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COVID-19 Updates

Sigma Alpha Epsilon is monitoring the impact of COVID-19 on our chapters, universities and communities. We recognize that our university partners may be canceling in-person classes, limiting large gatherings and other steps which effectively close their campuses. 

We are committed to supporting our members, chapters, and house corporations as we all adapt to the ever-changing situation. Below you will find recommendations and information regarding key chapter operations, spring events, House Corporation considerations and the  Fraternity’s summer events.

News from HQ

What you should know

Information from this section is credited to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For more information, please visit Coronavirus.gov.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (cdc.gov), on February 11, 2020 the World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease that is causing the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, first identified in Wuhan, China. The new name of this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease.

There are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild upper- respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused be a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans. The name of this disease was selected following the World Health Organization (WHO) best practice external icon for naming of new human infectious diseases.

Person-to-person spread

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?
  • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
  • Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How easily the virus spreads

How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some affected geographic areas.

  • Take everyday preventive actions to stay healthy.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures.
  • Stay informed. CDC’s COVID-19 Situation Summary will be updated regularly as information becomes available.

Chapter Operations & Housing Corporation Recommendations
Chapter Meetings
  • Follow the recommendations made by your educational institution on regular gatherings for all registered student organizations. This includes postponing or moving chapter meetings to a virtual setting.
  • If your school recommends canceling all in-person meetings/gatherings, please contact your Chapter Development Team Member so they are aware of the status of your campus. We recommend continuing to meet virtually and using free software such as Google Hangouts. We also recommend reading this article that highlights the best way to engage remote meetings.
Chapter Support/Staff Visits
  • Your Chapter Development Team Member should be your first point of contact for any questions. Chapters which have not yet been visited will receive a virtual visit using Google Hangouts. 
Recruitment/Initiation
  • Most chapters are likely to have completed their spring recruitment at this point and have initiated their candidates for membership. 
  • For those that have not, they should continue plans to host their recruitment, report members, and conduct the subsequent initiation ceremony within 96 hours of bid acceptance.  Initiations should only be postponed if the University recommends canceling any student meetings or gatherings. 
  • Any recommendations made by your institution for the health and safety of students should be followed. 
  • Be sure that your chapter reports members within the 96 hour timeframe. 
  • If you have questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact your Chapter Development Team member for support.
Chapter Programming & Events
  • Follow the recommendations made by your educational institution regarding large gatherings and events for student organizations.
  • If your school recommends canceling all in-person meetings/gatherings, Chapter-sponsored events such as social events, brotherhood events, and philanthropy events should be considered non-essential.
  • Consult with your Chapter Development Team Member 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. 
Chapter Finances
  • Dues: Whether you are affected by a campus closure or not, dues collection should continue as planned. If your chapter is affected by a campus closure, consider prorating dues, but be sure to collect enough to pay fixed expenses (Spring invoice, house-related costs, etc).
  • Billing: Payments to the Fraternity, including the Spring Invoice, continue to be owed as planned. Eminent Treasurers should consult with Membership and Records in regards to the payment of the Spring Invoice if it has not yet been paid. Late fees will not be assessed until April 15. The Fraternity will work with chapters and colonies impacted by campus closures.
Chapter Awards Competition

The deadline for nominations for awards by Province Archons and Chapter Development Team Members remains March 16, 2020. Chapters will be contacted by the end of March with the application links to apply for Awards. Contact Educational Programs if your campus closure impacts your ability to complete your awards packet.

We understand that house corporations will have questions and concerns about the potential spread of Coronavirus and the best way to handle 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 of 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.
  • Individuals should not be quarantined in a chapter house, nor would it be allowed if there was a known case of the coronavirus. Local authorities will be in the best position to provide guidance as to where members should/could be quarantined.
  • 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 address  any concerns regarding scheduling impacts due to COVID-19.

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.
  • 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.

The Fraternity has cancelled the following events:

  • Central Emerging Leaders Academy (March 27-28)
  • Southern Emerging Leaders Academy (April 3-4)

The Fraternity currently plans to continue hosting all summer events as detailed below:


Frequently Asked Questions

The following chart is designed to assist you in understanding potential college/university actions and the appropriate chapter response. If your college/university takes actions other than what is listed below, contact your chapter advisor and collegiate chapter supervisor for assistance.

COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY ACTION
COVID-19 STATUS SAE CHAPTER ACTION


College/University bans groups meetings



No COVID-19 cases present on campus

Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter meetings and activities cancelled in conjunction with the timeline specified by the college/university.

Presumed positive COVID-19 cases present on campus

Consider following recommendations in this guide.
College/University moves to online courses

No COVID-19 cases present on campus

Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter meetings and activities cancelled in conjunction with the timeline specified by the college/university.

Presumed positive COVID-19 cases present on campus

Consider following recommendations in this guide.

College/University closes student housing
No COVID-19 cases present on campus

Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter meetings and activities cancelled in conjunction with the timeline specified by the college/university.

Presumed positive COVID-19 cases present on campus

Consider following recommendations in this guide. 
College/University closes

(i.e. cancelling classes, limiting operations to essential personnel)

No COVID-19 cases present on campus
Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter meetings and activities cancelled in conjunction with the timeline specified by the college/university.
Presumed positive COVID-19 cases present on campus 

If your university takes preventative action that requires your chapter to cancel meetings or activities, contact your chapter advisor and collegiate chapter supervisor. These volunteers will help you assess your chapter calendar to identify if events need to be cancelled or rescheduled based on the action taken by your university. Only essential chapter business needs to be completed this academic year.

Essential chapter business for the remainder of the academic year includes:

  • Approving chapter budget for the 2020-21 academic year
  • Meet Virtually
  • Payment of Spring Invoice

You can conduct chapter business virtually.

This will depend on how much and what business your chapter still needs to conduct at the time that meetings and activities are cancelled. For example, if you have already presented your chapter budget and simply need to vote this may be best conducted via email. Conversely, if your Eminent Treasurer needs to present the budget this might be better accomplished via web conference. Work with your chapter advisor and Chapter Development Team Member to determine the best option for your chapter in the event that activities and meetings are cancelled.

Members returning from study abroad should follow guidance from the college/university’s study abroad office regarding returning to campus.

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