Middle COVID Guidelines

We are so excited to begin gathering in-person again!  Middle Church believes in the power of Love. Period. and there is no greater love than to do our part to ensure the health and safety of all. Our community is full of essential workers; Black and brown people; people with pre-existing conditions; folks who are immunocompromised, children under the age of 12,  and others who are vulnerable to COVID-19 and/or unable to get vaccinated. Safety is a shared responsibility.  While we will do everything we can, our ability to protect our community depends on everyone’s willingness to follow COVID guidelines and recommendations.   

Please note that by participating in any in person Middle Church gathering you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure of COVID-19, and that you release Middle Church/The Collegiate Church from any liability from sickness or injury, medical treatment or death from your attendance.  

We are strongly recommending that everyone in our community make a plan to be fully inoculated in order to minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposure. We are also strongly encouraging our staff to do the same, and hope to be able to share at homecoming that 100% of our staff will be fully vaccinated. If you have any questions or concerns about vaccination and you’d like to speak with someone about them, please email Rev. Darrell Hamilton. You can also visit our Vaccinate the People page at:  for resources on where to get a vaccine. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

What has Middle done to help protect for attendees’ safety?

Middle convened a COVID task force, including ministers, facilities staff and medical professionals in our community who provided a list of best-practice advice to protect community safety. This includes organizing a vaccine pop-up; requiring everyone to wear masks; sanitizing and disinfecting spaces when possible, and training our staff to model and enforce COVID guidelines.

How will Middle prevent someone who is carrying the virus from attending an event?

Short answer: We can’t. But we recommend the following: 

If you have any illness symptoms (e.g., cough, sneezing, elevated temperature, body aches) do not attend an in-person gathering

Temperature checks will be taken for all indoor gatherings 

Health screens will be taken at all indoor gatherings 

Do I need to wear a mask?

For indoor events: Yes.
For outdoor events: We ask that you think of the most vulnerable, be considerate of your surroundings and space, and make a decision that feels right for yourself and your pod, knowing that even vaccinated individuals can get and spread COVID-19.

What if I’ve been vaccinated? Do I still need to wear a mask indoors?

Out of an abundance of caution and in solidarity with the most vulnerable, you still need to wear a mask at Middle indoor events. Certain exemptions will be made (e.g. a singer at worship), but in those circumstances the person in question must be both fully vaccinated and provide proof of a negative COVID test within 3 days of the event.  Otherwise, please wear your mask.

*This is subject to change for outdoor events this summer as we monitor local numbers and recommendations.  

Can I take my mask off to eat or drink?

When you are outdoors, you can take off your mask to eat or drink. Please make sure to be distanced from anyone not in your pod when you do. Eating and drinking will not be permitted at any indoor Middle in-person events until further notice. Please keep your mask on at all times when indoors.

Do I have to get vaccinated to attend Middle events?

No, we cannot require you to get vaccinated. That being said, we strongly encourage it. Vaccines are safe and effective, and a terrific way to love your neighbor. If you have questions, we’re happy to put you in touch with medical practitioners who can provide clear and accurate medical information, just email Rev. Darrell Hamilton.

Will Middle continue to offer virtual worship and events?

Yes! We are committed to always offer fully hybrid events whenever possible, giving people the opportunity to participate in-person or virtually. Some events (e.g. a picnic in the park) may not be possible to stream virtually, but all small group meetings and worship celebrations will continue to to be virtual—even after physical participation becomes possible.

Here are our full procedures for in-person gatherings for Middle Church staff, volunteers and congregation, effective June 1, 2021 through October 31, 2021:

When gathering in person for Outdoor Middle Sponsored Events or Programs:

  • CDC guidelines state that vaccinated people can be unmasked when outside, however Middle will require everyone to wear masks at outdoor gatherings, whether vaccinated or not to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. We must remember that fully vaccinated people can still carry and spread the virus. Therefore, it is important to always be mindful to protect people in our community who remain at high risk from the virus. Our community is full of essential workers; Black and brown people; people with pre-existing conditions; folks who are immunocompromised, children under the age of 12,  and others who are vulnerable to COVID-19 and/or unable to get vaccinated.

 When gathering in person for Indoor Middle Sponsored Events or Programs:

  • In accordance with the CDC and state of New York, Middle will require that masks be worn by staff and all individuals, vaccinated or not, and that participants maintain appropriate social distance with people outside of your own family or determined pod.
  • No food or drink will be consumed indoors.
  • Staff and/or any individuals who require being unmasked to perform their ministerial or staff duties will be required to be tested prior to the event. A NEGATIVE test result must be submitted to COVID Officer at least 3 days prior to the event. If no documentation is submitted, individuals will not be permitted to be unmasked. Staff and/or any individuals are responsible for getting their own COVID test. The Middle COVID Officer may assist individuals with finding accessible COVID testing sites, if necessary. 
  • All staff and attendees will be required to fill out a Middle / Collegiate Church COVID-19 Health & Safety Questionnaire & Release of Liability Form as set by the NYC, DOH, and confirmed by Middle’s COVID Task Force before every event. 
  • Temperature checks will be given upon entry.  

For all in-person gathering and programs, whether indoor or outdoor:

  1.     All Middle Church in-person gatherings and programs are come at your own risk for congregants and participants, and Middle Church may not be held liable for any sickness or injury that might result in attendance.
  2.     Volunteers—Board members, team leaders and performers/worship leaders—will meet the same safety requirements as staff and congregants.  
  3.     The Middle Church COVID Officer will ensure masks are available at all Middle Church sponsored events and programs and that individuals are compliant with Middle Church COVID Protocols.
  4.     Attendees and/or congregants who are not in compliance with Middle Church COVID-19 protocols are not permitted at in-person events sponsored by Middle Church