FarmHouse Statement on COVID-19

March 11, 2020

Brothers, Alumni, and Volunteers,

Over the past month, we have learned about COVID-19 and the impact it is having within our communities. On behalf of our International Executive Board and Headquarters staff, please know that FarmHouse is committed to supporting each of our members and chapters during this time. This email is intended to provide updates on FarmHouse policy and also provide recommendations for chapters moving forward. 

We anticipate that given the campuses who have already moved to virtual classes (e.g., Ohio State, Purdue, Minnesota, Washington State) that almost all campuses will make the decision to move to virtual classes for at least three weeks. They likely will then reevaluate given the situation at that time. We believe it is likely that all meetings will be restricted, including student organization activities and meetings.

Given this context, the FarmHouse International Executive Board and Executive Director have decided that all new members are to be initiated immediately, which is no later than noon on Wednesday, March 18. New member education may continue virtually or in-person (if allowed by your campus) and MUST be reported with details to Kahlin McKeown. Chapters should consider an adjusted Ritual to allow just new members and essential brothers to participate.

We are providing the following guidance on other aspects of chapter operations as we continue to see the impact of the COVID-19 virus:

Chapter Support & Events

  • First and foremost, follow recommendations made by your university about events and student organization meetings
  • Consider making a list of all planned events (Founders’ Day, philanthropies, etc.) and the financial impact of cancelling now or later (deposits, collected revenues, etc.). It may be worth looking at contracts or other financial obligations to check if the chapter would be able to cancel now without penalty.

Facilities & Housing 

  • Begin to develop a plan, should the institution move to virtual classes, to ensure your living space and chapter members are safe, secure, and adequately accommodated
  • Review cleaning procedures, including who cleans, what they clean with and how often. Consider investing in outside additional cleaning services more frequently. 
  • Consider restricting house access to members only, and eliminate extra events and meetings in the chapter facility. 
  • Consider moving away from buffet style meals. If this is not possible, limit those who serve and tightly outline procedures (wear gloves, wash hands, etc.). 
  • If you do continue food service, think about your supply for the next few weeks and what you might need to stock up on. 

FarmHouse Staff and Official Events

  • We have made the decision to pull all consultant staff from chapter visits this semester until further notice. We will continue to monitor this situation and provide in-person visits should this be possible. Staff are still able to provide chapter support remotely, and should be utilized in helping to address concerns related to COVID-19 and campus closures.
  • All scheduled events will continue as planned until further notice.  We will continue to monitor the situation daily and make decisions about Power of Seven, To Be and Become, and Conclave as information becomes available.  We will send out notifications about any changes to chapters as soon as we are able to do so. 

Action Items

  • Schedule initiation and report to Kahlin via this form. 
  • Review any upcoming events as a leadership team using criteria given tonight and make decisions on cancelling.
  • Update HQ with ANY changes in campus class schedule, organization requirements, etc. 
  • Report any confirmed case of COVID-19 on campus or in chapter to Kahlin.

Please know that we are continuing to monitor this situation closely and making decisions as information becomes available. We will continue to be in contact as we make decisions that might impact chapters, students, and alumni. If you have questions, please reach out to Kahlin McKeown, Assistant Executive Director for Student Engagement, by email at kahlin@farmhouse.org.

Fraternally,

Christian Wiggins
Chief Executive Officer