COVID-19 Policy and Updates


Due to the changing nature of the Covid pandemic and the need to adapt our response to it, the Board wishes to update you on our current position. Please read the original statement, posted on 8/21/2020 for the heart of that position, which has not changed. We remain steadfast in our desire to further the Stoa mission of “Training homeschool students to speak boldly and change the World for Christ,” and we believe that meeting in person is the best way to achieve that goal. We wish to reinforce our policies of personal responsibility over mandates, respect for the decisions of others, and the maintenance of a safe and clean environment. Only a few specifics have changed from last year, which are as follows:

  • While wearing a mask is optional and entirely up to individuals, this year our club will not have masks available for those who forget to bring them.

  • When seated in the sanctuary, we will no longer seat only every other row. Each family is free to choose to social distance as they see fit.

  • COVID Vaccination is a personal decision. Our club maintains no requirements about Covid Vaccines.

  • We are re-instating our two-absence policy to encourage families to keep club nights a priority. However, if you or your child is not feeling well or have a known exposure to Covid, please stay home. Attendance is mandatory except for illness and family emergencies.

We appreciate your willingness to adapt to these changes and maintain a positive and safe environment for each member of our club. Praying for a healthy, productive, and God-glorifying speech and debate season!

- Mars Hill Speech and Debate Board


Given the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, and the current situation in Arizona, we as the board felt it necessary to communicate our position on COVID-19 as it

relates to Mars Hill Speech and Debate Club activities, including weekly meetings and social events.

We as a board are fallible and prone to error, but our God is not. We believe that seeking counsel is important, as Proverbs 15:22 and 24:6 teach. As such, we as a board have met multiple times and discussed this position, and we have also sought out known medical professionals within the club for insights that have been considered in formulating this statement. (To be sure, there are differing opinions represented in the counsel we received, as well as among the board members themselves. Despite these differences, our desire is to be faithful, wise, and good stewards — and to glorify God in the process.)

First and foremost, it is important for each one of us to remember that not a single COVID molecule exists outside of God’s sovereign foreknowledge; nor can it exist apart from Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:16-17), and he will use it to accomplish his purposes, which, as believers we know are “for our good” (Romans 8:28). This is not a time to fear, nor is it a time to be overly casual or reckless. This is a time for each of us individually and all of us collectively as a club to be his hands and feet in a world that is freaking out.

Our plan is to continue to hold club events so that we may further the Stoa mission of “Training homeschool students to speak boldly and change the World for Christ.” We also recognize that joining and attending the club is voluntary, and that club may look different in the coming season. Our position is one that places its emphasis on individual decisions and personal responsibility, rather than on mandates. Just as Smokey Bear tells us, “Only you can prevent forest fires!”, our position is similar. Therefore, we ask for each individual to be vigilant in seeking to minimize risk for our community.

This is also a time where we need to demonstrate grace to each other and a spirit of unity — despite any differing opinions related to what should or should not be done to prevent spread, or contain the virus. There will undoubtedly be a wide variety of positions relating to this, from “Masks aren’t necessary” to “Masks should be mandatory,” and many more opinions and reactions. As such, it is incumbent upon each of us to not be divisive or judgmental of others who don’t share our position.

Lastly, there are certain limiting factors that, should they come to fruition, we as a board and we as a club will be bound by. Our desire is to be good citizens and, in the spirit of Romans 13, to obey those in authority over us (even if we disagree). Like it or not, God has not put us in a position of authority over our state, but only over our club and its activities. Below are some key points to remember:

  • The situation is dynamic, and this position may change as the situation warrants. It is important for all to be faithful and flexible as we navigate the upcoming year. We will post updates on this page with any changes that occur.

  • First Baptist Church (our host facility and landlord) does not seek to control club decisions regarding masks and social distancing, and has simply asked that we continue to clean and take care of the space that we use.

  • Because the club is a private entity with members and not a public entity with patrons or customers, masks are not mandated. First Baptist Church also does not require masks inside the church buildings. As a result, masks are optional at club meetings and activities held at the church. Please feel free to wear a mask or not, according to your preference and comfort level. And again, please be respectful and gracious to those whose choice differs from your own.

  • We will have some masks and hand sanitizer available during club meetings for those who wish to use them.

  • If you are sick, don’t feel well, or have had a known exposure, please stay home.

  • Please wash your hands when you arrive at a club event.

  • When assembling in the sanctuary of First Baptist Church (for meeting announcements, coaching, etc.), please follow the seating set up with extra spacing between each row. Parents may decide whether extra space is needed between families within each row.

  • Given the uncertainty of the current situation, the club will be waiving temporarily the “two absences per season” rule. This will allow for COVID-19 exposure-related absences, and we trust that families who are well will continue to diligently attend club.

  • In the event that you are personally notified that you have tested positive or that you have been exposed to COVID-19, please follow CDC guidelines for self-quarantine and testing. We as a board trust God, who knows all the details.

  • We will need to work together to “step up” cleaning efforts during and after our meetings. Additional cleaning measures will be added to the cleaning checklists.

We truly appreciate your understanding and your willingness to be part of the solution in making sure the upcoming year of camps, club meetings, and tournaments is not only safe and productive, but also glorifies God in the process.

— Mars Hill Speech and Debate Board