Is it time to re-open houses of worship for in-person religious services, despite the continued coronavirus pandemic? This question has sparked controversy and significant accompanying safety concerns against an ever-changing array of government orders and religious liberty lawsuits. How and when will in-person religious gatherings be safe again? Should houses of worship wait indefinitely to conduct in-person worship services? Or should they reengage with religious services – now, and perhaps step by step with specific safety measures?
To what extent is public school prayer and other religious expression legally protected? This may seem like an academic question, since children are now largely limited to remote learning. As teachers, parents, and children look ahead to resuming in-person school activities, the U.S. Department of Education’s updated “Guidance on Constitutionally Protected Prayer and Religious Expression in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools” provides helpful clarification about applicable religious freedom protections. Such guidance may be particularly important for those who have found comfort and hope through their faith, while living through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Time to re-open? Business owners, houses of worship, and other nonprofit leaders are waking up daily to new announcements about gradual re-openings in this next coronavirus phase of trial-and-error efforts. Given significant concerns to be balanced as well as evolving medical implications of COVID-19, how should employers resume in-person work practices?