Rotary Zones 25B/29 issue COVID-19 considerations before resuming in-person meetings
As shelter-in-place guidance changes and businesses begin to re-open, we are drawn to considering returning to live Rotary meetings.  The leadership of Rotary Zones 25B/29 is offering some considerations for returning to live meetings.  
 
Zone leadership states "We must base our decisions on the health and safety of our members, while maintaining compliance with government and health regulations. COVID-19 will be part of our Rotary planning until a proper prevention or vaccine is readily available."
 
It is acknowledged that the diversity of Rotary clubs, and the communities and social standards in which we work, makes a standard directive impossible.  Instead, Clubs must consider their own opportunities and challenges, and make a decision that ensures health, safety, and compliance with local regulations.     
 
It is recommendend to take a three step approach in decision-making when considering a return to live meetings.  The first step is to survey club membership, then develop a decision tree, and finally to write and communicate a plan.   
 
In surveying the membership, it is important to ask if the current virtual meetings are acknowledging the needs of club members, if there is an option for extended virtual meetings, and if there some club business that requires in-person meetings. If the time is not right at the moment to resume in-person meetings, it still may be suitable to begin the planning process for an eventual return to in-person meetings. 
 
When developing a decision tree, club leaders must assess the risks and benefit of returning to in-person meetings by carefully reviewing the reasons for, and risks associated with, in-person meetings and decide if this is the best course of action at this time.  Additionally, it is possible to conduct hybrid meetings, combining in-person with live streaming, for those club members who cannot safely return to group settings or who prefer not to return to group activities at this time.   
 
It is also essential to establish the "rules of engagement" for in-person meetings.  These rules will be based on state and local guidelines, and may be found though your local health department.  It will be important for club leadership to proactively address the fact act that handshakes, hugs, kisses, singing, sharing items at the table will increase the likelihood of COVID-19 spread.  Club members should be proactive, and committed to staying home if they feel ill and notifying leadership if they become ill.   
 
Club leadership must also develop and communicate a clear plan for addressing COVID-19.  The plan should include recommended procedures, specify that attendance at in-person meetings is voluntary, address any potential liability issues, and establish a process for follow-up and adjustment as information changes.  
 
Please click here to read the complete guidance document.
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