Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) is significantly impacting our members and clubs. District 26 and Toastmasters International are monitoring the situation and taking the necessary steps to support our members during this difficult time. Please use your best judgement to keep yourself and those around you safe.
To help facilitate online events, District 26 has upgraded our Zoom Pro account to Business. We will distribute user login credentials to each Trio and Division Director for sharing within their chairs and clubs. More details to follow.
Toastmasters International Announcements
For future updates and to review all previous announcements related to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), please go to www.toastmasters.org/covid-19.
- 5/06/20 -- Pathways Extension, Austerity, Magazine
- 4/15/20 -- International Conventions Update
- 3/25/20 -- Leadership Award Submission Extension
- 3/24/20 -- Let’s keep connected
- 3/17/20 -- April Renewal Dues Extension
- 3/14/20 -- Area, Division, and District Event Updates
- 3/12/20 -- Club Attendance and Online Speech Contest Exception for all Clubs
- 3/10/20 -- A message to all Districts and clubs regarding COVID-19
On Saturday, March 14, 2020, the Board of Directors of Toastmasters International, issued a directive limiting in-person District events until June 1, 2020. The directive also advised districts to meet with their respective District Executive Committee (DEC) to discuss the fate of contests this contest cycle. The District 26 DEC met within 24 hours on Sunday, March 15, 2020. Three options were discussed, 1.) to discontinue all contests for the remainder of the year; 2.) to continue with the remaining Table Topics and International Speech Contests online; or 3.) to continue the remaining International Speech contests online only. By majority vote, the DEC decided to proceed with the International Speech Contest only in an online format.
The background for choosing this option is that the International Speech is the only speech contest that could potentially lead to the World Championship of Public Speaking. Additionally, since this is our District’s first attempt at implementing an online speech contest, the DEC thought it would be easier to logistically implement the International Speech Contest only.
The remaining areas that have not conducted contests as of yet, will compete in two-hour increments, using the District’s Zoom account on Saturday, March 28. The division contests will occur on Saturday, April 4 and Saturday, April 11, also in two-hour increments using the District’s Zoom account. The new schedule will allow sufficient time to configure logistics to ensure that all contests adhere to Toastmasters protocol and exceptions while allowing the best possible playing field for contestants.
Many Toastmasters clubs are losing access to their meeting sites, as town halls, community rooms, eldercare facilities, churches, and other venues close their doors to outside groups or simply prohibit events. The Board of Directors has made the exception that all clubs in all Districts can meet entirely online, as needed, effective immediately and until further notice.
- If you continue to meet in person, please consider using an alternative to handshaking and other social distance strategies per the CDC recommendations.
- We invite all clubs to begin meeting online, and to use the Internet to “close the social distance” with fellowship and community interaction in challenging times.
- We will continue to add resources to the new Online Meetings page.
District Annual Business Meeting
Each District must conduct its Annual District Council Meeting online, rather than in person, on or prior to June 1, 2020. More guidance on conducting an online Annual District Council Meeting will be forthcoming. We plan to hold meeting on May 2, 2020, as previously planned, to allow sufficient time for the new leadership team to plan upcoming year.
Mike Akins, District Director
Jacqueline Smith, Program Quality Director
Victoria Cox, Club Growth Director