March 6, 2020
 
Dear Sorors, Rhoers, Philos, and Rhosebuds,
 
We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) outbreak and its potential impact on our employees, staff, members, and affiliates. According to the latest updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ("CDC"), COVID-19 has been detected in approximately 60 countries, including in the United States, with the United States recently seeing its first deaths from the disease.
 
While it is not clear how widespread the impact of COVID-19 will be in the U.S., the CDC has provided guidelines for protecting yourselves and your communities from getting and spreading COVID-19.  These measures include:  
  • Washing your hands frequently with soap and water.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  • Staying home when sick.
  • Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue.
  • Being prepared if your child's school or childcare facility is temporarily dismissed. 
For those considering traveling abroad, the CDC recommends avoiding all nonessential travel to China, Iran, South Korea, and Italy. The CDC also recommends that older adults or those who have chronic medical conditions consider postponing travel to Japan. The CDC also recommends travelers reconsider all cruise ship voyages into or within Asia. Further information about COVID-19 and the most up to date health guidance can be found at the CDC's website, www.cdc.gov, and the U.S. State Department's website, www.Travel.state.gov.  
 
We are aware that there are a number of upcoming events that may be impacted by travel restrictions and recommendations in connection with COVID-19 containment attempts, including the various Regional Conferences and the 58th Biennial Boule. As of today, these events are still taking place as scheduled. However, we are, continuously monitoring the situation and will promptly relay changes, if any. Additionally, we are issuing the following guidelines for the upcoming Regional Conferences:  
  • Persons who are currently sick are advised to stay home and not attend meetings and/or social events until well. 
  • Wash your hands regularly with hot water and soap for at least 20 seconds or more to avoid spreading germs, especially after using the restroom and before and after meals.
  • All are also encouraged to utilize alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol at all events where food and beverages are served. 
  • Sorors are encouraged to avoid openly exposed snacks (such as peanuts, popcorn, sweets, jellybeans, etc.) at hotel convention sites, as well as, sorority events, hospitality suites, and socials. 
  • Sorors who show signs of a fever, excessive coughing and/or sneezing should voluntarily stay home but may be asked to voluntarily quarantine or leave the conference/meeting to protect the safety and wellness of others. 
  • Sorors should practice safe cough and sneeze etiquette and hand hygiene at the entrance to all hotels, convention centers and off-site venues. 
  • To limit exposure, Sorors should refrain from hugging, shaking, and holding hands while at your regional conference. 
  • Sorors traveling should anticipate travel delays for airport screenings and flight and/or registration cancellations from affected areas, and monitor government travel notices for additional information. 
While these measures may seem strict to some, please understand that they are to protect the health and safety of all members and affiliates attending Regional Conferences and the 58th Biennial Boule. We will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 and will advise of any modifications to our plans accordingly.
 
We will continue to share updates with the membership as we assess further impacts of COVID-19 in the upcoming weeks.
 
Finally, we invite you to listen to our archived coronavirus webinar held Thursday, March 5, 2020. The archived webinar provides valuable guidance and is available on the Sorors Only section of the Sorority's national website at SGRho Webinars on Health and Wellness
 
Deborah Catchings-Smith, Board Chair
24th International Grand Basileus
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.
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