As you would all be aware, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is being felt across the world. It may be some months before we return to some form of normality.
This page was created to provide an update on the impact of the pandemic on LETR activities
On Thursday, 26 March 2020, the LETR International Executive Council met (by videoconference) to discuss a number of important issues that had arisen in the past month.
Amongst those points of discussion was the question of whether we (the Council) should publish advice or guidance to LETR Programs about how best to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are living in a rapidly changing environment, with the obvious risk being that any specific advice provided today could well be redundant tomorrow, given the pace of the pandemic and the reactions and responses of governments in the many countries that the Law Enforcement Torch Run operate.
Whilst the council cannot ‘instruct’ programs, we recommend that all LETR activities should now be postponed or cancelled for the foreseeable future. We are heading into uncharted waters with no real understanding or expectation as to when life may return to normal. What we need to ensure is that that we align with the edicts and wishes of Special Olympics and seek to protect both our athletes and ourselves
Even though our normal ways of doing LETR activities are forced to change for the foreseeable future, what doesn’t change is the fact that under normal circumstances our athletes were already some of the most vulnerable and socially isolated members of our communities. It’s incredibly important for us to remember this and realise that the LETR still has an important role to play in keeping people connected, active and healthy.
We simply need to readjust our focus and to look at both what we can do in the current environment and how we can do it. Even the simplest act of communication, reaching out on social media to an athlete or club, can provide a meaningful and much needed point of contact and demonstrate positivity.
STAY SAFE AND WELL
We urge all Torch Runners to do everything they can to stay well. A large proportion of active Torch Runners are employed in law enforcement and will clearly be on the front-line of their agencies’ response to the pandemic.
Please take all steps necessary to protect yourself from infection - we want each and every one of you to be fit and well when the time comes to ramp up our torch run activities.
Please don’t forget about the friendships that you have built through your experiences as a Torch Runner. Stay in touch with other Torch Runners and athletes as best you can - telephone calls, messaging, social media are just some of the means that you could use.
While I have no doubt that SO programs around the globe will be endeavouring to keep athletes engaged and active in the coming months, our challenge to you all is to explore ways in which the LETR can offer support to our Special Olympians at both the personal and club level. How do we encourage athletes to stay active, to stay connected and to reaffirm that we will all get through this? That’s our challenge and we want you all to consider it and to share with us all just what you come up with and what you do. We have an incredible array of social media and communications at our disposal, let’s look at ways of using it.
We are sure that each and every Torch Run program will be developing communication streams to keep their Torch Runners informed and aware of what is going on as well as disseminating information from both individual Special Olympics Programs and Special Olympics International.
Please take the time to read all advice provided to you - the more information you have - the better prepared you will be to deal with this emergency.
The pandemic will pass - the world will return to a state resembling normality - it’s just that no-one can predict when that will be. No matter how long it takes, we will get through it together.
Please keep the athletes in your thoughts and commit to a rapid return to life as a Torch Runner - just as soon as it can safely be done.
We are a team and we will stand together. We are the Torch Run, the Mighty Mighty Torch Run and even in these difficult times, we carry a beacon of hope.
To you and your families, thank you all for everything you do for the community, for the Torch Run, for Special Olympics and for our athletes. Stay safe and keep in touch.
The LETR International Executive Council in conjunction with Special Olympics Maryland, LETR Maryland and Special Olympics International have made the decision to cancel the 2020 LETR International Conference due to the current environment with COVID-19 and the hardships it will place on our LETR & Special Olympics Programs.
Planning is underway for the 2021 Conference which will be held in Chicago
Whilst the conference has been cancelled, we are determined to carry through with as many elements of the agenda as we possibly can.
Nominations will open for the LETR Hall of Fame, John Carion ‘Unsung Hero’ and Council Athletes on April 1 and close on Friday, June 26, 2020 (extended by one month).
The timing and method of announcing the inductees and award winners have yet to be determined.
In Remembrance Tribute and Year in Review submissions will open on April 1 and close on Friday, July 17, 2020.
The IACP Photo Contest will open for submissions on May 1 and close on Friday, May 29, 2020.
We will be working on the best way to showcase the IACP Photo and Year in Review submissions. The In Remembrance Tributes will be placed on the Honor Roll in August.
We will also collate the information received from programs about their 2019 fundraising and awareness activities and publish the results and various award winners later this year.
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Important Due Dates / Mark your Calendar We strongly urge you to mark your calendar with the below important due dates. Observation of all due dates will be the responsibility of the LETR Programs as no additional reminder notices or documentation will be sent to the Programs.
Monday, February 17, 2020 The window for submitting the 2019 LETR Program Year-End Reports commenced on Monday, February 17, 2020.