ATO: COVID-19 Protocol
Like much of the world, we have been dramatically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. With new information coming in daily as well as states beginning to reopen, the best way to keep you up to date with how ATO is navigating day to day operations now and into the fall, this webpage would be helpful. We will be updating as new information becomes available.
Notice about the National Headquarters
As of Tuesday, March 24th the state of Indiana has issued a stay-at-home order in response to COVID-19. This means that the physical offices of the Fraternity will be closed, and the National Staff will be working from home until the stay-at-home order is modified or lifted. National Staff have been in continuous communication with undergraduate members, alumni, and University officials to continue to support ATO chapters. Staff members can still be reached at their contact information found on the staff directory.
ATO Undergraduates and Chapter Officers and BOT Chairmen
The National Fraternity will continue to provide ongoing virtual education resources as well as informational updates. We have held three live video virtual conferences, with the third focusing on recruitment and retention. Additional virtual conferences are anticipated and chapter officers will be alerted prior to those conferences. The virtual conferences that have already been held can be accessed below.
In addition, informational updates from CEO Wynn Smiley have been sent to all chapter officers and BOT chairmen https://ato.org/update-officers/
General updates from Wynn to alumni have also been sent out. Here is the latest link
If you have not been receiving email updates and would like to, you can update your contact information here: https://ato.org/alumni/
Information about ATO Congress:
Congress is scheduled to occur in Louisville, KY on August 5-9. We are monitoring the progress of the pandemic and taking governmental guidance about large gatherings into account. We recommend that attendees wait to purchase flights until closer to the event itself. We will inform ATOs if plans change for Congress.
Best Practices for Chapters:
Maintaining brotherhood during a time of social distancing is more important than ever. Be sure that you are taking time to connect with your Brothers. Programs like Zoom, Skype and Google Hangouts offer free video chat services to help stay connected. Be intentional about maintaining connections particularly with the newest members of ATO, and keeping them engaged during the time that they would otherwise be getting to know their new brothers. Even simple check-ins by text go a long way.
Some suggested brotherhood events:
- Chapter trivia nights
- Online video game tournaments
- Chapter workout challenge
- Virtual “Good of the Order”
VIRTUAL SENIOR SENDOFFS/REAFFIRMATION CEREMONIES
The National Fraternity encourages all chapters to engage in a virtual Senior Sendoff as the spring semester wraps up. Resources and guidance can be found here.
If you have questions, check in with your Leadership Consultant.
NEW MEMBER EDUCATION
Continuing to instruct the men who joined ATO in spring 2020 on the values and principles of the Fraternity remains important. ATO has created a virtual resource for membership education which can be found here https://ato.org/mem-ed/ Having new members engage this program will help keep them connected to the chapter and better ensure that they have a strong knowledge of the history and workings of the Fraternity.
New Members who joined in the spring 2020 semester should be initiated within 48 hours of returning to campus in the fall.
ATO chapters have always been leaders in innovative recruitment strategies. For most Colleges and Universities this summer and fall, recruitment will not be “business as usual”. Adapting to guidelines put in place by local and University authorities may necessitate a change in the way chapters identify and recruit new members. Engaging potential new members early through digital means will become important. Recruitment Chairmen should be planning recruitment now, and communicating the plan with the rest of the Chapter. Below are some resources to help plan:
Immediate Growth Recommendations for the Entire Fraternity/Sorority Industry to Weather the Storm of COVID-19 Implications: http://blog.phiredup.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Endure.pdf
Phired Up Digital Recruitment Resource: http://blog.phiredup.com/digitalrecruitment/
ATO is proud to continue its partnership with Talkspace to offer free online counseling for three months to undergraduate members of ATO. Social distancing can easily lead to social isolation which can take a serious toll on mental and physical health, particularly when combined with other factors. Social distancing also limits access to in-person mental health resources like campus counseling centers.
Undergraduate ATOs, you can utilize this promotion by going to https://www.talkspace.com and signing up using the email you have on file with ATO.
Members who continue to reside in ATO chapter houses while their institution has gone virtual should be conscious that they are following any restrictions or guidelines from local government or University officials, as well as continuing to follow ATO Health & Safety policy. Members should ensure that they are able to follow social distancing guidelines while living in the chapter house.
The National Fraternity through Richmond Property Group is developing a list of recommendations for chapter house preparation in anticipate of fall classes. We will be reaching out to all ATO Housing Corporation chairmen within the next few weeks to discuss what preparations we believe will be recommended/required for the fall.
For information about cleaning ATO facilities, click this link.
Additional Resources for Members:
CDC Website about Coronavirus: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
WHO website about Coronavirus: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
Department of Education changes regarding student loans: https://studentaid.gov/announcements-events/coronavirus
Uhaul offering 30 days of free storage for college students: https://www.uhaul.com/Articles/About/20625/College-Students-U-Haul-Offers-30-Days-Free-Self-Storage-Amid-Coronavirus-Outbreak/
Hertz Car Rental has lowered the minimum age to 18 to rent to help people get home https://www.hertz.com/rentacar/misc/index.jsp?targetPage=travel_advisory.jsp
Coursera offering free courses during COVID-19 crisis: https://blog.coursera.org/coursera-together-free-online-learning-during-covid-19/
For more information regarding the Coronavirus pandemic and COVID-19 please visit the CDC website: CDC Website