COVID-19 Policy and Updates

6/24/2020

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 our upcoming camps, 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 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.

  • In the event that the Town of Fountain Hills mandates masks or that First Baptist Church (our host facility and landlord) makes them conditional, we will as good citizens comply with these mandates or requests.

  • The same goes for any additional requirements placed on the club by its landlord or by town, county, and state authorities.

  • On 6/17/2020, Gov. Doug Ducey announced his support for a public awareness campaign: #maskupaz. Each member will need to decide and reconcile his or her own response to this recommendation in light of scripture.

  • We will be making masks and hand sanitizer available during camp and 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.

  • We encourage physical distancing of 6 feet whenever possible. We were made as social beings by the Creator, so we encourage people to be social. But please be mindful to keep your physical distance at all times during club events.

  • We ask that when assembling in the sanctuary of First Baptist Church (for meeting announcements, coaching, etc.), you sit in every other chair, rather than next to each other.

  • Per CDC guidelines, please wash your hands when you arrive at a club event.

  • 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

Comments