SBC DIGEST: Background checks essential for reopening kids ministries; Louisiana College to hold in-person classes

Background checks essential part of reopening kids ministries

By Aaron Earls

NASHVILLE (BP) -- As churches begin to regather and eventually restart their children's ministry during COVID-19, leaders should keep other unseen dangers in mind -- like sex abuse.

A LifeWay Research study found more than 1 in 10 Protestant pastors say someone on church staff has sexually harassed a congregation member at some point in the church's life.

An additional LifeWay Research study revealed around 3 in 10 Protestant churchgoers believe there are many more incidents of Protestant pastors sexually abusing children or teens than has been exposed (32 percent), as well as many more incidents of pastors sexually assaulting adults (29 percent).

As these concerns have come to the forefront, more churches are using background checks as one of the means to help keep children and other congregants safe through LifeWay Christian Resources' OneSource program relationship with backgroundchecks.com.

Read the full report here.

For more information on background checks, visit LifeWay.com/backgroundchecks or call (800) 464-2799. For additional resources to help churches prevent sexual abuse or other criminal issues by staff members or volunteers, visit SBCLife.net/pdf/ProtectingOurChildren.pdf or SBC.net/churchresources/sexabuseprevention.asp.

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Louisiana College asks students to quarantine for 14 days before arrival

By Elizabeth Christian

PINEVILLE, La. (BP) -- Louisiana College President Rick Brewer has announced fall semester plans, outlining the overarching measures LC is executing to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Incoming freshmen are scheduled to arrive on campus Aug. 12, with other students returning in the days thereafter. Classes will begin Aug. 17.

The college is encouraging students to self-quarantine for 14 days prior to arriving on campus.

"We will be following a modified academic calendar to allow for completion of all classes and final exams by Nov. 23," Brewer said. "This includes eliminating the traditional Labor Day holiday and fall break, but it greatly reduces the risk of exposure to students who travel during those times."

Since the spring, LC has had a COVID-response Task Force, chaired by Mark Shoemaker, vice president for IT and Facilities/CIO.

"We have been constantly gathering and reviewing the latest information from state and national governmental and medical organizations, specifically related to ensuring the college is proactive in preparing for the fall semester," Shoemaker said. "Each division and each building will have extensive procedures for ensuring safety and sanitation."

Brewer said work has been done in earnest since March to prepare and train faculty and staff in how to offer the best possible experience to our students in a digital format, and this continues.

"While the situation is fluid, we are planning to welcome students back in August," Brewer said. "Some classes may be moved to completely online as a matter of necessity due to constraints of our facilities. Others may be offered in a hybrid format where sometimes students are in the classroom, and other times online, so that the number of students in the class is reduced at any given time. Other classes will be moved to larger rooms to allow for adequate social distancing."

Read the full report here[URL].

Aaron Earls is a writer for LifeWay Christian Resources. Elizabeth Christian is chair of the media department at Louisiana College.
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