On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation. We are in uncharted territory.
As our communities continue to be impacted by the evolving effects of the COVID-19 virus, my first concern is for the health and safety of every Rotarian and their families across District 5630. Considering all the known facts of the COVID-19 virus, I feel the safest place that everyone be is at home. This morning I have made the difficult decision to cancel the upcoming District Conference that was scheduled for May 1-2 in Kearney.
Additionally, Clubs are asking for guidance on how to navigate through this crisis. The health and safety of our members and our community is the highest priority.
Many of our members are in the 60+ demographic, high-risk group which has been asked by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to stay home as much as possible. Let’s all keep in mind the Four Way Test and ask ourselves if our actions, including participation in Rotary events, will be “beneficial to all concerned”. All of us need to practice social distancing—keeping space between ourselves and others and avoiding large groups. Social distancing is essential to slow the spread of the disease and provide time for the community to be better prepared.
Around the world, Rotary clubs and districts are making difficult decisions about their planned activities. In District 5630, some senior centers have asked clubs not to meet in their space until further notice. A number of clubs have made the decision to suspend club meetings until the immediate emergency passes. And yesterday we also canceled the travel to Nigeria for a global grant sponsored by the Minden Rotary club. Additionally, or own District Governor Elect, Bob Taylor is currently in Africa, trying to make his way back to the United States and will likely be self-quarantined at a minimum if he is able to find his way home in the next couple days.
I will be working directly with our District leadership over the coming weeks to navigate through this crisis.
- We can’t tell you how long this situation will continue. I would ask club leadership to consider postponing all gatherings, service projects, fundraisers and possibly meetings – scheduled for the next 2-3 weeks. We and you will monitor the situation and determine next steps.
- Club Presidents are asked to discuss with their club the meetings and events scheduled for the next month and make a plan; please notify me of your intentions, copying Bob Mayber.
- Consider meeting online using free services like ZOOM or FreeConferenceCalling.com. If you would like to use ZOOM please contact me. It will be handled on a first-come basis.
- Please accept the decision of other members on their involvement or attendance at club events. Each must make the decision they feel best for themselves and their families.
- Be aware of and implement CDC guidelines.
- Individuals and communities should familiarize themselves with recommendations to protect themselves and their communities from getting and spreading respiratory illnesses like COVID-19.
- Be aware of the Nebraska Department of Public Health guidelines for COVID-19.
Our communities are looking to us for leadership. Let’s act responsibly and proactively.
We will communicate with you as developments unfold.
If you have questions, please contact me.
Gov. Scott McLaughlin & Tracie