’s Behind Our Thinking?

When the Omicron variant raged, we responded by spending a month having worship over Zoom. We did our part to help stop the spread of this highly contagious variant that also had the ability to break through our vaccinations. As you are aware, the numbers were sky-high, both in terms of how many people were sick and how many were hospitalized. Thankfully, the numbers have come way down! Thanks be to God!

Then, and now, we are trusting the science and depending on both the CDC and our state government to guide our decision-making. According to the CDC, Mercer County, NJ is “green,” which is the low-risk category! Yay! You can access this information on the CDC’s website.  Governor Murphy has lifted the mask mandates for most indoor venues. School districts will be allowed to set new policies to forego masks beginning March 7. The Hopewell Valley Regional School District’s website has a link to an hour-long town hall meeting about children and Covid and issues related to masking or unmasking. Medical professionals as well as educators fielded a number of questions and provided solid answers. I recommend this resource for you whether you have children or not. As of a few days ago, the school board had not yet decided if they were going to drop the mask requirement per Governor Murphy’s plan (March 7) or wait until after Spring Break. There is some concern that families may travel to locations that aren’t CDC “green” and inadvertently bring the virus back which could then spread more easily among unmasked students, teachers, and staff. 

Our Nursery School is guided by state licensing requirements. The Nursery School’s own Board, with Hope Anderson’s excellent leadership, receives the guidance and then sets policies that ensure a healthy learning environment. They are meeting this week to consider what is best for the students, staff, and families of PPNS.

Almost two years in with the virus, immunologists agree on two things:  

1. This virus will not be eliminated so we must learn to live with it and adapt as new variants emerge. 
2. Vaccinations do an excellent job of preventing severe illness and death.

We encourage everyone to be vaccinated and boosted and we look forward to the day when our youngest ones have access to the vaccines. We sympathize with parents who are eager for their children to be protected. Similarly, our hearts go out to those with compromised immune systems or other factors that make a more serious experience of Covid a possibility. There is no way around it. This is hard! We wish this weren’t so and hope and pray that each person can live life to its fullest without undue fear of illness. We also recognize that the isolation of Covid has taken a toll on our mental and social health.  Our church is committed to doing our best to love God and our neighbors well. We hope and pray that we can begin a healing process that leads us to deeper connection and joy. 

I’m obliged to say, in closing, that if things change, these protocols will be adjusted once again. Your patience and understanding are greatly appreciated. 

God is faithful and loving and has sustained us through this pandemic. Praise the Lord!

Nancy Mikoski on behalf of the What’s Next Group: Hope Anderson, Gary Coleman, Clark McAvoy, Kim Newport, Corinne Orlando, Joe Tully, and Clarke Walker