Friends in Christ,
We, as the Cabinet, are very concerned about the uptick of COVID-19 cases in the Dakotas! At this moment we have about 15 pastors and families who have contracted COVID-19 with varying degrees of complication. We are deeply concerned about our pastoral families and churches. Below find the COVID-19 Sick Leave Guidelines that have been written and approved by the Board of Ordained Ministry and Cabinet. These guidelines will provide the framework for churches to work with their pastors and their families in this season of COVID-19. We urge everyone to take the precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.
Likewise, we urge pastors and church leaders to review their COVID-19 plans and, if warranted, suspend in-person worship. Please work with your city leaders, school officials, and health professionals to help keep your congregation and communities safe. We are here to offer support, care, and encouragement, so please call us if you need some assistance.
Dakotas Annual Conference Cabinet
Rev. Bob Ruedebusch, Dean of the Cabinet, Southwest District Superintenendent
Bishop Bruce Ough, resident bishop, Dakotas- Minnesota Area
Rev. Kris Mutzenberger, Northeast District Superintendent
Rev. Rebecca Trefz, Southeast District Superintendent and Executive Director of Ministries
Rev. Joel Winckler, Northwest District Superintendent
Interim COVID-19 Sick Leave Guidelines
Due to the unusual circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, the following guidelines are for care of clergy and their families who are exposed or become ill from COVID-19 will be implemented. For the health of the pastor, their family and the safety of the congregation, we will follow the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for quarantine. The timeline for return to work will be determined by the pastor, physician and in consultation with the District Superintendent and PPR/SPRC*. Time away from the parish because of the situations explained below is paid and not considered vacation. The option for financial assistance to the parish may be discussed as needed. Frequent communication between all parties is necessary.
- If quarantined for close contact as identified through county or state health department contact tracing, or pending tests results, or positive test without symptoms, work from home. The CDC guideline is 14 days of quarantine from the time of exposure.
- If you have tested positive, work from home as able and follow the quarantine guidelines of the CDC.
- If you are severely symptomatic and under the care of a physician, stay home and do not work. It is expected that you rest, recuperate and get well. Your physician must release you in writing to return to partial or full-time work.
- If hospitalized for a short term, you are not expected to work. Once you return home, rest, recuperate and get well. Your physician must release you in writing to return to partial or full-time work.
- If hospitalized for an extended period (more than 2 weeks), the options for short-term leave and medical leave will be explored.
Download a copy of the guidelines to share with your PPR/SPRC.
*Pastor Parish Relations or Staff Parish Relations Committee