Under what circumstances can we meet in person as a Junior Civitan club?

 First, your club should only meet if your school (if applicable) and the governing authorities in your state/province/city allow for it to do so.  Next, your club advisor(s) should be aware and obey any restrictions pertaining to gatherings of people and plan accordingly.  In addition, it is the responsibility of club advisor(s) to be aware of and understand the level of transmission of COVID-19 in their community.  For example, if an outbreak of COVID-19 has been declared in your area or there has been a rise of cases in your city, perhaps it’s better to delay meeting until cases decrease.  Overall, clubs should adhere to any laws or restrictions in place in their schools and communities, and the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control.       

More information from the CDC can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/index.html

If and when our club decides to meet again, what are some best practices we might want to consider and integrate into our functions?

The following is not a comprehensive list.  This situation is evolving so it’s important you keep referring to experts like the CDC and your school and state/local health officers, but consider these:

  • Encourage members to wash their hands.
  • Clean and disinfect any surfaces that are touched frequently.
  • Move your meeting location to an outside venue, where social distancing rules can be more easily followed and there is fresh air.
  • Adhere to the “6 feet apart” rule that is mentioned on the CDC website and followed in restaurants and other businesses.
  • Anyone with underlying health conditions should consider foregoing in-person meetings and being involved in a different way. Can the club offer a virtual meeting from time to time to ensure these members can still be a part of the group?
  • Remind club members to stay home if they feel ill or have been exposed to COVID-19.
  • Encourage members to safe-check temperature before attending a meeting or event.
  • Exclude food/food service. If food is crucial to your meeting, ask members to bring their own meal, or make sure the food is served individually in boxed or bagged portions. 
  • Exclude water stations, coffee stations, shared condiments, and shared coffee/tea pots.
  • Wear masks.
  • Provide hand sanitizer.
  • Forego passing around shared items.
  • Avoid gathering people at the front of the room as one group to be recognized (no group pictures, no pin ceremony, etc).
  • Avoid person to person contact of any kind (for example handshakes, high fives and hugging).
  • Club advisor(s) need to assess the situation in their communities and act accordingly. Consider putting together a written plan as to who is responsible for bringing supplies, sanitizer, meeting items, etc. to ensure that these precautions are carried out properly.  In addition, if your club is a community based club and meets at a third-party facility, talk to the owners/managers about their overall COVID-19 plan and ensure it fits the guidelines issued by the CDC and your local authorities. 
  • Develop a reporting procedure if a member of your club is found to have COVID-19 and that member has attended club meetings or functions.


What should we absolutely not do?                 

  • Meet inside nursing homes, senior centers or facilities that serve people with intellectual and developmental disabilities
  • Come to a club meeting if you have any symptoms or if you’ve been in contact within 14 days of anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19
  • Go against your state/local/provincial guidelines because you have already put a deposit down on your meeting space, or some sort of commitment related to a meeting, etc.


Who should ultimately make the decision about my club’s activities?         

A club’s board has the ultimate authority to make decisions for their club, however for a school based Junior Civitan club, this decision will be made for them by their schools and school districts. For our community based clubs, the club board should work closely alongside their sponsoring Civitan club and club advisor to decide whether the group should meet in-person.  It’s up to an individual member to choose to participate in those efforts, at their own risk.  Again, overall, the board and individual members should refer to the guidance and rules of their schools, governing authorities, the CDC and their local health officers to help them make these decisions.

If a club’s leadership holds meetings or allows members to gather in a way that is contrary to the state or local laws/ordinances, and a member who attended that gathering ends up being diagnosed with COVID-19, the club leadership will potentially be liable for the illness or death of the member.  Overall, even though some areas have allowed business to open/gatherings to happen, club leaders should act conservatively to protect the health and well being of their members.


Does this guidance apply to the service projects or fundraising activities of our club? 

Yes.  A club should conduct service projects and fundraising activities that follow the guidelines of the CDC and the local authorities in their respective communities.  An example of a fundraising activity that could be executed during this time with little person-to-person contact and adherence to CDC guidelines might be a plant sale. An example of a fundraising activity that may need to be replaced or delayed during this time because it would be challenging to follow CDC guidelines would be an in-person spaghetti dinner or pancake breakfast. 


As we plan to meet again, what else do we need to be thinking about?

 It’s important to stay up to date on the latest information related to COVID-19 in order to make the best decisions for yourself and the club.  It’s also important to stay open to the possibilities of incorporating new ideas as to how to meet and when to meet as a club.  This will be essential as you try to appeal to the tolerance of risk of each club member during this time.  Some of your members may feel absolutely comfortable with meeting in person, while others may not.  Understanding the needs of those around us and caring for one another like we would care for ourselves are two values that are showcased in the Civitan Creed.  The decisions of a club should demonstrate these values during this time.


Overall, in reference to the possibility of clubs meeting in-person, please refer to the following website for information on COVID-19: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html