Rotary monitors the coronavirus impact
Rotary is closely monitoring the pandemic of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, and continuously assessing the potential impact on Rotary operations, events, and members.
Your health and safety are always our top priorities. Look below for information on Rotary activities that may be affected. We will update this page as new information becomes available.
In the near term, Rotary International recommends that districts and Rotary and Rotaract clubs meet virtually, cancel, or postpone meetings and events following the advice of national and local health officials.
Rotary encourages members and their families to take precautions to protect themselves from contracting the virus by: washing your hands often and thoroughly, putting distance between yourself and others if COVID-19 is spreading in your community, and staying home if you are sick.
Read how members are using ingenuity and flexibility to help people affected by coronavirus and to stay connected.
- Rotary International Convention
- Other major Rotary events
- Club and district meetings
- Rotary leadership, committees, RI secretariat
- Rotary Youth Exchange
- Rotary Peace Fellowships and other programs
- Rotary-funded travel
As people of action, Rotary members want to find ways to respond to COVID-19, which is now a global pandemic, and to help people affected by it. The Rotary Foundation offers several options that Rotarians can use to help care for and protect people in their own communities and others around the world.
Districts can use district grant funds to support local activities, like purchasing thermometers, protective medical gear, or other items to donate to medical professionals who need them. Districts can also use contingency funds from an open district grant or repurpose previously planned activities as a COVID-19 response. As districts prepare to submit new district grant applications for 2020-21, we encourage you to designate funds for COVID-19 responses. As a one-time exception, the Foundation will allow expenses related to COVID-19 that were incurred since 15 March 2020 to be reimbursed through 2020-21 district grants.
Disaster Response Grants and Rotary’s Disaster Response Fund
Rotary’s disaster response grants provide a fast and effective way to respond to local events. The Rotary Foundation recently added COVID-19 projects to its list of eligible activities for these grants. Each district can apply for one grant (of up to $25,000) to address COVID-19, depending on the availability of funds. Disaster response grants are funded by the Rotary Disaster Response Fund to help districts around the world respond to disasters. The fund accepts online contributions and DDF. Districts may designate that their DDF contributions to the Disaster Response Fund be used exclusively for COVID-19 grant activities. Cash contributions will be used for general disaster response, including response to COVID-19.
Global grants remain an excellent way to make a transformative impact in a community. If medical equipment is needed in order to respond effectively to COVID-19, global grants can help pay for these items. The Foundation is waiving the 30 percent foreign financing requirement for any new global grant that addresses COVID-19. Note that these grants still require both a host and international partner.
For additional information, contact your regional grants officer.
Using the vast infrastructure developed to identify the poliovirus and deliver vaccination campaigns, the polio eradication program is pitching in to protect the vulnerable from COVID-19, especially in polio-endemic countries. Learn more.
We regret to announce that the Rotary International Convention, scheduled for 6-10 June 2020 in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, has been canceled due to the ongoing threat of COVID-19.
As the virus continues to spread rapidly around the world, we made the difficult decision to cancel our annual convention to protect the health and safety of our members, staff, attendees, and the local Honolulu community. Learn more.
To protect the health of all involved, Rotary has canceled the presidential conferences scheduled for 28 March at UNESCO in Paris, France, and for 9 May at the Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, Italy. People who registered will receive an email from the organizers with additional information and details about refunds.
In the near term, Rotary International recommends that districts and Rotary and Rotaract clubs meet virtually, cancel or postpone meetings or events following the advice of national and local health officials. Please continue to follow the guidelines set by the World Health Organization and your national, regional, or local health authorities to protect your health and safety. If feasible, conduct meetings online or by phone.
Closely examine your personal circumstances, including any health issues, when you consider travel and participation in events.
The RI Board of Directors and The Rotary Foundation Trustees meetings will take place remotely via webinar rather than in-person.
All Rotary committees scheduled to take place at Rotary International headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA, in March and April have been canceled. If feasible, committees may choose to hold virtual meetings. All events scheduled to take place at the Evanston headquarters in March and April have been cancelled or postponed.
All RI staff travel, both international and domestic, has also been canceled through 30 April. RI staff at Evanston headquarters and all of Rotary’s global offices are practicing social distancing by working from home until least 30 March.
Contact your partner district in areas where COVID-19 has been detected to confirm specific precautions that students hosted in their area should take. All districts, as well as students and their parents, should look at the guidelines issued by their embassies or consular offices, international public health agencies like the World Health Organization, and local health authorities for the latest and most relevant information.
If your district is a host district, consider whether student trips or local activities could expose participants to an increased risk or to challenges returning home. You may consider canceling or postponing nonessential travel.
If a student’s parent or guardian is concerned about their health or safety in any placement, including in those areas affected by an outbreak, work with your partner districts to consider an alternative placement, if possible. Parents may also choose to remove their child from the program.
For peace fellows: Countries listed as Level 3 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been added to Rotary’s travel ban list, and all nonessential travel to, from, or through those countries is restricted for Rotary staff and fellows. Use discretion if you plan to travel to or through Level 2 countries. Fellows currently in a country experiencing the spread of COVID-19 are advised to follow the recommendations of your host university and the country’s national health agencies.
For first-year fellows preparing for your applied field experience, we recommend you consider options in your study country and have an alternate plan in place in case travel is restricted further. Beyond health and safety concerns, we do not want fellows to be subject to quarantines or have challenges returning to the country where you study because of your field experience travel. You can contact your staff specialist with specific questions about how Rotary’s policy may affect your field experience planning.
For Interact and Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA): Consider whether planned events, trips, or local activities could expose young people to an increased risk, and consider canceling or postponing nonessential travel or large gatherings.
Follow the guidance of schools for any closures or delayed start times that may affect school-based program participants. Discuss how they can stay engaged and safe until school resumes. Talk with parents or guardians about their child’s health and safety and what Rotary clubs and districts are doing to minimize the exposure and impact for participants in Rotary activities and events.
Participants in Rotary Friendship Exchanges, and Rotary Action Groups and their affiliated chapters should follow recommendations from the World Health Organization and the host region’s national, regional, or local health authorities when considering whether to cancel or postpone events, meetings, or activities.
Districts organizing international programs such as Rotary Friendship Exchanges and New Generations Service Exchanges could expose participants to an increased risk. Organizers should follow the guidelines set by the World Health Organization and the national, regional, or local health authorities of participating districts when considering whether to cancel or postpone planned trips or activities.
Rotary International and the Foundation recommend that Rotary-funded grant recipients, Rotary Youth Exchange participants, Rotary Peace Fellows, or other Rotary-funded travelers follow the guidelines set by the World Health Organization and your national, regional, or local health authorities to protect your health and safety.
Review and share the Rotary travel ban list with clubs and districts to confirm whether grant-funded travel is permitted. Direct any additional questions about Rotary-funded travel to your appropriate program officer.