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March 31, 2020

An Important Update Regarding the 2020 National Speech & Debate Tournament

After weeks of careful consideration, conversations with federal, state, and local authorities, as well as the local hosts, we are sad to announce that the National Speech & Debate Tournament will not be hosted in Albuquerque, NM this year due to health concerns from coronavirus (COVID-19). We’re disappointed to have to take this step, but the health and safety of our students, coaches, parents, and volunteers must come first. We are grateful to Trey Smith and the rest of the Albuquerque Local Host Committee for all of the hard work they’ve done to prepare for a tournament this summer, and we look forward to the opportunity to bring the event to Albuquerque in the near future.

During times of crisis, the National Tournament’s mission is even more essential. Speech and debate provides comfort and strength to students. The National Tournament’s platform allows students to share their stories and speak up on the issues they care about, and that platform cannot be abandoned. We remain dedicated to connecting, supporting, and inspiring a diverse community committed to empowering students through speech and debate. That mission leads us to the decision to elevate student voices this year through an online National Tournament.

We know the National Tournament is an important capstone experience to the speech and debate season for many coaches and competitors. Many of our high school seniors have seen their final chances to compete unexpectedly canceled. We understand how disappointed many seniors are, and finding closure for their high school speech and debate careers is very important to us. As such, we are also exploring the possibility of a Senior Open event, where all member seniors who have not qualified to the National Tournament could participate one last time.

We also will recognize our teacher and student members for all of their achievements this year. More information about these online celebrations, the online National Tournament, and the potential Senior Open event will be released in the coming days. Information on canceling existing hotel reservations and other logistics will be added to our website by the end of the week. We understand this is not the National Tournament you expected, but we’re excited to move forward and spotlight the hard work of our students and teachers this year.

March 30, 2020

Updates on your membership benefits for April

First, member benefits typically delivered via mail (membership certificates and seals) have been on hold the last two weeks (as of March 30). If your school added members or your students earned degrees on March 13 or later, you likely have not received those items. This hold will continue at least through the month of April, as the majority of schools are closed and many items in our last mailing were returned. If you need a specific item by a certain date, please contact us at info@speechanddebate.org to see if it’s possible for us to send it, as most of our staff are working remotely.

Second, as you navigate online practices and virtual classrooms, we want to put as many tools at your disposal as possible. We have given all current member schools access to the Resource Package through the end of our fiscal year in July 2020. Active coaches and students on your roster can also access any Resource Package resource. For an overview of what you can access, click here or scan the Resource Table based on Access Level.

PS The most updated district checklist for submitting district results and awards information is here: https://www.speechanddebate.org/district-chair-deadlines/

March 16, 2020

Thank you for honoring our current suspension of district competition in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. As we all navigate an environment where health and safety challenge our ability to host events, we must accept that interim processes and policies may not be ideal, but are necessary.

Here is a list of current expectations we can set until further notice.

 

1. In light of the recent CDC recommendation to avoid in-person events with 50 or more people for the next 8 weeks, in-person district tournaments are effectively suspended for the remainder of the 19-20 school year.
2. Districts have the option to use an application process to select remaining qualifiers or to consider virtual competition. Chairs can use this form to establish their intent moving forward as a District Committee.
3. Key updated deadlines:
    • Deadline to inform the national office how you expect to move forward with district tournaments: April 1, 2020
    • Submission of district application process for selecting national tournament qualifiers to the national office for approval: April 15, 2020 (if applicable)
    • Deadline to hold a virtual district tournament event: May 10, 2020 (if applicable)
    • Deadline to submit qualifiers for all districts, including World Schools teams and judges: May 11, 2020
    • New National Tournament entry deadline for all schools: May 15, 2020
    • NOTE: Whatever process is used moving forward will not impact results already obtained for prior completed portions of the district tournament series for any district. 

Please keep in mind that everything outlined in this communication remains subject to change, including whether the National Speech and Debate Tournament will move forward in 2020. We provide these options as a way to keep the opportunity open for students until a final decision is made.

March 13, 2020

The NSDA is strongly recommending suspending all Big Questions events until further notice due to health concerns related to the coronavirus, and will not sanction or provide funding for any events held from now until we communicate otherwise.

This message applies to any applicants who have yet to hold all or a portion of their BQ events in 2020.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, public health officials recommend social distancing and restrictions on community gathering. At this time, to ensure the safety and well-being of your coaches, students, judges, and communities, we strongly recommend that you not hold any upcoming Big Questions events. The NSDA will not sanction any events held from now until we have communicated otherwise. Please communicate this change to your BQ participants as soon as possible. Please continue to monitor this page for updates.

If you have already held and completed your event, the NSDA will continue to review materials.

Thank you for your understanding and adaptation to this change in policy to protect you and others.

Tova Hettinger

March 12, 2020

The NSDA is strongly recommending suspending all NSDA District Qualifying events until further notice due to health concerns related to the coronavirus, and will not sanction any events held from now until we communicate otherwise.

I’d like to thank many of you for taking time to speak with me about your district tournaments in light of the coronavirus upsurge in the last few days. Your perspectives have been of tremendous value. This message applies to any district yet to hold all or a portion of its qualifying event in 2020.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, public health officials recommend social distancing and restrictions on community gathering. At this time, to ensure the safety and well-being of your coaches, students, judges, and communities, we strongly recommend that you not hold any upcoming district tournament. The NSDA will not sanction any events held from now until we have communicated otherwise. Please communicate this change to your district participants as soon as possible.

If any version of the National Speech and Debate Tournament is held, the national office will recommend methods for alternative qualification. If you have already determined qualifiers through the normal process, please be alert for further updates concerning the District and National series.

Our previous message about taking precautions when planning travel and electing insurance still applies. Please continue to monitor this page for updates.

Thank you for your understanding and adaptation to this change in policy to protect you and others.

J. Scott Wunn

March 9, 2020

The NSDA is closely monitoring the situation with coronavirus (COVID-19) and staying up-to-date with the latest recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). With the NSDA National Tournament coming up in June, and many district tournaments still taking place, we know many of our members are concerned, and as always, the health and safety of our members is our primary concern.

All plans for the National Speech & Debate Tournament in Albuquerque, NM on June 14-19, 2020, remain on track. We will also be taking appropriate steps at the tournament based on CDC recommendations to keep participants healthy and safe. Any future updates or changes will be communicated directly to NSDA members, as well as posted on this page.

All NSDA members are also encouraged to stay up-to-date with news and recommendations from the CDC:

www.cdc.gov/coronavirus

As a precaution, schools are encouraged to purchase travel insurance when booking airline tickets for the National Tournament and to carefully read the cancellation policies of the hotels in which they reserve rooms online. The NSDA is working with tournament block hotels to ensure as much flexibility as possible, but teams are responsible for their own reservations and understanding the cancellation policies associated with each property.

Helpful Resources

Tournament Health Flyer

CDC Coronavirus Info

CDC Fact Sheet

CDC Stop The Spread Flyer

For anyone planning to attend a tournament, including Nationals, there are a few easy steps you can take to do your part:

  • DO stay home if you’re sick
  • DO wash your hands often – for at least 20 seconds using soap and water
  • DO practice good illness etiquette – cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw it in the trash
  • DON’T shake hands – we’d suggest an “air high-five” instead!
  • DON’T discriminate – concerns over an illness should not be used as an excuse to discriminate against anyone, and as per our harrassment and discrimination policy, discriminatory behavior will not be tolerated at NSDA events
  • DON’T touch your face
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