Brothers and Petitioners of Region F,
Several questions have come up about COVID-19 (SARS-CoV2 Coronavirus) and how it impacts Alpha Phi Omega. The Region will continue to answer some of these questions with the information that we have now. As the situation progresses, further updates will be delivered over email as well as posted here on the Region F website and on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – please help us in spreading the word.
UPDATE MARCH 13, 2020:
By now you have hopefully received APO National President Rob Coop’s letter regarding the national fraternity’s response to COVID-19 that was sent yesterday. If not, it is available on the National Fraternity’s website as well as posted on multiple social media outlets. Per our national policies, the ultimate authority on how your chapter can or cannot operate is your home campus, and that all chapters and members must follow their university officials’ guidance regarding meetings, activities, travel, etc.
In line with national policies, as the vast majority of our host campuses have entered into some type of suspension of activities and placed restrictions on the size of in-person gatherings, we will be postponing both the Region F Chicagoland Sections Conference (scheduled to be held April 4 at Loyola University) and the Downstate Illinois Sections Conference (scheduled to be held April 18 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign). Refunds for all currently registered attendees will be processed over the next several weeks following Eventbrite’s event cancellation policy.
The Regional Alumni Leadership Team (comprised of the region chair, the deputy region chair, and each section chair) will be meeting to discuss our timeline for holding virtual section business meetings and how to conduct section chair elections. It is our intention to have these virtual business meetings held before the end of April, so chapters do still need to select their voting delegates. We will also start working with our two host chapters on plans for rescheduling conferences to the fall.
As for continued chapter operations, we are looking into tools for chapters to use that will allow them to continue their business in a virtual setting, as well as options for continuing to be a leader, be a friend, and be of service in ways that respect and follow containment guidelines published by the CDC. Please work with your advisors and section chair on developing these plans locally, and we will share best practices around the region. Section chairs and other alumni volunteers will be routinely checking in with chapters to assist with continuing our programs of service.
Going forward, the National Office will serve as the official source of Fraternity policy regarding our continued response to COVID-19. Regional and Sectional elected officials will make sure this information is passed on to chapter officers and members through email, social media, and personal messages for distribution to chapters. We encourage all members to follow the Fraternity on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as our region’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram presences for continued information. This is an unprecedented time we are experiencing, and we are here for all of our students.
MARCH 11, 2020
The health and safety of Alpha Phi Omega members and the communities in which they serve are our highest priorities. In accordance with the Risk Management policies of the fraternity, we are taking our direction from our host campuses in our response.
Many universities around the country are preparing to make a temporary shift to online-only operations, others are continuing as normal with some minor changes. Campuses in our region are working in close coordination with local health department officials in deciding what is best for their community. It is of the utmost importance that each chapter follows whatever recommendations and polices that their institution puts in place and not deviate from those.
In terms of daily chapter operations, in addition to following the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations to address the risk of infection, it is strongly suggested that APO chapters adhere to the following recommendations for their programs and activities:
- If members are exhibiting signs of illness, encourage them to stay home;
- Refrain from physical contact while singing the Toast Song;
- Consider modifications to member requirements in the event your campus modifies their operations. This includes requirements and activities involving your pledge/prospective members;
- Develop plans for chapter operations and meetings in a virtual space should the need arise, and work closely with your advisors, section chair, and campus student life office on those plans.
Your elected alumni volunteers are actively monitoring the situation and will be meeting (virtually) to reassess and further update our members. Getting together as a fraternity to learn, share, and enjoy each other’s company is one of the greatest parts of being in Alpha Phi Omega. However, the health and safety of everyone are reasons enough to break from conference traditions and adjust how we operate.
Please reach out to your section chairs with any questions regarding our plan of action.
In Leadership, Friendship, and Service,
Your Region F Volunteer Staff