Posted by Rick Taylor on Mar 16, 2020

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 announcement when new information becomes available.

*This story posted by Rotary International

Rotary International Convention

The convention is still scheduled for 6-10 June in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. 

We will watch for developments and follow the recommendations and guidance of the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. State Department, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We are prepared to make adjustments and take all precautions necessary to protect convention attendees.

Other major Rotary events

To protect the health of our members, staff, and travelers, 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 with additional information and details about refunds. 

Club and district meetings

Rotary International recommends that members and participants follow the guidelines set by the World Health Organization and your national, regional, or local health authorities to protect your health and safety. If authorities recommend it, postpone or cancel in-person meetings, or conduct them online or by phone.

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

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

 Participants in Rotary Peace Fellowships, 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 postpone events, meetings, or activities. 

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. 

Rotary-funded travel

Rotary International recommends 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.