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COVID-19 Update

Over recent weeks many campuses have announced an increase of online-focused models of class delivery for the Fall, along with the implementation other social distancing restrictions. Meanwhile, there will be significant barriers to international travel for the foreseeable future. Both these factors will require SOS to adapt many aspects of our usual practices locally at each campus and as a national and international organization.

As we undertake this transition we are working closely with the volunteers who drive our organization to identify and respond to their questions, ideas, and challenges through ongoing discussions and also soliciting feedback through a recently released survey (please complete the survey here by June 12th). 

Our staff team and Board have been working hard to identify and respond to the various operational impacts these changes may have. For instance, to increase the scope of Digital Exam Aids we will need to set up new platforms for hosting greater frequency of webinars; develop new digital marketing campaigns to reach students outside of class-talks and flyer campaigns; and of course adapting our volunteer training to support all aspects of our new operations. Simultaneously, we are seeking new ways to help Chapters maintain a strong sense of community and morale despite not being able to meet in-person. We are developing new e-volunteering programs for Chapters to connect with the students that SOS is supporting globally and working with Chapters on other new ideas being brought forward; we are also in the midst of adapting our National Staff team to best support each aspect of these operations and continue to work in the most agile and cost effective manner we can. 

While we are eager to get underway with welcoming a new cohort of volunteers, we are also mindful of the need to take the time that is required to create a strong foundation for the year ahead, by adapting our organizational systems, staffing structures, and training materials accordingly. With that in mind, we have delayed our usual timelines for the Summer Training of Volunteers and thank all our incoming contributors for their patience and understanding. 

Here is the timeline volunteers can expect for the months ahead:

TIMELINE WHAT’S HAPPENING?
Now – June 26th:

Icebreakers + Transition Meetings

Chapter leads should continue getting to know each other through Virtual Chapter Icebreaker Meetings, and will also be expected to meet 1 on 1 with their predecessors to learn about the basic components of their positions
June 26th:

National Roundtable Livestream/ Webinar
SOS HQ will be hosting a live-stream webinar to introduce all volunteers to our new digital programs, featuring the involvement of student speakers who’ve helped deliver Digital programs for students from their schools
July 1- 31st: 

Online Training + Chapter Goal Setting

Our Departmental-specific training will include updated online training videos, Facebook discussion groups, and departmental specific video calls with experienced volunteers from our National Advisory Committee
August 1st-30th: 

Year Prep & Implementation

Each Chapter will have the month of August to begin implementation of their campaigns and projects while getting ready for the year ahead.

This timeline will allow Chapters to be ready for the Fall semester in the adapted format

That said, we know each Chapter has unique needs. If your team has a need for any specific accommodations or supports (eg. offering summer Exam Aid sessions or adapting other fundraising activities you’ve traditionally offered), please contact the Head Office team directly to discuss further.  

In the meantime, on behalf of everyone at SOS, thank you for your patience, understanding, and adaptability as we all work to navigate these complex and unprecedented times. 

We wish you and all your loved all the very best and looking forward to hearing your ideas, suggestions and questions through the Fall 2020 Planning Survey.

Sincerely,

James Arron
Executive Director
Students Offering Support

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