Rotary monitors the coronavirus impact

Rotary is closely monitoring the pandemic of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, and continuously assessing the potential impact on Rotary operations, events, and members.

Your health and safety are always our top priorities. Look below for information on Rotary activities that may be affected. We will update this page as new information becomes available.

In the near term, Rotary International recommends that districts and Rotary and Rotaract clubs meet virtually, cancel, or postpone meetings and events following the advice of national and local health officials.

Rotary encourages members and their families to take precautions to protect themselves from contracting the virus by: washing your hands often and thoroughly, putting distance between yourself and others if COVID-19 is spreading in your community, and staying home if you are sick.

Rotary International Convention

We regret to announce that the Rotary International Convention, scheduled for 6-10 June 2020 in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, has been canceled due to the ongoing threat of COVID-19.

As the virus continues to spread rapidly around the world, we made the difficult decision to cancel our annual convention to protect the health and safety of our members, staff, attendees, and the local Honolulu community. Learn more.

Other major Rotary events

To protect the health of all involved, Rotary has canceled the presidential conferences scheduled for 28 March at UNESCO in Paris, France, and for 9 May at the Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, Italy. People who registered will receive an email from the organizers with additional information and details about refunds.

Club and district meetings

In the near term, Rotary International recommends that districts and Rotary and Rotaract clubs meet virtually, cancel or postpone meetings or events following the advice of national and local health officials. Please continue to follow the guidelines set by the World Health Organization and your national, regional, or local health authorities to protect your health and safety. If feasible, conduct meetings online or by phone.

Closely examine your personal circumstances, including any health issues, when you consider travel and participation in events.

Rotary leadership, committees, RI secretariat

The RI Board of Directors and The Rotary Foundation Trustees meetings will take place remotely via webinar rather than in-person.

All Rotary committees scheduled to take place at Rotary International headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA, in March and April have been canceled. If feasible, committees may choose to hold virtual meetings. All events scheduled to take place at the Evanston headquarters in March and April have been cancelled or postponed.

All RI staff travel, both international and domestic, has also been canceled through 30 April. RI staff at Evanston headquarters and all of Rotary’s global offices are practicing social distancing by working from home until least 30 March.

Rotary Youth Exchange

Contact your partner district in areas where COVID-19 has been detected to confirm specific precautions that students hosted in their area should take. All districts, as well as students and their parents, should look at the guidelines issued by their embassies or consular offices, international public health agencies like the World Health Organization, and local health authorities for the latest and most relevant information.

If your district is a host district, consider whether student trips or local activities could expose participants to an increased risk or to challenges returning home. You may consider canceling or postponing nonessential travel.

If a student’s parent or guardian is concerned about their health or safety in any placement, including in those areas affected by an outbreak, work with your partner districts to consider an alternative placement, if possible. Parents may also choose to remove their child from the program.

Rotary Peace Fellowships and other programs

For peace fellows: Countries listed as Level 3 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been added to Rotary’s travel ban list, and all nonessential travel to, from, or through those countries is restricted for Rotary staff and fellows. Use discretion if you plan to travel to or through Level 2 countries. Fellows currently in a country experiencing the spread of COVID-19 are advised to follow the recommendations of your host university and the country’s national health agencies.

For first-year fellows preparing for your applied field experience, we recommend you consider options in your study country and have an alternate plan in place in case travel is restricted further. Beyond health and safety concerns, we do not want fellows to be subject to quarantines or have challenges returning to the country where you study because of your field experience travel. You can contact your staff specialist with specific questions about how Rotary’s policy may affect your field experience planning.

For Interact and Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA): Consider whether planned events, trips, or local activities could expose young people to an increased risk, and consider canceling or postponing nonessential travel or large gatherings.

Follow the guidance of schools for any closures or delayed start times that may affect school-based program participants. Discuss how they can stay engaged and safe until school resumes. Talk with parents or guardians about their child’s health and safety and what Rotary clubs and districts are doing to minimize the exposure and impact for participants in Rotary activities and events.

Participants in Rotary Friendship Exchanges, and Rotary Action Groups and their affiliated chapters should follow recommendations from the World Health Organization and the host region’s national, regional, or local health authorities when considering whether to cancel or postpone events, meetings, or activities.

Districts organizing international programs such as Rotary Friendship Exchanges and New Generations Service Exchanges could expose participants to an increased risk. Organizers should follow the guidelines set by the World Health Organization and the national, regional, or local health authorities of participating districts when considering whether to cancel or postpone planned trips or activities.

Rotary-funded travel

Rotary International and the Foundation recommend that Rotary-funded grant recipients, Rotary Youth Exchange participants, Rotary Peace Fellows, or other Rotary-funded travelers follow the guidelines set by the World Health Organization and your national, regional, or local health authorities to protect your health and safety.

Review and share the Rotary travel ban list with clubs and districts to confirm whether grant-funded travel is permitted. Direct any additional questions about Rotary-funded travel to your appropriate program officer.

Author: Eric Hichman

Joined Rotary 07-13-05, PHF+2, President Rotary E Club of Arizona 2019-2020, 2015-2016 & 2016-2017, Past Secretary Rotary E Club of Arizona 2014-2015, Past President Santa Ana North 2011-2012, Past Secretary Santa Ana North 2010-2011,

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