Following are messages concerning
the COVID-19 Virus from Pastor Jen,
Bishop LaTrelle Easterling and
EPK Director, Linda Gaviria 

A special message from Pastor Jen:


The following is to provide you with updated information in regard to the conference, Epworth, and our local response to the COVID-19 Virus.


You may be aware that several cases were confirmed in Montgomery County. Montgomery County public school system continues operation as usual with obvious vigilance regarding the spread of the virus. Below you will find a copy of a letter from Bishop Easterling with regards to church practices during this time. There has been no indication that large gatherings should be suspended, and school continues to function with normalcy. Even given this continued normal pattern, it is our responsibility to do all possible to contribute to levelheadedness and good sanitary practices.

While information about the spread of COVID-19 is emerging, we are taking three steps to help keep our Epworth family healthy: 1) As much as we love to see you in church, if you are not feeling well, please stay home. This includes even those who have made a commitment to volunteer. Your health and the health of others should come first. You can access the sermon on-line at the church website or on YouTube at Epworth Productions, and/or we can send you a bulletin. 2) Since close contact with someone who has the virus is the known way of spread, we encourage everyone to physically express their love with bumping elbows rather than hugs, handshakes, and kisses . 3) We will continue the outstanding work of our maintenance team, to assure that all frequently touched surfaces are environmentally safe. We have taken steps to make hand sanitizer more easily accessible at church. Please avail yourself of this as frequently as you need


Note: This is also a good time to review everyday preventive actions that help reduce the spread of respiratory diseases (including the flu) with your family and friends. This includes washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.


FYI: Here is additional information from the CDC regarding preventive actions:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

  • Stay home when you are sick.

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.

    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.

    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.


The best resource for answers to questions and the latest information for the general public is the CDC at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.



To the clergy and laity of the Baltimore-Washington Conference:


As our global community is dealing with COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, it is our responsibility to be prepared and to act with the health and welfare of our conference in mind. It is also imperative that we rely on credible sources of information.


At this time, it is understood that this virus spreads through person-to-person contact. That includes respiratory droplets produced when a person sneezes or coughs. A secondary source of infection can occur when we come into contact with those droplets on surfaces and then touch our mouth, nose, or eyes. The best way to limit the spread of any disease is through proper preventive measures.


Preparedness at this time includes:



  • Use thorough hand-washing protocol (wash with soap and water for at least two minutes).

  • Remain at home if you are symptomatic with fever or upper respiratory illnesses.

  • Follow the proper cough protocol (into sleeve, use tissues, dispose of tissues properly, wash hands).

  • If you have traveled to an area on increased alert for COVID-19 and you feel sick, seek medical attention.



  • Those serving Communion should wash hands thoroughly and use hand sanitizer.

  • When serving Communion, refrain from intinction at this time.

  • Use wafers or pre-cut bread for Communion.

  • Serve the Communion elements rather than allowing others to serve themselves.

  • Do not shake hands during times of greeting or the passing of the peace.

  • Anyone serving food should follow hand-washing protocol and be in good health.

  • Ensure you have a good communication system for sharing vital information quickly.

  • Purchase hand sanitizer for use during any times of serving (Communion, food, pantries, etc.)


At this time, there is no need to interrupt your regularly scheduled services. If we receive information to the contrary, it will be shared immediately.


The operations of the Conference Mission Center can be conducted remotely. Therefore, if we are required to work from home, we will be able to continue providing support to our laity and clergy.


Please remain in prayer for those affected by this virus and their caregivers.


Blessings and Peace,

Bishop LaTrelle Easterling



To EPK Families



Dear Families,


With concern growing about the possible spread of the Coronavirus and also with the Flu season not being over yet, I want to reassure you that Epworth Preschool and Kindergarten takes the Health and Safety of the children very seriously and are continuing to take measures to reduce the spread of illness as much as possible.


As a part of daily learning, children are continuously reminded to cough or sneeze into their elbows, not touch their eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands and wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. In addition, each classroom, frequently touched toys and surfaces are disinfected on a daily basis. Please note that these are steps that we take throughout the year to keep our children healthy and safe.


We will continue to monitor reports by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as well as look for guidance from the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/HHS/RightNav/Coronavirus.html) with regards to any additional steps that may need to be taken.


Meanwhile, here are some preventative measures as recommended by the CDC that you can take to reduce the spread of illness in your family and the EPK community.

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

  • Remind your child to cover their cough or sneeze with a tissue or cough/sneeze into their elbow, then immediately discard the tissue in the trash.

  • Remind your child to avoid touching eyes, mouth and nose with unwashed hands.

  • Avoid close contact with individuals who are sick.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces.

  • Please keep your child home if they show signs of illness. If a child becomes sick, they must be fever-free for at least 24 hours without the aid of medicine before returning to school. Please note that if a child is absent for more than 3 days due to illness, in accordance with licensing regulations, a written note from the parent or health care provider is needed before a child can be readmitted to school.


Please let me know if you have any questions.



Linda Wolff Gaviria


Epworth Preschool and Kindergarten

To be a church of the community that invites, connects, disciples, and sends out people for Christ as the Holy Spirit transforms hearts, lives and communities.



9008 Rosemont Drive
Gaithersburg , MD 20877