TOASTMASTERS DISTRICT 58 – COVID-19 UPDATES
03/16/2020 – We have received further guidance on club and district activities from the Toastmasters International Board of Directors, regarding the increasing challenges and impact associated with the coronavirus (COVID-19).
With this new guidance, all District Executive Committees (DEC), around the world, were faced with some very tough decisions. Earlier this evening, the District 58 DEC met to review this new guidance and assess our options on the way forward.
With these uncertain times, unknowns, and concerns centered around COVID-19, we are working to not only bring you the most up to date information, but some options that will hopefully help, during this unprecedented time.
As leaders and representatives of Toastmasters International, we’re all committed to supporting you. It is critically important that you understand this communication and do not make assumptions. We will continue to post updates as they become available.
Based on the guidance we received, and the current flux day to day, together with knowing that these decisions, whether by the Board of Directors or the D58 DEC, were not made lightly, we do hope you all understand how much consideration was given.
Please take a few minutes to review the links to the directives from Toastmasters International and also review, District 58’s decision regarding upcoming district events. Source documents from Toastmasters International as they relate to the updates below.
Board of Directors 3/14
Dues Renewal 3/16
UPDATED 3/16 – IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENTS
ANNUAL CONFERENCE & BUSINESS MEETING
- 2020 Annual District 58 Conference is CANCELLED Members who’ve already purchased tickets will be refunded over the next couple of days.
- Annual Business Meeting must occur, virtually. District 58 Annual Business Meeting will take place virtually, on Saturday, May 16, 2020, 9:00-11:00 am. More details will be posted and sent to council members.
- DEC Voted to Suspend ALL District Level Speech Contests for the remainder of the 2019-20 Toastmasters year. While a tough decision, the majority did not feel we were adequately prepared to exercise virtual contests. There will be no more Area, Division or District level contests between now at June 30, 2020 (end of Toastmasters year). Like many other districts, this means we will not have a representative the International Speech Contest at the August Convention. The fate of the international convention in Paris, France, still remains to be seen.
- At this moment, clubs may still meet in person. This includes conducting your Professional Development Events (Open Houses). Keep within CDC guidance of 50 person limits, but note, this number may change soon.
- Clubs can also choose to meet entirely online, but it is not mandatory, at this time. This is a good time for your club to try out virtual meetings. The district will offer our Zoom account for those clubs who wish to schedule an online meeting, on a first come first serve basis. Clubs will be asked to contact Administration Manager, Donna Rice, DTM to schedule a request. Email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- We are actively working on setting up a scheduler to help those clubs who want to allow virtual attendance. More to come on this when the scheduler is set up. We ask you to please be patient with getting these meetings set up.
- The district will offer Zoom training for clubs on how to conduct virtual meetings. These events will post to the district calendar.
- In an attempt to help everyone stay and feel connected and supported, we will be setting up and offering web training sessions to which, members can attend. If you have a special project in your Path or traditional program to complete and would like to book one of these sessions, contact Program Quality Director, Trent Kenelly, DTM to schedule.
- The District Trio will start sending weekly District video check-in messages. The first will be released this week.
- This is the special page on the D58 website with the latest information and will be updated, needed. We will still continue to send email as well.
- In addition to tracking the district website and local news, please also refer to the Toastmasters International has a COVID-19 status page, where updates are posted.
- Resources for conducting online meetings
DUES RENEWALS AND BASE CAMP ACCESS
- Special message from the Board of Directors on dues renewal extension was released this evening. It is attached to this message, however, this email will be sent to clubs officers tomorrow. March 17, 2020.
- Read this message carefully to ensure your members remain in good standing.
- I’ve asked for guidance on whether Toastmasters International will enact the ability for all members to pay dues online. I will update you once I have a response. In the meantime, consider using Venmo, Paypal, Cashapp, etc. There are District 58 clubs already using this method to accept dues. Of course, using US mail is still an viable option for those not meeting in person.
In closing, please remain safe by following the necessary precautions as directed by the CDC steps to prevent illness. This is not a time to panic, rather a time to be vigilant and work together. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask. If you need help, please reach out to your Area Director, Trent, Alan or myself at any time.
Again, I thank you for your time, commitment and support. We are the members of District 58! #teamsport
Lisa Berry, DTM
Toastmasters District 58