January 25, 2021
Get tested COVID-19 periodically. If you were in close contact with someone who contracted the virus try to get a test as soon as possible. If resources in your area are scarce, consider quarantining or social distancing as an alternative to testing unless you suspect you have come in contact with COVID-19.
Personal Protection Equipment (PPE):
PPE is pivotal in protecting your Brothers and guests from COVID-19. Masks should be worn as much as possible during social gatherings. When eating or drinking people should be comfortably spaced at least six feet apart. Tables should be placed at least six feet apart (walking room included.)
If possible, have extra masks handy for guests who do not bring one with them, do not let them enter the property or event without putting one on.
Soap should be stocked at all sinks. Kitchens and bathrooms should be cleaned regularly and after events with non-house guests.
Hand sanitizer should be available in all common rooms or rooms where a majority of people will be congregating. Include stations at entrances and exits as well. Be sure to keep it in a visible an open area where people can use it and quickly and easily. Cleaning wipes are a good optional addition to give everyone a little peace of mind.
Increase ventilation in the respective venue. Box fans can be placed in windows, doorways, and hallways to increase ventilation and reduce the rate of transmission if someone at the gathering happened to be a carrier. Open windows circulating the air will reduce risk of transmission in conjunction with ceiling fans it is increasingly effective.
Even though transmission is mainly through air droplets, heavily touched objects and surfaces should be sanitized and cleaned frequently. Frequently touched objects can still serve as super spreaders when ignored.
Larger Chapters should be divided into smaller cohorts for in person activities. Cohorts should have an equal number of officers strategically placed in each group to guarantee leadership at events. Cohorts have had a successful track record of limiting outbreaks, minimizing infections, and keeping communities safe.
KEEP YOUR HANDS TO YOURSELF AND TO YOUR OWN BELONGINGS!
We physically distance ourselves for the benefit of public health. But often we see a decline in our mental health when we are unable to have our usual face to face interactions.
Time spent on social media has increased for all of us. This can lead to increased or constant anxiety about the pandemic. Think about setting limitations on time spent on social media or temporarily deleting or deactivating the service. This is not permanent and can give you valuable time to work on other things or find new hobbies!
It is important to keep your routine as normal as possible. This correlates to sleeping & exercising regularly. Rest and recovery are necessary with high levels of screen time. Just because you may not have to sit in class doesn’t mean you can skip a good night’s sleep!
Substance abuse is another issue that has increased with the pandemic. The rate of intake of substances such as alcohol, marijuana, tobacco, and illicit substances has spiked significantly since June according to the CDC. These substances can provide a temporary escape from stressors but frequent use increases tolerance of the substance consumed. This can result in addiction, other health problems, and can decrease your bodies resistance to COVID-19. Even though it is tempting to do anything to relieve stress and anxiety in these times it is imperatively important to moderate your drinking/smoking and refrain from using them as a coping mechanism.
Studies suggest that teammate social interactions have positive impacts on mental health (your chapter is a team!) The best sports teams have upheld their standard of excellence throughout the pandemic by adapting their operations to be more virtual/socially distant. As a result, they get to play the game and be with the teammates they love. This is no different from our Fraternity.
About three quarters of students are aware of but do not utilize campus resources. We encourage you now more than ever to take advantage of them especially if you are experiencing increased stress since the start of the pandemic.
In addition to the above, there are resources and hotlines listed below, which you can utilize to ease your anxiety.
Provide virtual options for those who can’t attend or those who don’t feel comfortable in social gatherings. This can lead to higher participation in events and be sure to include alumni who may not feel like they have a connection with the active members of the chapter.
Last semester showed us that virtual recruitment events and initiations can be just as successful. Consider this avenue if it is best for your chapter and potential new members (PNMs).
Rush and Recruitment:
There are a multitude of events that can be held online. Utilization of platforms such as Zoom, Discord, and online gaming platforms a diverse set of virtual rush events can be held that is fun for Brothers and PNMs. Game Nights, Bad Movie Nights, and Sports nights are now more popular now than ever and they’re helping all kinds of organizations recruit and get through this challenge.
Initiation can also be successful as a virtual event and a few of our chapters have conducted successful virtual initiations. The full ritual should be conducted and at least one Brother will need to Zoom in from the room containing all the mystics. If you need help organizing virtual ceremonies, please reach out to Jake Corter at 973-303-8210 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Jake has helped chapters adapt to socially distanced and virtual initiations. The goal is to make the experience as normal as can be, while still exciting for those new members all while demonstrating the values we expect a TEΦ to have.
Monitor the local Data:
Keep up to date with cases in your area and mandates from the local government and your campus. Discuss these guidelines with your chapter and then discuss the maximum level of operations your members are comfortable with that comply with the local rules.
Holiday / Break / Vacation Travel:
With students and families crossing state lines to celebrate the holidays together it is highly recommended and encouraged practice to cease operations and quarantine two weeks before and after your travel. This will keep cases as low as possible and limit outbreaks in your family and back with your chapter.
New CDC Guidelines:
The CDC has updated guidelines on how individuals should respond to coming in contact with COVID-19. The quarantine period for no symptoms has been shortened to 10 days. Seven days with no symptoms and a negative test. Individuals who have experienced symptoms should still quarantine for 14 days. People who have tested positive for COVID-19 do not need to quarantine or get tested again for up to 3 months as long as they do not develop symptoms again. People who develop symptoms again within 3 months of their first bout of COVID-19 may need to be tested again if there is no other cause identified for their symptoms.
COVID-19 State Tracker:
Mental & Physical Health Resources:
National Suicide Prevention Hotline:
Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration National Hotline:
September 1st, 2020
On Campus Learning:
Many of our chapters are returning to campus and operating with restrictions. It is imperative that our chapters comply with University guidelines and restrictions as they have made those decisions based on needs of the local community. Cooperation from the everyone is required to complete the semester start to finish.
Chapters should continue to maintain supplies such as masks, hand sanitizer, soap, disinfectant spray, disinfectant wipes and temperature guns. If you need help acquiring these items please reach out to your staff liaison, Jake Corter at email@example.com or Nick Dondiego at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is equally important to make yourself and your members aware of hot spots across the country. Several states have higher levels of transmission compared to others and that should be taken into consideration when going out or attending social gatherings.
Social gatherings should follow your State and University guidelines. Many areas have published guidelines that allow a larger number to gather in outdoor settings but that does not translate to a lapse in safety precautions. Indoor gatherings should be ventilated as much as possible (fans and open windows or central air circulating).
Masks should be worn at all times covering the mouth and nose when entering any buildings or having guests over. When food and drink is present make sure there is ample room for people to be distanced (>6ft) and do not let anyone remove their masks until everyone is seated. Meals should be served pre-portioned (not family style) and drinks should come in prepackaged containers.
In is more imperative than ever to follow the guidelines above for in person rush events and efforts, if they are even permitted on your campus. All chapters should participate in virtual recruitment to some capacity to include students who may not be comfortable with in person events and interactions. If you have not received your login to our new virtual recruitment training provided by PhiredUp please email Nick Dondiego at email@example.com for assistance. The cost of this program has been paid for by national, so all our undergraduates can take advantage of it and help everyone adjust to the current situation.
We are incredibly proud of what our chapters have accomplished in the months since the pandemic started. We have seen recruitment and philanthropy efforts bloom as we knew they could.
Keep up the good work! Stay safe, healthy, and have a great semester!
May 28, 2020
COVID-19 Guidelines for Return to Campus
Check School Updates Often
Your school has the final say in what regulations and standards are required. Schools will all have different criteria to reopening so make sure your chapter is prepared in advance to transition when it is time to return to campus.
Check with your campus directly on what their plans are for the Fall Semester.
Minimum Precautions to be taken at the chapter property
All chapters should consider adopting these best practices to keep members and guests healthy:
- Consider hiring a cleaning service to sanitize chapter property if it is affordable and feasible.
- This can be expensed by reallocating budgets. Be prepared to change spending habits and keep to purchasing essential supplies for now.
- This can also be subsidized by increasing dues per member.
- Chapter properties that are school owned and managed should be responsible for providing cleaning services or if you have an independent landlord, please be sure to speak with them about what they are doing or have done to sanitize.
- Obtain supplies for the chapter property in advance.
- Have soap available near all sinks and require hand washing when someone enters chapter property.
- Consider having hand sanitizer near the main doors to the property so it can be utilized upon entering or exiting the property.
- Increase the ventilation in chapter properties. Have fans turned on and portable fans placed inside windows directing air outwards if possible.
- Evaluate your food service if you employ one and what changes they will be making for the Fall semester.
- Have members enter a 14-day quarantine period if they develop symptoms
- Determine in advance if your school will have a designated dormitory or area for on campus residents to isolate. See if your members may be able to quarantine there in the event of infection
- Isolating members in the chapter property is not recommended
In the event that someone who was at your chapter facility contracted COVID-19, it is unlikely that Brothers will be held legally liable for exposing that person to the virus. But there is no way to be 100% sure in these uncertain times.
It is important for the fraternity to do their due diligence if there is a possibility a member or the chapter property has been exposed. In the event of attempted legal action, the chapter can protect themselves of negligence with adherence to local regulations plus additional safety measures:
- Isolate and restrict sick individuals from entering the chapter property, going to public facilities, events, restaurants.
- Have all persons who interacted with the sick individual wash their hands and face immediately.
- Clean and sanitize all areas that the sick individual interacted with, additionally, sanitize all areas those who were in contact with the individual has visited.
- Do not leave a sick Brother or friend alone without help. Drop off supplies and keep in touch with them virtually if possible.
Please note the Insurance provided by the National Fraternity does not cover ANYONE for COVID-19 related lawsuits.
- COVID-19 CDC Situation Summary
- Interim CDC Guidance for Higher Education Institutions
- Holmes Murphy 6 Tips for Fraternity & Sorority Reopening’s Amidst COVID-19
- Pennington & Company Resource Library
- NIC Fraternal Think Tank Recommendations
If you are a Brother living in the house of a chapter whose property is owned by your Alumni Association, please share this information with them and include them while making your plans for the Fall semester. It is important all parties are on the same page to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep our Brothers and guests as safe as possible.
March 12, 2020
We know many of you have questions revolving around the COVID-19 pandemic and we wanted to share with you expectations for the remainder of the semester. Please know we at TEΦ National stand ready to assist you with any and all questions. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your national staff person, either Nicholas Dondiego (firstname.lastname@example.org) for our chapters or Jake Corter (email@example.com) for our colonies. These are unprecedented times within our organization and as such we must take extraordinary measures to protect not only our members but all who interact with us.
For those campuses who have implemented remote learning we expect all members to follow the directives of your college or university. Please reach out to the office of Fraternity & Sorority Life to discuss any concerns about whether you should return to campus (or when) or not. If your campus has not gone to remote learning and they feel that continued learning on campus is best for that community, please continue as directed. Should you feel uncomfortable doing so, we encourage you to contact your school administration to discuss the matter personally.
Our staff has or is in the process of contacting the leadership of each chapter & colony to discuss your current status with each of you. I have directed our staff to immediately suspend campus visits until such time as we feel it is appropriate to resume. I have asked that those chapters and colonies that were still expecting a visit this semester to hold those meetings remotely either via video or audio conference.
I know some chapters are still in the middle of their candidate education process. In regards to this, we have made the difficult but important decision to move forward with initiating all candidates as soon as possible. If you are presently on campus and it is safe to do so, please initiate your candidates by the end of this weekend. If you are currently on spring break and or already at home due to distance learning, we are requesting that you provide any yet to be learned material to your candidates via email or video conference. We are asking that these members be considered Brothers as soon as practical and if need be to have their formal initiation ceremonies at the start of the fall semester. We know this is not ideal and may be contrary to how it’s been done in the past, but we are again in unprecedented times. It would equally be inappropriate to either drop them from the process nor ask them to continue next semester through no fault of their own. We ask that you communicate with your national staff representative as soon as possible to inform them that this has been completed. Our staff are also prepared to give guidance for dealing with any unique situations that may arise.
As a reminder all chapter’s dues and fees are due by Sunday, March 15, 2020 including candidate initiation fees if not already paid. It is important that this be done to keep your group in good standing. Should you have any questions or concerns about billing, please contact me directly to discuss.
Learn more from the U.S. Travel Association at traveling during Spring Break. This includes guidance for travelers, suggestions for healthy travel practices, and other assorted resources.
For more information about the COVID-19 situation and how the CDC recommends taking action please see: Daily practices recommended by the CDC for everyday preventive actions on campus communities. This includes FAQ’s specific to college and university communities.
Finally, should anyone have any questions or concerns about any of the above, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please stay safe and we will all get through this situation together!
Tim Smith, Executive Director