COVID-19 Updates

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 bas 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.
  • 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

Legal Liability

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:

  1. Isolate and restrict sick individuals from entering the chapter property, going to public facilities, events, restaurants.
  2. Have all persons who interacted with the sick individual wash their hands and face immediately.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Additional Resources

  • COVID-19 CDC Situation Summary

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/summary.html

  • Interim CDC Guidance for Higher Education Institutions

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-ihe-response.html

  • Holmes Murphy 6 Tips for Fraternity & Sorority Reopening’s Amidst COVID-19

https://www.holmesmurphy.com/2020/05/6-tips-for-fraternity-and-sorority-reopenings-amidst-covid-19/

  • Pennington & Company Resource Library

https://blog.penningtonco.com/tag/webinar-library

Alumni Associations 

If you are a house Brother 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.

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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 (nick@tep.org) for our chapters or Jake Corter (jake@tep.org) 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.

Learn more from the World Health Organization (WHO) on COVID-19. 

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 tsmith@tep.org.

Please stay safe and we will all get through this situation together!

Fraternally,

Tim Smith, Executive Director