Page Last Updated: April 1, 2020
Advisor Communication Archives
Below, Please find an archived timeline of all messages sent to all advisors registered for the 2020 State Leadership & Skills Conference. New messages will be updated here as they become available. Please check back frequently for updates.
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Hotel Refunds Available For All Chapters- April 1
Sent: April 1 at 8:00am
We hope you and your loved ones are healthy and safe. Our thoughts are with everyone in our SkillsUSA Georgia family during this unprecedented health crisis.
Over the past two weeks we have worked tirelessly to shift gears and develop the SkillsUSA Georgia Online Championships. Simultaneously, we continued working with the HPN Global, Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau and area hotels to determine potential lodging reimbursements.
We are thrilled to share that all our hotel partners have agreed to fully refund schools who paid for rooms at the 2020 SkillsUSA Georgia State Leadership and Skills Conference (SLSC).
We are continuing to work on the processes in which you will receive these refunds and will keep you up to date as each hotel finalizes their plans. Please keep in mind that each hotel has laid off the majority of staff, and the Omni has completely shut down indefinitely. Thus, there will be a delay in the refund process. The one thing we do know is that each school will receive the refund. From there, the school will be responsible for refunding individual students.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigated this process for the first time in our organization’s history. Conference registration fees originally paid to attend the conference will cover participation in the online championships. Guidelines for the online championships will be released soon.
Like schools and organizations across the country, we’ve had to adapt our competition to accommodate these current challenges, but we’re proud of this outcome and believe it will still be a fulfilling experience for everyone. Our members have put in a lot of hard work and long hours preparing to compete. We look forward to hosting more than 120 online contests and announcing our state champions May 11!
SkillsUSA Georgia Executive Director
The SkillsUSA Georgia Board of Directors
SkillsUSA Georgia Announces the Online Championships-March 25
Sent: March 25 at 4:00PM
On March 12, we made the extremely difficult decision to stop and postpone our State Leadership and Skills Conference as the situation around the coronavirus (COVID-19) rapidly escalated on the day our event began. This was enormously disappointing and frustrating for our members, partners, volunteers and staff. We immediately got to work to figure out how to navigate this uncharted territory and develop a new plan for running state events that is a fair, efficient process in which students can demonstrate their skills and earn the title of state champion.
SKILLSUSA GEORGIA ONLINE CHAMPIONSHIPS
We are thrilled to announce the SkillsUSA Georgia Online Championships! We created this virtual competition to meet the needs of our extraordinary circumstances and times as a result of COVID-19 and to comply with state government and agency limits of mass gatherings.
SkillsUSA Georgia is committed to providing a competition experience to our membership. We have worked closely with technical committee members, as well as business and industry partners to ensure that our members have an opportunity to showcase their skills.
SkillsUSA Georgia Online Championships will be facilitated within one of the three models:
Virtual Contest: Virtual contests will be used for contests that have to interact with a panel of judges. Virtual contests will closely resemble what the on-site contest would have looked like.
Project Submission: For contests that are presentations, projects, portfolios, and displays, Technical Standards will be modified to a digital submission format and uploaded to SkillsUSA Georgia. Many presentations will become video and essay submissions. Portfolios will need to be created into a portable document format (PDF). Projects that follow specific prompts will be released and need to be submitted within the time outlined.
Online Exam: Comprehensive exams will be administered that follow the contests’ standards and competencies outlined in the Technical Standards. These exams are being prepared and written by Technical Committees who would have facilitated them on-site contest. Preparation guides will not be available for contest exams. Exams will only cover what is written in the technical standards.
TIMELINE & RESULTS
The SkillsUSA Georgia Online Championships will be held:
April 1: Project submission guidelines will be released
April 27-May 6: Online Exam Window
May 1: Project Submission Deadline
May 4: Virtual Contest Window
May 11: State Champions Announcement Released, NLSC Registration Opens
May 20: NLSC Registration Deadline
Top three placements for each contest will be posted online and state champions will receive medallions via mail. SkillsUSA Georgia will not be releasing individual scores this year for contestants. State gold medalists will be qualified to participate in the 2020 SkillsUSA Championships at the National Leadership and Skills Conference. We will be working with advisors to ensure all conference registrants receive an SLSC 2020 T-shirt.
The health and safety of our members is always our highest priority, and we are thrilled to be able to offer online championships and ensure our hard-working members will still have the opportunity to compete for the recognition they deserve. Conference registration fees originally paid to attend the conference will cover participation in the online championships. Meanwhile, we continue to work with the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau and area hotels to recoup as many lodging funds as possible, and we are looking into options for potential lodging reimbursements.
For a full list of online contests, or for more information about the new SkillsUSA Georgia Online Championships, please download our comprehensive guide below:
SLSC Update-March 17
Sent: March 17 at 4:00PM
Dear SkillsUSA Georgia students, teachers, administrators, parents and partners,
Last week on March 12, SkillsUSA Georgia made the difficult decision to halt the 2020 SkillsUSA Georgia State Leadership and Skills Conference (SLSC). This decision was made with heavy hearts and a lot of emotion after the situation around COVID-19 began rapidly escalating the day our largest event of the year began.
The decision to stop and postpone the SkillsUSA Georgia SLSC was an extremely difficult decision made in counsel with the Georgia Department of Education; the SkillsUSA Georgia Board of Directors; the SkillsUSA national office, their board and event management experts; and evolving information and public directives surrounding COVID-19.
Our hope was to hold our event with adjustments to ensure the safety of members as we closely monitored the situation and provided multiple safeguards and social distancing, always keeping in mind the health of all conference participants. However, the rapidly escalating situation made the continuation of this event feel unsafe. Based on emerging state and federal guidance and after consulting SkillsUSA’s national leadership team and their event management experts, the decision was made to halt the event. Members were asked to collect belongings, board their buses and return home. We understand this was enormously frustrating and disappointing, but it was the best solution to maintain the safety of students, which is always our highest priority.
Also, as you can imagine running a large state conference is an expensive undertaking. Serving thousands of members at a conference requires many contracts booked months in advance for conference space, hotel space, catering and more. SkillsUSA Georgia was required to pay all conference vendors prior to the start of our event. All conference registration fees we received were therefore already spent before the event began. We are now working with all vendors to review contracts and recoup any funds if possible. We are still gathering information, and we do not have an answer about conference registration refunds at this time. Please know that it is our priority to be completely transparent in terms of finances and any potential refunds once we can determine that information.
As for hotel cancellations and refunds, we again have a fluid, challenging situation. Our SkillsUSA Georgia hotel contract obligations stand whether the event is held or not. This was true whether we cancelled two weeks ago or on Thursday. SkillsUSA Georgia is working with legal counsel to begin conversations with conference hotels on how to proceed with an appropriate course of action that is fair for all parties. The conference hotels are working with their corporate headquarters to determine their response to our members who are seeking refunds.
The SkillsUSA national headquarters is working closely with SkillsUSA Georgia to determine how to support students and provide a safe competition opportunity for all 2020 Georgia state contestants. SkillsUSA Georgia will announce a new plan for running state events that provides our hard-working members with the opportunities for recognition they deserve. Our goal is to develop a fair, efficient process in which students can demonstrate their skills and earn the title of state champion. Alternative ways to evaluate and recognize student work might include teleconferencing, YouTube and Google Drive for students to complete and submit work to be judged. In addition, some events may require a set of state judges to visit schools or contest sites around the state and evaluate students’ work. Once named, our state gold medalists will then be qualified to attend the 2020 SkillsUSA Championships. SkillsUSA is currently looking at all options for national events, which could also include postponement or virtual events. Further plans for the national championships are expected to be announced in April.
Since the COVID-19 situation erupted, we have all been in uncharted territory and no one can predict how this situation will continue to evolve over the next few weeks. This is a national health crisis — truly a global health crisis — and that means it is much bigger than SkillsUSA Georgia and our organization. We will all be required to exercise patience and understanding as we work to resolve many issues.
While we have a whole timeline of specific events that led up to our final decision to cancel the state conference, the main message we wish to convey today is a sincere apology to everyone who was inconvenienced or disappointed by this decision. We will continue to work hard to come up with the best possible solutions and will communicate those out to all stakeholders in the coming weeks. Please watch for updates. Your state leadership team, contest organizers and partners appreciate your help and support through this crisis.
SkillsUSA Georgia Executive Director
The SkillsUSA Georgia Board
SLSC Postponement-March 12
Sent: March 12 at 12:34PM
To our SkillsUSA schools and teachers,
In light of the current health issues and concerns resulting from the coronavirus (COVID-19) and with support of State Superintendent Richard Woods, SkillsUSA Georgia has made the difficult decision to postpone our 2020 state conference and all of its associated events. All Career Expo events will be cancelled after 4PM today, Thursday, March 12, 2020. While a variety of factors influenced this decision, be assured that the health and safety of our students and stakeholders is always our primary concern.
We realize the disappointment this will cause for so many of our dedicated students and teachers who worked hard throughout the year to get to this event. However, we also know that same dedication and work ethic — as well as so many other positive traits gained through SkillsUSA involvement — will help all of us weather this temporary storm and emerge stronger when this crisis inevitably clears.
Please remain connected with us on our state's website and on social media for more updates as they emerge and as we develop more specific responses and future plans to help offset the negative effects of this unprecedented occurrence. At this time, please work with your local school system to secure your travel back to your school.
Thank you for everything you do and for your continued support,
SLSC Skeleton Plan-March 11
Sent: March 11 at 11:14PM
To our SkillsUSA Georgia schools and teachers,
First and foremost, thank you for your continued support of SkillsUSA Georgia. Our greatest desire is to serve our members and ensure that they receive an educational experience that will allow them to develop into career ready students. We are at the cusp of our pinnacle event for most members, the State Leadership and Skills Conference. While we remain steadfast in our goal to serve our members a quality educational experience, please be assured that the health and safety of our students and stakeholders is our primary concern.
With that objective in mind, we have adjusted the conference schedule and provided protocols in light of the current health issues and concerns resulting from the coronavirus (COVID-19).
SkillsUSA Georgia will practice social distancing by:
Instituting a “no hand-shake” policy
Making the Opening General Session attendance optional
Altering the “Meet the Candidate” portion of the conference so that candidates only deliver speeches during delegate session (no face-to-face campaigning)
Canceling our Election 2020 workshops
Canceling our Friday night dance
Making the Award Sessions attendance optional
All sessions will be streamed online at www.skillsusageorgia.org
Winners names will be listed on the website by Sunday and medallions will be available for pick-up at the Omni conference headquarters immediately following the close of the sessions or mailed to the schools within two weeks along with any related prizes before the end of the school year.
All of these actions have been taken to reduce the attendee to attendee contact during the event and yet provide an environment in which students are able to demonstrate their skill development through first-class competitions.
In addition, SkillsUSA Georgia is encouraging the following protocols among all attendees:
Frequent handwashing with soap and water
Using hand sanitizer between handwashes
Covering sneezes and coughs with facial tissues and then disposing
Seeking treatment when symptomatic
Remaining at home if exhibiting flu-like symptoms
Immediately quarantine if symptoms arise
We realize your school’s participation may be guided by decisions from your district, school administrator or parents, and, consequently, not every school may be able to attend this year’s event. Should your school decide to cancel their hotel reservations, you will still be responsible for room and tax charges for both nights. As previously stated in our conference registration materials, there is a no cancellation policy for the conference. We are unable to offer refunds for cancellations. Understanding that some competitors may not attend, we will allow a once-time exception to the penalty policy regarding missing teammates, as long as full teams were registered.
In the meantime, please know that we are cautiously working to the best of our ability to hold a productive, safe and inspiring conference for all of our attendees. We have made these conference related decisions based on the information to date provided by Governor Kemp and the Georgia Department of Public Health. We also recognize that this is an evolving situation, so we encourage all attendees to continue monitoring our website, conference app, social media and other official communications for updates as they develop.
The SkillsUSA national organization is also evaluating the situation daily, and they will make any decisions about the 2020 National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Ky., at a later date.
Thank you for everything you do and for your continued support,
SkillsUSA Georgia State Office
The Countdown Begins-March 10
Sent: March 10 at 8:54PM
36 Hours until Georgia’s Showcase of Skilled Trades Education
The office moved into the Georgia World Congress Center today in anticipation of SkillsUSA Georgia’s 2020 State Leadership & Skills Conference – Georgia’s showcase of skilled trades education. More than 3,000 students have prepared for an entire year to prove they have what it takes to thrive with the workplace, personal and technical skilled to not only be employable, but promotable. In just 36 hours, registration begins and we wanted to provide you one final update before you arrive on-site.
The safety and well-being of our members, partners, volunteers and staff is always our top priority. We plan to continue monitoring any infectious disease situation, in conjunction with our national office and the Georgia Department of Education and Public Health.
At this time, Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH) and Governor Kemp do not recommend canceling mass gatherings. At this time the SkillsUSA Georgia State Leadership and Skills Conference will continue as planned with the following guidelines.
The safety and well-being of all conference guests remains our top priority, therefore we are taking the following specific actions to ensure the health and safety of all guests:
Our host site, the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC), is stepping up its already stringent cleaning and disinfecting of public areas (escalator and stair railings, bathrooms, etc.).
GWCC has installed additional hand sanitizing stations throughout the building.
We are implementing a no-hand-shake zone throughout the event. Handshakes will be replaced with fist bumps, elbow bumps, etc.
Those contests that would normally require a handshake or similar interaction will be asked to refrain from physical contact – points will not be deducted.
We ask that all conference guests wash their hands often and utilize hand sanitizer stations frequently.
All guests that are or have recently been sick are asked to refrain from attending conference out of an abundance of caution.
SkillsUSA Georgia will not provide any refunds (per our standard cancellation policy). This policy includes registration and hotel charges.
We look forward to seeing you and your students at the Georgia World Congress Center for SkillsUSA Georgia’s State Leadership & Skills Conference.