Modified Temporary Pause on Face-to-Face Meetings, Activities and Travel: Frequently Asked Questions
April 9, 2021
On January 7, 2021, the SIA board of directors adopted a temporary pause for face-to-face meetings and other activities to protect the safety and health of our members and our stakeholders throughout the federation during the COVID worldwide pandemic and manage the legal and financial risk associated with our face-to-face meetings and activities.
Since we met, we have consulted with our general counsel and our insurance broker to develop a risk assessment plan. That plan has guided us on our assessment of our current conditions.
As promised, your SIA board has been evaluating the ever-changing COVID–19 conditions and held a special meeting on April 8, 2021 to review the temporary pause order.
As members, we recognize that Soroptimists accomplish our work through interaction which is also important for the health, safety and success of our members and organization. As stated previously, the SIA board understands the cost of energy, morale and money that not holding face-to-face meetings or events is likely to cause. We also recognize conditions vary throughout our 20 countries and territories and appreciate your cooperation as we continue to assess the situation and make informed decisions to protect our health and safety and manage our risk.
Please see the following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to assist with your concerns and to help you to answer questions that may arise in your regions and clubs.
Frequently Asked Questions
What types of face-to-face meetings may we resume?
On April 8, 2021, the SIA board of directors approved, if your club/region agrees to follow the Official COVID-19 Guidelines defined below, the club/region may choose to resume its face to face regularly scheduled club/region meetings effective May 1, 2021 for members only. While your members may choose to attend meetings in person, we encourage clubs/regions to accommodate members who choose to join the regularly scheduled meetings virtually.
How are the Official COVID-19 Guidelines defined?
Official COVID-19 Guidelines are defined as your country’s health agency guidelines e.g. CDC and/or local and regional safety and health protocols, requirements and mandates for social gatherings (masks, distancing, size of gathering, etc.), whichever is more rigorous.
How are face to face regularly scheduled club/region meetings defined?
Club meetings are defined as board, business, program, and committee meetings that members attend regularly. Region meetings are defined as board and committee meetings attended by officers and committee members. If you choose to have outside guests, who are not Soroptimist members, at one of these meetings, the guests must attend virtually.
What is the rationale for not allowing a non-member/guest to attend a regularly scheduled club/region meeting?
Due to frequency of regularly scheduled club/region meetings, this risk mitigation strategy is meant to contain the risk to the membership rather than risk expanding it to the public. It also allows the regularly schedule meetings to be held without a written declaration. Until further progress is made against the pandemic and we are able to completely lift our temporary pause, we continue to manage risk through this requirement.
What do we need to do to resume face-to-face activities?
The SIA board of directors also agreed effective May 1, 2021, a club/region may choose to hold a face-to-face activity that includes persons (non-members) outside your club or region board. To hold an activity requires clubs and regions to file a written declaration with SIAHQ at least 45 days in advance of the activity. The written declaration identifies and confirms the Official COVID-19 Guidelines they will follow and indicates who the designated COVID-19 compliance coordinator will be for the Activity/Non-Meeting Event. The written declaration must be completed for each activity and sent electronically to email@example.com. The declaration form can be found here. This reporting requirement will continue until further notice.
What are the types of face-to-face activities that can be resumed?
All face-to-face activities include:
- Member recruitment*
- Live Your Dream Award recipient dinners/receptions*
- Dream It, Be It programs*
- Club or Region Fundraisers*
*Note, these activities above may still be accomplished virtually. See the Soroptimist Forward Toolkit for ideas and resources. If you have specific questions about an event or how to transform your face-to-face activity, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Does the declaration form replace the practice of obtaining a Certificate of Insurance in the US?
In the US, in addition to filing the written declaration, holding an activity still requires the obligation of completing a Certificate of Insurance ideally at least 45 days before the activity.
What is the purpose of the written declaration and why do clubs/regions have to complete it before a non-meeting activity?
The written declaration is a risk mitigation strategy to ensure clubs and regions are fully aware of and agree to comply with COVID-19 risk mitigation strategies.
What is the role of the COVID-19 compliance coordinator?
A designated COVID-19 compliance coordinator will identify, communicate and arrange for all Official COVID-19 Guidelines to be followed at Activity/Non-Meeting Event. It also includes adjusting the Official COVID-19 Guidelines should the most rigorous Guidelines change. The designated COVID-19 compliance coordinator will physically be at the Activity/Non-Meeting Event to ensure the Official COVID-19 Guidelines are carried out.
What kinds of venue/hotel meeting and event protocol suggestions should a COVID-10 compliance coordinator consider?
- Hotel or venue to provide temperature screening front of house and back of house (FOH/BOH)
- Hotel or venue health and safety protocols to be reviewed and approved by hosting organization
- Cap on maximum attendance to provide social distancing
- Social distancing required (6+ feet/1.8+ meters)
- Hotel/venue health and safety food and beverage protocols in place
- Local medical facilities vetted for possible use
- Tours/activities reviewed case by case
- No group ground transportation
- Provide for a contact tracing system
- Ensure attendees understand they should evaluate their health before attending and stay home if not feeling well and once on site, they will be asked to follow all Official COVID-19 Guidelines
Who may be appointed as the club/region COVID-19 compliance coordinator for the Activity/Non-Meeting Event?
The club/region may appoint an individual they know will be able to address the responsibilities outlined above. This may be someone from the Non-Meeting Event venue, a member or a nonmember.
If this is a modified temporary pause, what are we still not able to do?
Because of either the size and/or travel requirements, the following meetings, activities and travel still remain under a temporary pause:
- face to face 2021 region conferences and associated travel.
- face to face federation meetings, board meetings, activities and associated travel.