PO Box 5085, Jersey Shore, PA 17740
  (570) 398-4652
            

PA FBLA Statements on Coronavirus Impacts/Preparation

Published March 30, 2020

Dear FBLA Advisers

THIS IS INFORMATION ONLY; ADVISERS NEED NOT TAKE ANY ADDITIONAL ACTION FOR REFUNDS.

On Thursday night, March 26, the PA FBLA Board of Directors took action to establish the following refund schedule.

Please make sure you carefully read ALL information in this document regarding the policies and procedures that will occur.  It will take a period of time to write and distribute the hundreds of checks necessary.

We all know the uncertainty regarding the return to school.  We do know that teachers are scheduled to return to school on April 7 and 8 for preparation; students are scheduled to return on April 9 (or a date established by the local school system).  We also know those dates are up for review by the Governor based on conditions between now and then.  If schools are continued to be closed beyond April 7 for an extended period of time (even through the rest of the school year), the procedures may be altered.

We are also aware that the President extended social-distancing guidelines to April 30 on Sunday.  How that will impact schools remains to be seen.

This will be the schedule of refund checks/distribution:

Lodging refund checks (will be returned first)
Special fund checks (Hersheypark, Breakfast to Go, etc.)
Registration checks (after it is determined who will and who will not participate in the “alternate-delivery” competitive events program)

A check for each fund will be written to the FBLA chapter/school to the adviser’s attention.  It will be the adviser’s responsibility to make sure it is deposited and refunds issued to the school system AND/OR parent if parents paid the chapter.

As part of the process, there may be ACTION NEEDED by advisers to verify their Statement of Account.

SLC Lodging Refund Policies:
100% Full Refund (for payments received at the state office)

  1. SLC Lodging
  2. SLC Registration for Advisers/Guests/Chaperones
  3. SLC Registration Fees for students scheduled to attend the SLC in a non-competitive role:  example, member at large, region officer, special video contests, voting delegates
  4. SLC Commuter Fees
  5. SLC Breakfast-to-Go Fees
  6. SLC Hersheypark Ticket Fees
  7. SLC Disney on Ice Ticket Fees
  8. SLC Shirt Order Fee
  9. SLC Optional Meal Purchase Fees

100% Full Refund (for special groups)

  1. SLC Exhibitor Fees
  2. SLC Guest Lodging Fees
  3. Other Miscellaneous Fees
  4. Parent Awards Program Ticket Fees (to be returned directly to the parents unless paid by the school system)

Students Competing/Not Competing in the Alternate-delivery Competitive Events System
Later this week, advisers will receive a copy of the SLC Registration as an email attachment.  It will be:  ACTION NEEDED.

Look for additional details what advisers will need to do (it will be time sensitive).

Although I am getting ahead of myself regarding the competitive events (which will come in SLC Alert #75), students who were registered to compete in an “official” competitive event at the SLC will have two options of reimbursement.  I understand that advisers will need to have time to confer with school administration, students, and parents regarding continued participation.  Ultimately, the FBLA adviser will need to identify whether the student will participate or will not participate in the alternate-delivery competitive events system after appropriate discussion in order to determine the level of reimbursement for each student.

$55 Registration Reimbursement (for students) OR
$75 Registration Reimbursement (for students)

A $55 registration fee per student reimbursement will be provided for all students who were officially registered for the SLC AND were scheduled to compete in one of the competitive events (the list is below).  Based on information provided by advisers after consulting with local school administrators and parents, the adviser will be asked to identify “yes or no” for each student for continued participation.  If the answer is “yes” to continued participation, then there will be a $55 registration fee reimbursement.  If the answer is “no” to continued participation in an alternate-delivery competitive events program after being officially registered for the SLC in one of the competitive events listed below, then there will be a $75 registration refund for the student.

PA FBLA’s goal is to return as much money as possible to the local schools/FBLA chapters.  However, there are costs that PA FBLA has incurred that it must cover that is paid by the registration fee. These are costs that are not recoverable or contracted services that have been rendered and paid for.  Examples of those costs include: (1) RLC online testing, (2) State-only events judging, (3) SLC online testing, (4) test writers, (5) judges, (6) SLC-specific software, such as online judging, app, (7) conference supplies, (8) plaques/awards/recognition, (9) and more.  The $85 registration fee does support multiple operational expenses throughout the year.

IMPORTANT:  When the adviser returns the spreadsheet to me with the “yes or no” to continued participation, that is your commitment; that is what will determine registration fee reimbursement.  Please be certain that your answers are correct as no changes to the reimbursement level will be made after advisers have returned the spreadsheet.

Remember:

  1. Information on the alternate-delivery competitive events process will be released either Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning in an ACTION NEEDED email.  Wait for this email to consider the decision-making process.  DO NOT assume everyone agrees to participate.  You will be asked to verify that you have consulted with local school administrators/parents.  DO NOT ASSUME!
  2. The actual spreadsheet with your SLC registration will come to advisers on Thursday and Friday.  Stay tuned.

IF
If ALL Schools Are Closed the Rest of the Year
OR
If Only Some Schools Reopen (and others don’t)
AND
There is NO Alternate-delivery Competitive Events Program,
THEN
all students who were scheduled to participate or dropped out will receive the full $85 registration refund.

Let me emphasize this:  the continued decision to participate in an alternate-delivery competitive events systems is a decision of the local school system and the FBLA advisers.  If the FBLA advisers and local school system say “no,” it is “no.” Period.  I will not negotiate with parents who are asking to allow their child to continue to participate if the school system and/or the adviser says “no.”  If there is an alternate-delivery system, the adviser and an independent proctor will need to be involved.  More on that later.  Again, please be certain that what you return to me is accurate when ACTION IS NEEDED.

Hopefully, you can understand why the registration fees will be returned last until we have a full understanding how we will move forward with the alternate-delivery competitive events process.

“Official” Competitive Events List – “yes or no”
Eligible for $55 refund for yes / $75 for no

  1. 3D Animation
  2. Accounting I
  3. Accounting II
  4. Advertising
  5. Agribusiness
  6. American Enterprise Project
  7. Banking & Financial Systems
  8. Broadcast Journalism
  9. Business Calculations
  10. Business Communication
  11. Business Ethics
  12. Business Financial Plan
  13. Business Law
  14. Business Plan
  15. Client Service
  16. Coding & Programming
  17. Community Service Project
  18. Computer Applications
  19. Computer Game & Simulation Programming
  20. Computer Problem Solving
  21. Cyber Security
  22. Database Design and Applications
  23. Digital Video Production
  24. E-business
  25. Economics
  26. Electronic Career Portfolio
  27. Emerging Business Issues
  28. Entrepreneurship
  29. Future Business Leader
  30. Global Business
  31. Graphic Design
  32. Healthcare Administration
  33. Help Desk
  34. Hospitality Management
  35. Impromptu Speaking
  36. Insurance & Risk Management
  37. Introduction to Business
  38. Introduction to Business Communication
  39. Introduction to Business Presentation
  40. Introduction to Business Procedures
  41. Introduction to FBLA
  42. Introduction to Financial Math
  43. Introduction to Information Technology
  44. Introduction to Parliamentary Procedure
  45. Introduction to Public Speaking
  46. Job Interview
  47. Journalism
  48. Local Chapter Annual Business Report
  49. Management Decision Making
  50. Management Information Systems
  51. Marketing
  52. Mobile Application Development
  53. Network Design
  54. Networking Concepts
  55. Organizational Leadership
  56. Parliamentary Procedure
  57. Partnership with Business
  58. Personal Finance
  59. Political Science
  60. Public Service Announcement
  61. Public Speaking
  62. Publication Design
  63. Sales Presentation
  64. Securities & Investments
  65. Social Media Campaign
  66. Sports & Entertainment Management
  67. Spreadsheet Applications
  68. Website Design
  69. Word Processing

Published March 29, 2020

Dear FBLA Advisers

Hello everyone!  You’ve been on our PA FBLA minds a lot during these last few weeks, and we hope you are all staying safe and healthy during this unprecedented time in our lives.  Knowing that many of you are active with your students via “distance learning” activities, it’s time to look ahead (as best as we can).  This week, March 30-April 3, should have been the final countdown and final preparations to our 69th annual State Leadership Conference, and we were so looking forward to seeing 5000+ FBLA members and advisers from across Pennsylvania, and then . . . . coronavirus became part of our everyday vocabulary.

Three weeks ago, we said everything was full steam ahead with the SLC.
Four days later, we canceled the SLC for the first time in our organization’s history as conditions changed with lightning speed.
For the last two weeks, the growing changes and challenges we are facing in our everyday lives could be staggering and could be overwhelming (if we let it).

Our routines have completely changed, and there’s much uncertainly about how and when we can move about.  Our focus must be on each and every one of us doing our part keep ourselves healthy – and those around us. In the meantime, there our thousands of students waiting for their education to pick up and move forward.  On top of that, there are periodic questions that come to me directly from students about how they can continue participation in our FBLA activities so we know FBLA is on their minds.

FBLA leaders from states across the nation and the FBLA National Center have had several virtual meetings working together, sharing ideas, and doing our best to layout a plan for moving forward.  For your information, at last count, there were at least 30 FBLA states that canceled their state conferences due to the coronavirus health crisis.  Your PA FBLA Board of Directors has met in virtual meetings multiple times to review, finalize, and approve the plans that I will be sharing with you.

This week, March 30 – April 3, 2020 – there will be multiple emails coming your way about the plan(s).  Each email will focus on a single topic.  If you don’t see it in your inbox, check your junk mail/spam folder.  Everything will also be posted in the following area on the main page of the website, and you can check this location; you can have students check this location (please get them used to checking this location); and you can have parents check this location for information.  I will ask you that you impress upon your students the followingyou, the FBLA adviser, are our main point of contact, and all information will go to you first before it is posted on the FBLA websiteYour students need to reach out to you with questions.  Your students need to know that your local system boards of education and administrators and parents will be the ones that give (or not give) approval for additional FBLA participation this year.  We understand your local school systems have many irons in the fire, and you need to understand that they may not be able to give you all the answers you want to hear.

What I can assure you is this:  it’s our plan to make sure your students and your chapter receive the recognition they deserve for the hard work they did this year.  It will not necessarily be on the April timelines we are used to, but we do know that decisions and participation will continue into mid to later May so everyone’s patience and attention to the ACTION NEEDED emails are essential.  Awards and plaques will ultimately be distributed to Pennsylvania chapters and FBLA members.

We will not be posting official statements via social media; it will be sent by email to advisers AND posted on the website.

I really need you to pay attention to the subject line in your emails.  You will see the subject line prefixed with:

SLC Alert #xx – INFO ONLY — …………………
SLC Alert #xx – ACTION NEEDED — ……………

Each email will build upon the others.  The ACTION NEEDED emails will identify specific things you will need to do to move forward, which will include discussions/approvals advisers will need to have with their school administrators.

Among the topics emails you will receive this week (starting Monday morning and continuing all week, but not necessarily in this order):

SLC Refund Policies/Procedures
There will be INFO ONLY emails and ACTION NEEDED emails.

Alternate-delivery Competitive Events Program
There will be INFO ONLY emails and ACTION NEEDED emails.

Alternate-delivery State Officer Election Process
There will be INFO ONLY emails and ACTION NEEDED emails.

Recognition Programs Information (such as BIG 33, NBHS)

National Leadership Conference Information
There will be INFO ONLY emails and ACTION NEEDED emails.

National Programs Recognition (such as BAA, CSA)

State Project Information

Middle-level Information (coming from Michele Sites)

and more . . . .

 Bruce Boncal and the PA FBLA Management Team
The PA FBLA Board of Directors


Published March 13, 2020

Please take time to carefully read this entire document.

On Thursday night, March 12, the PA FBLA Board of Directors met on a conference call to review the events of the last few days after our initial statement on Monday, March 9.  Events moved rapidly in those three days – at lightning-like speed.  Once colleges/universities started to cancel face-to-face instruction and move to remote instruction, dire predictions about the spread of the coronavirus virus came into clear view.  Phone calls and emails arrived indicating schools were no longer permitting field trips.  Major college and professional sporting events began to be canceled.  At least 25 different schools canceled their reservations from Wednesday afternoon through Thursday with at least another 10 considering the move.  Superintendent input from different sources indicated more were to come as schools announced closures to prepare for deep cleaning and staff preparation for distance learning.

A significant event occurred on Thursday with Governor Wolf’s press conference in which he ordered specific mitigation strategies for Montgomery County and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  For the entire Commonwealth, he identified these strategies:

  • The Wolf Administration strongly encourages the suspension of large gatherings, events, conferences of 250 individuals or more.
  • The Wolf Administration discourages individuals from traveling to recreational activities like gyms, movie theaters and shopping malls.
  • The Wolf Administration encourages religious leaders to exercise discretion in order to mitigate the spread of illness.

What’s the end result?  The PA FBLA Board of Directors took action on Thursday night to begin the process of canceling the 2020 State Leadership Conference in Hershey.  We do not expect that the conference will be rescheduled due to the uncertainly of school schedules and the severity of the virus spread.

We realize this is a complete turn from a statement issued just three days earlier when it was “full steam ahead,” but information changed dramatically in those three days.  With careful consideration for the health, safety, and welfare for the SLC conference attendees (and that is our top priority), the Board felt it was necessary to make this decision.  We knew we could offer opportunities for our members to continue participation in competitive events, but it would be a different format on a different time schedule.  More on that will come later in this document.

Our Commitments

We are committed to keeping you informed about events as we know them; keeping you informed about the SLC; and keeping you safe and healthy.  We are committed to providing opportunities for our already SLC registered FBLA members to compete and to lead.

We are committed to refunding as much money as we can to you and your members, but it will take time to sort out financial obligations resulting in the SLC cancellation.  We ask you to be patient while this process begins, and this will most likely continue into May as we conduct negotiations with multiple vendors.  At this point, everything is on hold.  There is no need to fill out any additional refund forms until requested to do so.

If your students participate in the “alternate-delivery” competitive events program, PA FBLA will retain the $85 registration fee.  If your school was already on an “accommodations” plan due to a spring break closure, the fee does not change.

We understand that there are schools closing or getting ready to close shortly as a precaution.  Please, if you can, check your email for details should your school be closed. It will also be posted on the website.  You and your students won’t lose any opportunities.

Here’s an Outline of the “Alternate-Delivery” Competitive Events Plan

A final plan of how we will administer the alternate-delivery competitive events plan (and the timeline) will come to you by Tuesday, March 24, at the latest.  Here’s a sketch of what may happen:

  1. Objective tests will be administered online at your home school (as you did for your RLC).
  2. Certain performance events, such as Public Speaking, will be recorded; posted as “unlisted”; and then judged from the videos posted on YouTube.
  3. Interviews could be conducted via Skype or some other platform.
  4. We have to work out a plan for sequestered events such as Impromptu Speaking, but there are other states who deliver that differently and successfully.

On Thursday, March 12, FBLA leaders from each state across the nation met in conference call to work together and share ideas how we can support each other through these challenges.  You see, this is not unique to Pennsylvania.  There are multiple states across the country who are facing these same decisions as we had to make; there are states that already made the decision or had it made for them.  From the largest state in the Association whose conference was canceled to the smallest state in the Association whose conference was canceled and those in between, it is from each other we will learn and move forward.

On Thursday, March 19, FBLA leaders will meet again in conference call to discuss how each state can administer “alternate-delivery” competitive events to give all students the same opportunities as if they attended the actual SLC.  There are new ideas to be learned, and that’s why I am asking for your patience as we participate in that program before we deliver the “alternate-delivery” plan to you.

Awards will be administered to individuals and teams as we always do (through what we hope will be a virtual awards program), and the Top 4 in each event will earn the right to represent Pennsylvania at this summer’s NLC in Salt Lake City.  The FBLA National Center is adjusting its timelines to give states more time given the challenges each state will face.  The NLC is definitely scheduled, but as we all know conditions will dictate how the National Leadership Conference will be delivered.

State Officer Election Process

This year, your members were to see one of the largest office candidate pools in memory.  An alternate plan for speeches; the ability to interact with candidates; and the election process will be developed, and that topic is one that will be discussed together with other states who already do this.  All candidates will have opportunities to participate.  More to come.

Finally . . .  .

This decision was not an easy one for the management team and members of the Board of Directors, but they realized it is one that had to be made.  This is the first time in 69 years that an SLC had to be canceled, and it will weigh on everyone’s mind for a long time.  It is a decision made with a lot of sadness and a profound feeling of loss of something very important in the lives of our students.

We thank you for your patience as we gear up and plan for a brand new adventure.  Our goal is to do the best possible for you and your members and keep #PennsylaniaProud.

Be safe; stay healthy.  Wash those hands!


Published March 09, 2020

On Sunday night, March 8, the PA FBLA Board of Directors met in conference call to review information that we know (and don’t know).

At this time, we are not planning for any changes in how the SLC moves forward.  It’s full steam ahead with our planning, and we are looking forward to seeing you April 5-8 in Hershey.

With that said, we are in uncharted territory and have not had to deal with any similar type issue during the 68 previous State Leadership Conferences.  We will make any future decisions based on guidance that will come from the Governor’s Office, the PA Department of Education, and the PA Department of Health regarding the coronavirus. The guidance given to school systems at this point includes preventative measures, but it does not mention or suggest that anything be curtailed.  If any specific action needs to occur beyond preventative measures, our PA FBLA Board of Directors will meet to take any necessary action. 

We monitor the following sites:
CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

PA DOH: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx

WHO:  https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

At this point to our knowledge, there are six confirmed cases of coronavirus in Pennsylvania in self-quarantine.  Any talk of cancellation is premature.

Parents and schools always have the option to pull their children at any time within the refund guidelines.  We are currently in the 50% lodging and registration refund period through and including March 22, no later than 11:59 pm.  As we learn of information that may lead to any future decisions, we will communicate that to advisers as soon as we can so that you can communicate with parents. It will then be posted on the PA FBLA website.   I am sure the next two weeks will tell a lot – good or bad.

Refund Policy:  https://www.dropbox.com/s/imgndvvpui2llau/19-20_SLC_Refund_Policy.pdf?dl=0

Refund Application Form:  https://pafbla.wufoo.com/forms/x1ez3taw1yx0s71/

In the meantime, we are bound by the contracts we have signed for hotels, meals, multimedia, and other items that are part of the conference.

Regular information will come from PA FBLA about additional information/preparation. Please refer everyone to the PA FBLA website for “official” statements.

We will get through this, and this too shall pass.

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