The Coronavirus Update web page offers answers to some frequently asked questions, and chapter advisors, district officers, and Theta staff are also resources for you.
The overall health and wellness of our members deserves our utmost care and attention. We want you to know that Kappa Alpha Theta headquarters is closely monitoring the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), on communities and campuses across the continent. This impact—and the reactions to it—are evolving on a rapid basis.
(Last updated May 19, 2020)
The overall health and wellness of our members deserves our utmost care and attention. The effect of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), on communities and campuses across the continent continues to evolve on an hour-by-hour—sometimes moment-to-moment—basis.
As we practice social distancing or experience shelter-in-place or lockdown mandates, Kappa Alpha Theta’s staff and workforce is taking advantage of technology to operate remotely and continue to support our members and chapters.
This page (and the attached document, which is printable) offers answers to some frequently asked questions, and chapter advisors, district officers, and Theta staff are also resources for you. Even as we cope with disruptions to our daily lives, we can take care of ourselves and one another.
Our primary priorities for college members are for you to keep yourselves healthy (both physically and mentally), transition to remote learning which we know is a major source of stress, and to maintain your sense of sisterhood. However, we know there some essential business that cannot wait. We’ve granted blanket approval for college chapters to be able to operate virtually and during times that work for them. Essential chapter business may include things like:
If your chapter has new members to initiate—whether or not your school has imposed restrictions on meetings—please contact Madison Cannon, assistant director of collegiate services.
This will depend on how much and what business your chapter still needs to conduct. Votes may be most easily conducted via email, Survey Monkey, Google Forms, etc. Conversely, discussions might be better accomplished via web conference. Work with your chapter advisors and college district director to determine the best option for your chapter if activities and meetings are cancelled.
There are several online platforms that allow large groups to meet. Chapters have had success with Zoom, Vimeo, Twitch, and Microsoft Teams. While all platforms seem to offer a free base-level experience, you may need to upgrade if you anticipate having more than 100 participants or are meeting for a longer period of time. Your campus may also provide some free resources for online gatherings.
As we continue to navigate this ever-changing situation, the Fraternity Housing Corporation (FHC) wanted to touch base to let you know that we are looking at and thinking about multiple scenarios for this fall. The one thing we know is that we must prioritize our members’ health and safety. We know you and your members have many questions about housing. For the time being, we are planning on opening our Theta houses, but we will adapt our plans as circumstances change.
Each house will likely face a different scenario, depending on university and state COVID-19 strategies. While we have quite a few internal scenarios we have addressed, we will be waiting to hear what your university plans to do in the fall so that we are well-informed before making any changes or decisions that could impact housing. For now, if you have a room license for next academic year or if you will be signing one, please plan on moving in as anticipated.
UPDATE, May 19: FHC has prepared its housing safety plan for the fall of 2020.
While we don’t know what the long-term human, environmental, and economic effect of COVID-19 will be, we do know that campuses have closed, workplaces have shuttered, and conventions have been postponed. We also know that our top priority is the health and well-bring of our sisters. Accordingly, Grand Convention is postponed until 2022. Postponing until next year would have resulted in back-to-back Conventions—in 2021 and 2022—which is not financially feasible for most college and alumnae chapters, or for Theta as a whole. And the potential long-term effects of travel restrictions and the health concerns of gathering hundreds of Thetas in ballrooms and meeting rooms make the idea of staging a Convention worthy of Kappa Alpha Theta in 2021 unrealistic.
Those who registered for Grand Convention 2020 have been contacted individually.
We have posted an FAQ on the Grand Convention website to address further Grand Convention questions.
This feels like an extraordinary time, and your family, your Theta sisters, or yourself may need help coping with ongoing uncertainty as campuses and communities take steps to prevent the further spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This blog provides several resources to navigate your emotional wellness during this time. Active Minds is also providing webinars and live chats (registration required).
Here are more resources for you:
If your event must be cancelled altogether, we recommend contacting your donors/supporters asking if they would be willing to allow your chapter to give their donations/ticket sales/apparel purchases/etc. directly to the charity.
If you can postpone your event instead of cancelling it, contact your donors/supporters to let them know that the event is postponed because of COVID-19 concerns. If you cannot establish a definite future date for the event, let your donors/supporters know that you’ll be in touch when you have rescheduled.
Consider pivoting the campaign by organizing an online fundraiser for the charitable organization. See the next question for ideas on how to still host an online fundraiser. You may also contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Here are some options to consider:
Chapters may prorate new member dues for the end of this semester or quarter. Please contact your budget district director or Theta staff if your chapter needs help with calculating a prorated amount. New members who cannot be initiated this spring should not be charged an initiation fee.
UPDATE: If new members have already paid their initiation fees, you can decide to refund them now and re-bill in the fall, or simply carry over until the fall. New members will not also be charged a per capita fee in the fall. New member dues for this term should not be cancelled completely. If your chapter votes to prorate/refund dues, this applies to new members as well. If you have questions regarding how your new members or recently initiated members should be billed, please reach out to your budget district director.
If an event a chapter has budgeted for must be cancelled, it’s possible the chapter will have excess funds at the end of the year. Fraternity staff is currently revising the year-end discretionary form to increase the discretionary portion chapters are allowed to retain for the year ending June 30, 2020. This will allow for excess funds to be used for an activity in the fall. Chapters within FHC's Facility Management Program (FMP) do not have a surplus calculation and will continue to be able to retain ALL funds they have at year-end.
If a chapter would like to refund a portion of dues in lieu of retaining excess funds, they have the option of voting to refund a prorated portion of chapter dues for this academic year. Chapters are encouraged to vote on this refund and issue this refund only after all member payments have been made. Please ask that your members continue to keep their Billhighway accounts current. Theta staff is currently working with Billhighway on steps needed to process refunds for those chapters that choose this option. More information will be available in the coming weeks.
UPDATE: We are working with Billhighway to provide the easiest way for your chapter to accomplish prorating and refunding, if you feel it is warranted. Within the next few days, you will receive Billhighway instructions to assist you in how to cancel fees or issue credits to refund a portion to those that have paid in full. We continue to advise, but not require, that your chapter wait until May or June to create refunds, if any. Your chapter may still be receiving invoices for past expenses or ongoing expenses that need to be paid. You may also still be required to pay for facility utilities and wages, even if your facility is closed. It is important that you continue to pay invoices in a timely manner. And as we mentioned in our last communication, remember that your chapter will likely incur expenses in the fall before fall dues are paid.
Yes! We believe that the sorority experience is more relevant than ever right now. Young women across the country are seeking opportunities to feel a part of community, to have a positive impact on their communities, and to build connections that will last a lifetime. Theta is poised to offer this experience to so many.
Recruitment may not look the same as it has in the past. Theta and all of our peer organizations are considering many different options for recruitment. Those range from operating a primary recruitment as normal as possible to an entirely virtual recruitment. As our new normal continues to take shape, we are working hard to develop resources that will help you navigate these changes.
The National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) has recently published a report from the Recruitment Contingencies Task Force, which was appointed in early April to develop tools and resources to help college Panhellenics plan for fall 2020 recruitment. Here are the resources they have developed:
Kappa Alpha Theta supports the changes to NPC policies, unanimous agreements, and best practices.
If your college or university is considering changing your recruitment style, please contact your recruitment and Panhellenic district director (RPDD) immediately. You can find her information in the chapter portal.
Due to all the unknowns surrounding recruitment and our members' ability to return to campus, we ask that all potential new member references be submitted using the online form.