With the coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading rapidly across the world, the Executive Office of Sigma Pi Fraternity wants to be proactive in ensuring that our members remain safe and functional in the event of an outbreak on or near your campuses. As with any infectious disease, prevention and early recognition are keys to proper treatment and preventing further infection.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Continuing Chapter Operations
Chapter Meetings: If your school recommends canceling all in-person meetings/gatherings, we recommend reading this article that highlights the best way to engage remote meetings. This is also a good time to stay in touch with members who may be dealing with loneliness as well, so schedule virtual study sessions, brotherhood nights, and so forth.
Chapter Workbook and SOE: Now is a good time to get caught up with your reports to boost your scores for the Standards of Excellence. These will be used to identify the Grand Chapter Award Winners, and play a role in the Grand Council Awards and Grand Sage Cups per tier.
New Member Education Programs: Use this time to conduct virtual meetings and continue to provide education on Sigma Pi, your chapter and prepare them to be members.
Pledge steps: 170 new members still need to complete the required pledge steps. They cannot be submitted on an initiation report until these have been completed. Members who are not properly reported are not covered under the Sigma Pi insurance program including the Membership Accidental Protection Program.
Initiation Reports: You can still report your new initiates and get them registered and paid for. This will also provide the opportunity to have their materials ahead of time so you can give them out when you are able to conduct The Golden Quest initiatory right.
Tightrope: 489 members still need to complete the Tightrope program. We are moving the deadline from March 12 to April 15 to provide these members with additional time to complete them.
Accounts Receivable: For chapters with accounts receivable, use this time to pay your bills, and ensure you can pay your local bills. Also allows you to collect your dues and put into a savings account to provide positive cash flow when school resumes in the Fall.
Orchid Balls: Review your contracts for terms on cancellations. You may need to hire an attorney to see if you can get a refund if you already paid a deposit.
Graduating Seniors: Many of you have members who will not be able to experience their final semester on campus. Please review the Graduation Ceremonies and make plans to conduct this for them virtually.
Recruitment: Right now there are many men on campus without a support system like a Fraternity. This is a great time to do virtual recruitment meetings and get to know them and show that in times like this, it is important to have brothers in your life. Our colleagues at PhiredUp will be providing two webinars on virtual recruitment which you can find online at this link.
- Housing Corporation
NOTE: Sigma Pi Fraternity does not represent individual house corporations. What we share here is not legal advice, only information on where housing corporation leaders can find information that may be of assistance.
Is there any financial assistance that housing corporations can look into?
The US Small Business Administration has created a page for COVID-19 small business loan guidance. On Tuesday, March 17, SBA revised the criteria for states seeking an economic injury declaration related to COVID-19 to make it easier to qualify. We encourage you to make sure your house corporations are looking at this program, which is likely to evolve significantly in coming days as Congress passes modifications and injects hundreds of billions of dollars into the program. A group should apply for support as soon as possible if they are eligible because the new criteria to come may or may not be as favorable and demand for this program will soon far outstrip financial capacity. A helpful one-pager with information about the process can be found here: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Documents/SBA-Disaster-Assistance-Loans-Businesses-Nonprofits.pdf
How do we limit the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19?
There is ample and easily accessed information about how to limit your risk of contracting or spreading this virus. Apply that advice to the care and use of your facility. Be familiar with the information produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), especially as it pertains to colleges and universities.
What should a person who is experiencing COVID-19 like symptoms do?
Immediately seek a diagnosis from a healthcare professional. However, the latest information suggests that one should first attempt to communicate with a health care provider via remote means. Going to a healthcare facility with other people who are also not feeling well could be an unnecessary risk. If remote access is not possible, then physically go to the local healthcare facility as soon as possible.
What happens if a resident is diagnosed with COVID-19?
According to health care professionals, a person diagnosed does not necessarily have to be hospitalized, especially younger people. If a resident is diagnosed with COVID-19, the health care provider should prescribe the necessary actions and protocol. At a minimum, that person is likely to be quarantined and it is reasonable to expect the health care professionals would include at least some form of quarantine for the entire facility and its residents. Be sure that the chapter and house corporation receive and follow the direction given by the local officials.
Should our facility be cleaned any differently?
It is recommended that routine cleaning occur more often, but a deep cleaning of your facility with the intent to disinfect is best left to professionals. Hazing is prohibited; as such, cleaning of common areas in a facility should never be an exclusive task for one group of members. Cleaning of common areas should be a shared task of the entire membership.
Should we still host events at the chapter house?
Follow your university and/or state/local government’s guidance on gatherings of large groups of people.
What happens if our campus closes or moves to online classes only?
Unless your chapter house or the land beneath it is owned by the university, leases involving the chapter facility should not be impacted if the school chooses to do only online classes and close on-campus housing. Landlords and tenants should be expected to honor their lease obligations. House corporations should consult with their legal counsel if there is any uncertainty on this position.
Can we file an insurance claim for COVID-19-related expenses or loss?
The presence or threat of COVID–19 in a chapter facility would not normally be a covered peril in commercial property-casualty insurance. Therefore, do not expect a successful insurance claim for any costs or losses related to proactive or reactive cleaning, or disruption in revenue, caused by COVID-19.
How does COVID-19 impact our meal plan operation?
It has been determined that COVID-19 cannot be transmitted through food. Communicate with your kitchen operations team about following the guidelines suggested by the CDC as it pertains to meal preparation. If your kitchen operation is outsourced to a third party, that provider should have already communicated with you about the actions they are taking to continue the delivery of safe meals.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Links
- General Resources
- Symptoms and Cases
- Mental Health, Coping, and Stopping Stigma
- CDC Video Playlist
- Printable Posters
Sigma Pi Resources
- Virtual Meetings
Need to have an executive board meeting, recruitment committee meeting, meeting with your advisors, or something else? Host a virtual meeting through one of the following:
Google offers Hangouts where up to 10 attendees can meet via video. With a gmail account, you can meet on demand, or schedule through your Google calendar by “adding conferencing.”
Skype offers free video and call conferences for up to 50 attendees. This tool also offers screen and audio recording for any information that needs to be shared with a member who can not attend.
Zoom Video Communications
Zoom offers free video conferencing for up to 100 attendees. With the free version, calls are limited to 40 minutes.
Need to host a larger group – maybe the whole chapter for a workshop, meeting or program? Or need to record the meeting to share later? Your Chapter Management Associate can set up a virtual meeting through the Executive Office Google G-Suite account. This tool allows up to 250 attendees PLUS allows you to record and share with members who could not attend.
- Find new ways to continue education and growth to your chapter members.
- Alumni webcast series: Find an alumni who specializes in a specific topic, or has knowledge of a specific field, and ask them to share his experience with the chapter via one of the virtual meeting platforms.
- Utilizing your alumni, conduct mock interviews to prepare for internship interviews. This can be done over the phone or online through a virtual meeting.
- Conduct a philanthropic event through an online push to raise funds. There are several critical nonprofits that could use financial assistance, including local food banks, animal shelters, and small businesses initiatives in your community.
- Host a book club or podcast review.
- Set a couple of times during the week for a hangout session, where brothers can just come in and talk about various topics; no structure needed. Utilize one of the virtual meeting options to make it happen.
- Taking virtual tours of museums is a great way to learn history together.
- Do a virtual workout. Do you have a chapter brother who’s really into physical fitness? Have him lead a workout via one of the options for a virtual meeting.
- Host a movie night, or binge watch your favorite shows together. You can use a third party tool like Netflix Party to all watch together through a synchronized stream.
- Esports are growing in popularity right now without physical sports to hold us over. Try hosting a video game tournament. FIFA, Madden, NBA 2K, Call of Duty, you name it; there are plenty of games to get a group together playing. Additionally, just organize times to play a video game together online through multiplayer.
- Split the chapter into smaller groups, designate an executive board member to lead each group in a virtual brotherhood meet-up, and assign groups based on members interests.
- Pair members of the chapter with someone they do not know well can give them an opportunity to build new relationships. Use free online randomizers to easily pair members or small groups. You can rotate these groups every few weeks.
- This is often an extremely exciting time for a new member, as they are getting more involved within your brotherhood. With social distancing, they are losing out on that experience. Find ways to get them engaged within your chapter, whether through activities listed above, or through the opportunity to serve on a “virtual” committee.
- Find new ways to continue education and growth to your chapter members.
- We believe that most chapters have completed their recruitment during this time, however, only 61% of chapters have reported new members. Please submit your new member report so we can ensure new members have access to member emails.
- If you have not yet completed and/or are looking to conduct a second round of recruitment this semester, please make sure you are coordinating with your Fraternity and Sorority Life Advisor and taking all precautionary measures for events.
- Establish weekly recruitment committee meetings over a virtual meeting platform. Use this as a time to clean up your potential new member list and add more names to it.
- Continue to work your PNM list and engage them! During this time, digital interaction is important. Conduct member interviews through video chat or text message, play an online video game together to interact, etc. Most importantly, make sure you’re staying in touch with PNMs throughout the time you’re away from campus. Don’t let your momentum slip away.
- Extend bids via Facetime or video call. Mail or email a bid card, and follow up to get him registered. Call PNMs to follow up on their decision and to continue to engage with them on a regular basis.
- Since there may not be in-person aspects of chapter operations to involve him in right now, set up time virtually for the chapter to connect. Try and educate them on the fraternity and chapter and gauge their interest in varying roles in the brotherhood.
- Retention is challenging, so staying connected is key! If members are able to keep strong friendship ties and find value in Sigma Pi during this time, they’re far more likely to return to the chapter in the fall.
- Chapter Support
- Please reach out to your Chapter Management Associate to determine if there is an available upcoming timeslot to host video and phone meetings with your chapter officers and advisors throughout the week (if you are not already meeting regularly).
- Chapter Meetings
- Follow the recommendations made by your educational institution on regular gatherings for all registered student organizations.
- If your school recommends canceling all in-person meetings/gatherings, we recommend reading this article that highlights the best way to engage remote meetings.
- If you maintain housing, contact your local institution to learn about policies and procedures that might affect access, resources, and support.
- Begin to develop a plan, should the institution move to online learning, to ensure your living space and chapter members are safe, secure, and adequately accommodated.
- In the case that an individual within one of your housing facilities is feeling ill and/or is diagnosed with COVID-19, follow the recommendations made by your educational institution immediately for next steps.
- We ask that all Alumni Housing Corporation Board officers communicate with the host institution to learn more about any precautionary measures or steps that should be taken.
- New Member Education
- Many of you are in the middle of your new member education process. We ask that you identify any opportunity for remote learning for new member meetings that would traditionally take place in-person. Limit the amount of events where large numbers of members and guests might gather.
- If your institution moves to online learning for the remainder of the semester, please notify the Executive Office through your Chapter Management Associate so we can adjust expectations accordingly.
- For any questions regarding modifying your new member educational program virtually, please contact your Chapter Management Associate.
- We are asking all chapters to revisit their new member plan and have all initiations completed by March 31st, 2020 unless circumstances dictate otherwise.
- Many of you will soon be approaching initiation for your spring new member class. Please conduct the Formal Ritual Process by the date mentioned above.
- Social/Philanthropic Events
- Please follow the recommendations made by your educational institution on social engagements, philanthropic events, fundraising events, and gatherings (including fraternity/sorority formals) for all registered student organizations.
- If your school recommends canceling all formal meetings/gatherings, we recommend reading this article that highlights the best way to engage remote meetings.
- Alumni and Volunteers
- Engage with your chapter Executive Council to see what plans they have in place for the remainder of the semester. For example, could any brotherhood, social, or service events need to be rescheduled due to the impact of COVID-19?
- Identify any questions, concerns or resources they have and let the Executive Office know how we can help at this time.