Egwa Tawa Dee COVID-19 Election Updates
Last Updated: 5/4/2020
Egwa Tawa Dee Lodge of the Order of the Arrow (OA) wants you to be aware of certain changes that have been implemented by your lodge and the OA in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In-Person Elections. All in-person OA unit elections in the Atlanta Area Council, BSA were suspended on March 13, 2020. If your Chapter conducted your unit's OA election prior to March 13, those results have been submitted to the lodge. If your unit was scheduled to have its OA unit election after that date, it will be rescheduled for a later date. In-person elections will not be authorized by the Lodge until such time as public health authorities and the Council have determine that it is safe to do so. Once the Lodge is authorized to begin conducting in-person elections, there will be a 30-day period in which to hold an in-person election in the units that did not hold their election prior to March 13, 2020.
"Virtual Elections." The National Director of the OA has authorized Lodges to conduct virtual Unit elections provided that they are conducted in accordance with specific guidance issued by the National Director and are approved, in advance, by the Council Executive. Egwa Tawa Dee is in the process of developing a plan that will allow Chapters to conduct virtual elections. Once that plan has been approved and tested, your Chapter will notify unit leaders of the units that had not held their election prior to March 13 and offer the Unit the opportunity to hold its 2020 OA election using the virtual format. The unit leader must agree, in writing, to holding a virtual election and it will be in lieu of holding an in-person election.
Eligibility based on camping nights. To be eligible for election as a candidate for membership in the OA, a Scout must meet certain minimum rank requirements and have "have experienced 15 nights of Scout camping while registered with a troop, crew, or ship within the two years immediately prior to the election." Due to the fact that units are not able to camp due to the restrictions now in place, it is possible that a Scout who met the camping requirement in March of this year, may not be eligible when unit elections resume. The Lodge has determined that "Any Scout who had the required 15-nights of camping during the period of January 1 to March 31, 2020 and was otherwise qualified and approved by the unit leader will remain qualified until the end of this year’s in-person election period." If a Scout has been elected as a candidate, they are not affected.
Also, some “virtual camping” events conducted between March 1, 2020 and September 1, 2020, may qualify as short term camping, if they meet all of the following requirements:
- All virtual camping nights should be a direct result of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and be part of a BSA unit-organized unit camping event (i.e., multiple members of the unit are involved and camping simultaneously at remote locations).
- Some form of unit-organized communications should occur either during or immediately following the event.
- All existing youth protection policies and digital safety guidelines should be followed.
- No more than 3 nights of virtual camping are to be credited in any month in which government- or council-imposed COVID-19 restrictions are in place.
Time Limit for Inductions. Normally a Scout has 12 months from the date of their election in which complete induction. However, the National Director of the Order of the Arrow notified lodges that, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, "Candidates that were elected February 1, 2019 through July 1, 2020 will have 24 months from the date of election to complete their ordeal." This change will also apply to adults who were selected in 2019 or 2020 but not inducted. For 2020 candidates, this means that they will have until March 2022 to be inducted. For 2019 candidates, they will have until March 2021 to complete induction. We are in the process of notifying each of these candidates by email of this change but, unfortunately, we do not have contact information for over half of the 2019 candidates. We are asking that you help us with getting the word to all of your 2019 candidates who were not inducted last year.
Scouts Elected in 2019. If a Scout was elected as a candidate in 2019, they are ineligible to have their name appear on a ballot in elections held after March 13, 2020. If a Scout was elected in 2019, and his or her unit held its unit election before March 13, the second election is valid.
2020 Inductions. All inductions scheduled for May 2020 have been canceled. The Induction Weekend scheduled for November 6 – 8, 2020 remains on the calendar and the Lodge leadership is exploring options for a induction weekend in the Fall of this year. However, that will depend on public health authorities and the Council determined that it is safe. We will be notifying all unit leaders and candidates if there are any changes to the schedule. Please be assured that we are determined that every candidate will have the opportunity to be inducted if they want to be a part of our brotherhood of cheerful service.
Adult Nominations. There are no changes to the adult nomination process. Adult nominations will be accepted until the end of the 30 days period after we are able to resume in-person unit elections, or all units in your Chapter with eligible Scouts have completed holding their unit election, whichever is earlier. Please check with your Chapter Adviser using the email address for unit elections shown on https://www.aacegwa.org/chapters/
Lodge & Chapter Activities. The Lodge leadership and many of our Chapters continue to function by holding virtual meetings and events. Please encourage your OA members to participate.
Please share this information with the OA members and candidates in your units and their parents. While we are making every effort to keep them informed, we would appreciate your help in getting the word out.
Yours in Scouting,
Alex Girrard Ryan Girrard Matt Rendahl
Lodge Chief Lodge Adviser Lodge Staff Adviser