COVID-19 Guidance

The Fraternity is monitoring the impact of COVID-19 on our campus communities, prompting our host-institutions to alter their operations. This includes canceling in-person classes and limiting large gatherings.  

Phi Gamma Delta is committed to supporting its members, chapters and house corporations as they work to adapt. Below you will find updates and key information for all members to consider. 

Current CDC Guidance

Undergraduate Chapter Operations

The decision to cancel or postpone any chapter event should be made by the chapter officers in consultation with your Purple Legionnaire, BCA and campus Fraternity/Sorority Life Advisor. Chapters should follow and consider all campus-provided guidelines. The Fraternity strongly encourages chapters to explore hosting chapter operations virtually when in-person is not feasible.

Please contact your Field Secretary or any member of the Headquarters staff with questions or concerns about potential long-term impacts on operations.

 Chapter Meetings

Work with your Purple Legionnaire, Board of Chapter Advisors and Field Secretary on how to conduct necessary chapter business in accordance with you university's re-opening plan. The Fraternity is here to support. Please check with your IFC to see if they have remote video conference software for your chapter. If they do not, contact your Field Secretary for details from the Fraternity.

Virtual Meeting Options: 

  • For "in-person" one-on-one meetings (e.g. with a potential new member you want to stay connected with), utilize Facetime or an Android video calling app.
  • For virtual group meetings (e.g. a recruitment meeting or cabinet meeting), use one of the following options:
    • If you have a Gmail account, Google Hangouts allows up to 10 people to meet via video. You can meet on demand, or schedule through your Google calendar by "adding conferencing."
    • Zoom also offers free video conferencing for up to 100 people. Calls are limited to 40 minutes with the free version.
  • For a larger group meeting (e.g. whole chapter workshop, meeting or program) or to record meetings, check to see if your campus offers video conferencing services. You may also reach out to your Field Secretary for assistance from the Fraternity.
  • We also recommend reading this article that highlights the best way to engage remote meetings.

Ritual Meetings:

  • The Fraternity's Ritualist is working to determine appropriate uses of the Ritual, and we hope to have more guidance soon.
  • In the meantime, it is important to maintain Ritual in the brotherhood experience. Chapter Historians should consider ways to review concepts and content of the Ritual with brothers.
  • If you have questions or suggestions regarding integrating Ritual in the virtual experience, please contact the Director of Chapter Development.

 Chapter Support/Staff Visits

New level of support COMING SOON. The staff is excited to share coming fall 2020, the Fraternity will be offering a cohort model for chapters across the US and Canada. We know during these unprecedented times, we must be intentional and purposeful on how and when we connect. Cohorts will allow us to bring chapters together on a more consistent basis. Your chapter will receive communication about this closer to the start of the fall term.

Field Secretaries:

  • Your Field Secretary should be your first point of contact for any questions. The Fraternity is adjusting staff schedules to accommodate increased support for our chapters.
  • Field Secretary Visits: Based upon current CDC guidelines, Field Secretaries will not be traveling until it is safe to do so. Your Field Secretary will conduct virtual visits and meetings via Zoom. He will periodically check in with you via email, phone calls and text messages.

 Recruitment

  • Recruitment is the lifeblood of your chapter. It is critical for the health of your chapter to continue recruitment efforts. Here is a list of ideas to connect virtually, allowing brothers to connect with potential new members.
  • Consult with your campus advisor and Field Secretary regarding considerations for any remaining recruitment activities and/or summer plans.

 New Member Education/Initiation

New Member Education:

Similar to chapter meetings, follow the recommendations made by your educational institution on regular gatherings for all registered student organizations. If the meeting cannot comply with the recommendations by your educational institution, specifically the use of face masks and social distancing, the Chapter will need to host new member education virtually. Here are some key things to consider:

  • Review the Chapter's new member education plan and make adjustments as needed to conduct education virtually. Consult with your Purple Legionnaire, Board of Chapter Advisors and Field Secretary to make a meaningful experience.
  • Check out this article regarding 7 Tips to Make Remote Learning More Effective by Forbes.

New members will still be required to go through GreekLifeEdu. Please follow the deadlines on the chapter officer calendar. If the deadlines do not work for your chapter, please contact Andrew Depew, Coordinator of Educational Programs & Online Learning.

Reporting:

The chapter is still required to report all new members at phigam.org/NewMemberReg and any initiations that occur on the roster at phigam.org.

Initiations:

If the Chapter cannot conduct initiation due to online classes, the Chapter is expected to conduct and report the initiation at the earliest feasible date. If initiations cannot be conducted in a reasonable time frame, the Chapter should contact their Field Secretary for guidance.

 Chapter Programming & Events

  • Follow the recommendations made by your educational institution regarding large gatherings and events for student organizations.
  • Keep in mind current guidance to avoid gatherings of 10 or more people and to avoid discretionary travel. This guidance extends past formal chapter activities to informal gatherings as well.
  • If your school recommends canceling all in-person meetings/gatherings, chapter-sponsored events (such as social, brotherhood and philanthropy events) should be considered non-essential. Whenever possible, the Chapter should move the events to a virtual setting. Check out this list of fun virtual Brotherhood events.
  • Consult with your Purple Legionnaire and BCA regarding any existing contracts for space and events. Contracts should be reviewed by the booking party to review any “act of god” clause or otherwise to mitigate cost. Contact the appropriate staff member for additional guidance.

 Educational Programs

  • Follow the recommendations made by your educational institution on regular gatherings for all registered student organizations.
  • The Fraternity will continue to provide health & safety programming during the 2020-21 academic year. For now, those programs will be facilitated virtually. Be on the look out for an email from Andrew Depew regarding how to schedule the required programming.
  • GreekLifeEdu for new members is still required. If you have trouble getting new members to complete the course, please contact Andrew Depew.

 Chapter Finances

Dues:

Whether you are affected by a campus closure or not, dues collection should continue as planned. Chapter Treasurers should consult with your Purple Legionnaire and BCA if you need to consider adjusting dues because of limited ability to conduct in-person events. However, make sure you are collecting enough to cover any fixed expenses.

Billing:

Payments to the International Fraternity, including membership dues and liability insurance assessment, continue to be owed as planned. The Fraternity will work with chapters and colonies impacted. Contact Amy Watson if you have any questions. 

 Pig Dinners & Similar Graduate Brother Events

Many chapters plan to host their Pig Dinners and other graduate-focused events this fall. As you consider how to best proceed, we suggest the following:

  • Current guidance suggests the use of cloth masks, social distancing and avoiding discretionary travel to help limit the spread of coronavirus. With that in mind, we strongly encourage you to continue to follow all directives from the state/local authorities and a make a decision to cancel or postpone near-term events.
  • When the time comes to host a Pig Dinner, keep in mind the decision to continue or cancel/postpone a Pig Dinner should be made by the key organizers. If organized by the chapter, be sure to consult with your Purple Legionnaire, BCA, campus Fraternity/Sorority Life professional and/or Headquarters staff.
  • Chapters should adhere to all guidelines provided by local/state government and the host institution and be prepared to cancel or postpone the event if necessary or directed to do so.
  • Review all contracts for reserved spaces to review any “act of god” clauses and, if need be, plan to develop steps to otherwise mitigate costs.

Canceling an Event:

If the chapter is considering the cancellation of the upcoming event, please consider the following:

  • Consider rescheduling rather than canceling the event altogether. Some venues/providers may be willing to waive or reduce cancellation fees if rescheduled.
  • The organizer’s decision should stand final. 
  • Communicate updates to your graduate network and appropriate staff member as soon as possible.

Contact Dionysis Protopapadakis with specific concerns and questions.

 

House Corporations

 General Guidance

We understand that house corporations will have questions and concerns about the potential spread of coronavirus and best handling an unexpected closure of the facility. We suggest that you consider the following:

  • Follow all guidance provided by the CDC, state/province/local authorities and/or the college or university. If you have not already, we suggest that a member of the house corporation contact the college/university regarding recommendations specific to the campus.
  • Encourage members of the chapter to review the everyday preventive actions recommended by the CDC to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases.
  • In the case a member living in, or an employee working in, the housing facility is feeling ill, or is diagnosed with COVID-19, alert local officials and follow their recommendations.
  • If a member tests positive, a protocol should be established by the House Corporation. The CDC recommends that someone who tests positive should stay home and self-isolate from other people. Members who test positive should remain in a “sick room” and use a separate bathroom. If the member lives in the facility, we suggest working with local authorities and the University/College to assess protocol. Here are some things to consider: 
    • Do you have the ability to provide a “sick room” and separate bathroom for the individual?
    • Is there a safer alternative (ex. member goes home; university is providing housing for those that have tested positive)?
    • Do we have active cleaning and disinfecting programs in place in order for someone to remain in the facility? 
  • Should the coronavirus be present in any facility, the facility needs to be properly decontaminated prior to approved re-entry.
  • Review all contracts and contact your vendors (food service, cleaning, etc.) to understand your obligations and with any concerns or questions regarding scheduling impacts due to COVID-19.
  • Some providers, such as preferred partner Upper Crust, are proactively reaching out with information and guidance. If you have not received similar communication, contact your representative.

If the campus has taken steps to remove students from campus, contact campus officials for clarification and/or direction regarding chapter house facilities. We suggest that all chapters and house corporations follow the directions provided by host institutions.

  • House Corporation officers are responsible for making the decision to close a chapter facility in consultation with the chapter and campus.
  • Determine with campus officials if it is appropriate for students to remain in the facility if classes are cancelled or moved to online platforms. Also determine housing options for students who are not able to return home.
  • If closing the house, work to ensure the safety and security of the facility, referencing seasonal reminders for housing security.
  • If necessary, work to provide students the opportunity to retrieve personal property before returning home.
  • Review rental agreements/contracts and begin to develop a plan for collections and vendors in the event of a long-term closure.
  • Review any relevant or related insurance coverages.
  • Prior to reopening the property, ensure proper cleaning and regular opening procedures.

Contact Rob Caudill with specific concerns and questions.

For more house corporation resources and guidance, visit: 

House Corporation Tools & Resources     1848 Housing Webinars

 SBA Loans

Based on guidance we have received, at this time most House Corporations are not eligible for PPP loans made available by the Small Business Administration. However, we believe that most House Corporations would be eligible for an Emergency Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and associated EIDL grant. If you are interested in this program, applications resumed on June 15, 2020. Visit the SBA COVID-19 page for more information. Additionally, the North American Interfraternity Conference (the Fraternity’s trade association) provides this resource to walk you through the application process. 

 Kitchen Operations & Food Service

CDC: 

Food & Drug Administration (FDA): 

National Restaurant Association: 

Upper Crust Food Services:

 Cleaning Guidelines & Facility Management

 Insurance/Reopening

 

International Fraternity

 International Headquarters Operations

  • The International Headquarters is closed to guests in compliance with orders by the Governor of Kentucky
  • Staff members are either working remotely or in-person and available to assist you during normal business hours (Monday-Friday, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm ET). You can reach any staff member via email or phone at 859-255-1848 (listen for prompts or press * for a directory).
  • We apologize for unavoidable delays in responding to mailed correspondence, sending mailed correspondence and shipping items from the International Headquarters.
  • Staff travel, including in-person Field Secretary visits, has been suspended. Field Secretaries and chapter services staff will conduct virtual visits and coaching for our chapters and colonies until it is safe to resume travel.

 Fraternity Events

Ekklesia

After careful consideration, and after evaluating several alternatives, the Archons recently voted to cancel the in-person 172nd Ekklesia in Phoenix, Arizona. In its place, the Fraternity will conduct the business of the Ekklesia virtually on August 8, 2020. For more information, please visit the Ekklesia event page.

 Volunteer Travel

  • Effective March 20, the Fraternity is temporarily suspending volunteer travel and travel reimbursement. This includes, but is not limited to, Section Chief visits, travel to Pig Dinners and other events, and purchasing travel for the 172nd Ekklesia.
  • We fully encourage and ask Purple Legionnaires to remain connected to their chapters and chapter officers through virtual means – Skype, Zoom, telephone, email, text, etc. Likewise, we ask Section Chiefs to continue to support their chapters, advisors and House Corporations through similar means.
 

Virtual Town Halls

Town Hall for House Corporations:
What's Next?
June 24, 2020
 
Town Hall for House Corporations:
Navigating the COVID-19 Crisis
March 25, 2020
 
Town Hall for Officers & Advisors:
Navigating the COVID-19 Crisis
March 23, 2020
 

Taking Care of Yourself & Your Community

 Be Your Brother's Keeper

In times of uncertainty and recommended social distancing, it is more important now than ever to stay connected, check in on one another and foster a sense of belonging.

  • Keep Regular Contact with Close Friends: Post updates in your GroupMe, Snap group, group text. Play online video games or gamepigeon text games.
  • Reach Out to Those Outside Your Close Circle: Be intentional about asking how your brothers are really doing.
  • Use Video When Possible: Utilize FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, etc. instead of only calls or texts. It’s the next best thing to actual human interaction.
  • Ask the Tough Questions: Dive below the surface – ask how your brothers are handling any loneliness, anxiety or any emotions through this time. Encourage brothers to seek help if needed.
  • Have Meaningful Conversations: Here a few links to help with this: How To Make Close Friendships and How To Connect Deeply Quickly (the title says romantic relationships, but these questions also work for friendships).

 Mental Health Tips

Times of uncertainty and stress can be overwhelming. Consider these tips and resources to help you and others cope with anxiety and stress.

  1. Stay Informed with reliable sources, such as the CDC.
  2. Preserve Daily Routines as much as possible.
  3. Take a Break from social media and news; do not overexpose yourself to too much information.
  4. Maintain a Healthy Diet, engage in regular Exercise, and get enough Sleep.
  5. Take advantage of Outdoor Activities while still maintaining Social Distancing.
  6. Do NOT Isolate! Connect with others through appropriate Social Distancing or Virtual Opportunities.
  7. Practice Gratitude and focus on the Positive. Where your attention goes, your energy flows. 

Mental Health Resources:

 Help Your Community

While many chapters' in-person philanthropy events and community service projects have been canceled, the need for community service and support is greater than ever. We encourage our brothers and chapters to consider new ways to make a positive impact in your local community. Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Donate Blood: The Red Cross is urging healthy Americans to donate blood to prevent a shortage during the coronavirus scare. Organize your brothers to donate and encourage others if they are able. To make an appointment to donate blood, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2726).
  • Become a Virtual Advocate: Advocate for service organizations like Donate Life and The USO on your social media and encourage donation from friends and family.
  • Be My Eyes: This app connects blind and low-vision people with sighted volunteers through a live video call: www.bemyeyes.com.
  • Help with Local Food Distributors: Organizations like Meals on Wheels help deliver meals to senior citizens. You can donate or volunteer here: www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org Check with similar local community organizations like food banks or churches that may have special programs like this.
  • United Way: Check in with your local United Way.

 Working from Home

Phi Gamma Delta has created a list of suggestions to help ease the transition of incorporating office (or classroom) life into home life.

Working from Home Tips

 Additional Resources

 


This is a rapidly evolving situation. The Fraternity will continue to monitor developments and provide updated guidance. Contact us with questions.