Wednesday, March 10, 2021

I was blessed by a call two weeks ago to a former employee, who had moved out to state. God used that conversation to re-affirm what we are doing at Elim. She was open in sharing how God used Elim to transform her life – in the direction of Jesus.  

The peace that only Jesus can bring is what she experienced as an employee at Elim, and she is now diligently trying to bring that same peace to her current workplace. Her testimony confirmed for me that God is very much at work in and through our Elim family!  

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your heart on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” Colossians 3:1 

As we return to more and more in-person services, Elim has a pressing need to hire caring, committed employees to work in both our school and adult services program (and in other essential roes throughout the ministry). Perhaps God is calling you or someone you know to serve at Elim. Learn more about these opportunities at on our website. As the vaccine counts go up our expectations for a return to more “normal” in-person services increases. In that light, here is what I know right now: 

  • The Elim school program is moving forward with a purposefully “slow and methodical” transition to a four-days-a-week in-person school program. Director Mike Otte has and will continue to provide specific updates to school staff and families on that transition. 
  • Elim’s Adult Services program is currently surveying community participants gauging their interest in returning to in-person day services. While that transition will be measured considering safety guidance and staffing, the prospect of serving more people is encouraging. Be looking for updates from Brad Johnson on this ongoing transition. 
  • As it relates to Elim Learning, I am excited about the active discussions that are going on internally, and with the Center for Special Education at Trinity Christian College, about strengthening the support and professional advancement we provide for our Elim family staff members. Be looking for announcements from Colleen Steele about these ongoing developments. 

I also eagerly anticipate the reconstruction of the iconic Elim Covered Bridge. Pending the final stages of the fundraising efforts, the reconstruction should be completed by the start of school this fall. Please consider how you might be a part of securing the remaining funds needed to make this much anticipated return possible. You can support this effort by signing up for Elim’s Virtual 5K or by visiting our “Bring Back the Bridge” page. 

So Elim family, as a Christ-centered community let’s do our part by being patient, vigilant, and by getting the vaccine. If we do these things, we can expect the heartbeat of Elim – our in-person services – to return safely, and more quickly. Let’s all be committed to getting back to in-person services as soon as we can, and as safely as we can.  

Covid-19 Cases Connected to Elim

For accurate and complete information regarding Covid-19 infections in the state of Illinois, we recommend that you refer to the infection information provided by the Illinois Department of Public Health and the CDC. The following articles include stories that connect to or directly impact the Elim community. Please be in prayer for our friends and ministry partners living at or working in adult residential settings.

Recommended Steps for Social Distancing

Adapted from Northwestern University

  • If you are asked to self-isolate you should stay home — in your apartment or your house. Do not go to work, classes, athletic events, or other social gatherings until you are told it is safe to return to normal activities by your medical provider.
  • Limit contact as much as possible. This also means limiting contact with persons living in your residence. Stay 6 feet away from other individuals at all times.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with your upper sleeve or a tissue, and then discard the tissue immediately in a trash basket. Never cough in the direction of someone else.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water, or use alcohol-based hand rubs after coughing or sneezing or throwing a used tissue in the garbage.
  • Avoid sharing household items. Do not share drinking glasses, towels, eating utensils, bedding, or any other items until you are no longer asked to self-isolate.
  • Keep your surroundings clean. While the virus is not spread very well from contact with soiled household surfaces, try to clean surfaces that you share with others, such as door knobs, telephones, and bathroom surfaces (or any other object that you sneeze or cough on), with a standard household disinfectant such as Clorox wipes. Wash your hands after cleaning the area.
  • Monitor yourself for signs of possible infection, including fever (100.4 degrees F or 38.0 degrees C or higher, measured twice a day), cough or difficulty breathing.


Upon Return to Campuses

Once we do return to our campuses, standard precautions for Elim clients, students, staff, and families will apply. It is important to reiterate that the best way to protect ourselves is to continue to employ the standard precautions that we employ everyday:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.  If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects, equipment, and surfaces.
  • Stay home when you are sick. If you or your child has a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing and did not have direct contact with a COVID-19 positive person, please contact your primary care provider. If you are concerned that you or your child have had direct contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, please contact the CDPH at coronavirus@chicago.gov or call 312-746-4835.


Additional Precautions

In light of the ongoing spread of COVID-19 the Elim community has taken the following additional precautions through at least April 30, 2020:

    • All students who are sent home because they appear to be sick will receive a follow-up wellness call from Elim’s nursing department before they can come back to school.
    • Elim staff supervisors will continue to have authority to send staff home based on their appearing to be sick.
    • Elim staff will not attend conferences or travel to any locations that have a current Level 1-3 COVID-19 travel ban (COVID-19 Travel Alerts). Cruises are also strongly discouraged at this time.
    • All employees and parents/guardians have been required to provide accurate emergency contact information to Elim.
    • Elim programs will participate in no community outings.
  • No volunteers, college and high school visitors will be received on Elim’s campus. Interns, regular IEP or “staffing” meetings, and on-campus focus groups will continue.
  • Elim Learning will offer only virtual support off-campus, and will not visit any of our partner locations in person.
  • Elim has increased the use of sanitizing supplies and is performing extra cleaning at this time.


Additional Information

Elim is committed to fostering an environment that empowers people to come forward and report if they are ill. Stigmatizing COVID-19 will only make us more anxious and ensure community spread. In that spirit, we provide you with the following additional information. For the most reliable and up to date information about COVID-19, please click on the links below:

Illinois Department of Public Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Illinois State Board of Education

We appreciate your partnership as we take every precaution to keep our community safe.


Dr. Bill Lodewyk
on behalf of the Elim Coronavirus Task Force and the Elim Leadership Team