Coronavirus (COVID-19) District 56 Update

Latest Updates – 6/8/2020

Posted – 6/8/2020 (from Toastmasters International)

June 8, 2020

Dear Toastmasters,

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has impacted the world as we once knew it. Millions have lost their jobs and are left wondering what’s next. With your help, a brighter future awaits!

If someone you know has lost their job due to the coronavirus, share the Interview Success webinar series with them so that they can land that next job opening. Then, use the Online Prospect Flier to invite them, your friends, family, and members of your community to attend your club’s next meeting.

Membership building not only helps your club, but it helps new members build a brighter future for themselves. Whether they are looking to re-enter the job force or simply to advance their career, Toastmasters can help teach them the skills to find success. The safe and supportive environment Toastmasters clubs provide is also a great way for people practicing social distancing to safely connect with others and have fun from the comforts of their own home.

As part of the membership building program for individuals, you can earn a reward for your recruiting efforts! Add five new members before June 30 for a unique blue pin, 10 members for a burgundy pin, and 15 members for a 25% discount on your next purchase from the Toastmasters Online Store.

Stay safe and help prospective members meet their goals from the safety of their own home!


Club and Member Support Team
Toastmasters International

Posted – 4/16/2020 (from Toastmasters International)

April 15, 2020

Dear Toastmasters,

Toastmasters International is aware of the significant impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on individuals and communities worldwide. Our top priority is always the health and safety of our members, their families, our staff, and trusted partners. With this in mind, the Board of Directors has voted to cancel the 2020 Toastmasters International Convention that was to be held in Paris, France.

If you had your heart set on Paris, no need to worry because we will be there next year! The Board has voted to hold the 2021 International Convention in Paris, France, thereby moving the 2022 International Convention to Nashville, Tennessee. It is important to the Board of Directors to uphold our commitment to host the event in Europe and we look forward to communicating details about the convention soon. Thank you for your patience while the Board made these difficult, yet important, decisions. We are excited and look forward to welcoming you to Paris, France, in 2021.

While the 2020 International Convention has been cancelled, there are several events that will still be conducted. We are currently working on alternative methods to conduct District Leader Training, Candidate Showcase, the Annual Business Meeting, and the World Championship of Public Speaking®. We are so excited to invite you to join us as we explore new ways of conducting these important events!

In the next few days, a separate email will be sent to those who registered for the 2020 International Convention with additional information regarding their registration fees.

Updates will be shared on our FAQ page as they become available. If you have any additional questions regarding the 2020 Toastmasters International Convention, please contact [email protected].

We thank you for your continued support.

Best Regards,

Deepak Menon
Richard E. PeckDaniel Rex
Deepak Menon, DTM
2019–2020 International President
Richard E. Peck, DTM
2019–2020 International President-Elect
Daniel Rex
Chief Executive Officer

Posted – 4/14/2020 (from District 56 Director Kathy Kest)

Play message from District 56 Director Kathy Kest below:

Posted – 3/26/2020 (from Toastmasters International)

March 25, 2020

Dear District Leaders and Club Officers,

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues to have a large impact on the everyday lives of our members around the world. The Board of Directors has worked to respond to the needs of our members and clubs as the situation has developed and have made decisions such as allowing clubs to hold their meetings entirely online and extending the April renewals due date to April 30, 2020.

Another concern shared is that due to COVID-19, some members may not be able to complete the final roles required to achieve their Advanced Leader Silver (ALS) or Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) awards prior to the end of the traditional education program on June 30, 2020. During the recent Board of Directors’ meeting, Board members discussed solutions to support our members who are striving to achieve these final awards by year-end and have provided the following additional allowances:

  • Members may submit for their ALS or DTM award in the traditional program through June 30, 2021. Therefore, any work completed, such as a club sponsor/mentor role, now through the end of next program year can be used as credit toward the requirements for either of these two awards. Please note, no other awards in the traditional education program will be accepted beyond June 30, 2020.
  • The ALS award will not count for credit toward the education goals in the Distinguished Club Program for the 2020–2021 program year, but the DTM award, whether achieved through Pathways or the traditional education program, will count for credit.
  • The club coach provision will be extended through June 30, 2021. If a club coach’s role is successfully completed on June 30, 2020 or June 30, 2021, that club coach can use that credit toward both the club support and the District leadership requirements for either an ALS or a DTM award in the traditional program or a DTM award in Pathways.

Toastmasters International acknowledges and appreciates all the hard work and effort our members are putting forth each and every day. We hope these additional extensions assist you and your club members in achieving your education goals and developing your communication and leadership skills. Remind your club members to regularly visit the COVID-19 webpage for the latest updates from Toastmasters and email [email protected] if you have any questions.


Deepak Menon
International President
Toastmasters International
Daniel Rex
Chief Executive Officer
Toastmasters International

Posted – 3/16/2020 (from Toastmasters International)

Dear District Leader,

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues to impact Toastmasters around the world, and we understand the challenge this poses for many as the April dues renewal period approaches. To provide added support to our members and clubs, the Board of Directors has extended the April renewals due date to April 30, 2020.
This extension has the following impacts:

  1. Effective immediately, the paid membership benefits for all currently paid members and clubs has been extended to April 30, 2020. This includes continued access to Club Central for club officers and District Central for District leaders through April 30, 2020.
  2. Effective immediately, clubs that meet the April renewal requirement by April 30, 2020 will receive Distinguished Club Program credit for submission of
    on-time dues renewals for this period.
  3. Effective April 1, 2020, clubs that have not yet met the April renewal requirement will display on the Distinguished Performance Reports as unpaid but will be considered in good standing until April 30,2020. Clubs will no longer be in good standing on May 1, 2020, unless dues have been paid.
  4. Members in good standing of clubs in good standing are eligible to compete in speech contests. During the month of April, the online tools that support checking speech contest eligibility may not display accurately for members due to this exception. As such, please ensure that contestants have fulfilled the education requirements (if any) to participate in the speech contest. If so, you may allow them to compete.
  5. Club Presidents and Vice Presidents Education in good standing of clubs in good standing are eligible to vote during the online District Council meeting. 
    The list request tools in District Central generate a membership list and club officer list for your District. During the month of April, these lists may show members in good standing of clubs in good standing as unpaid. As such, when you pull the club officer list from District Central to identify Club Presidents and Vice Presidents Education who are eligible to vote, do not remove unpaid members. On May 1, you will revert to removing the unpaid members from the list to determine those Club Presidents and Vice Presidents Education eligible to vote.
  6. If your members who have not paid by April 1 are concerned that they will lose access to Base Camp, please know that their access will continue until April 30. Please note that members are not receiving a free month of membership, but rather an option to delay payment of their six month renewal dues until the end of April without an interruption of benefits.

These changes will be communicated to club officers on March 17, 2020.
For future updates and to review all previous updates related to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), please go to


Deepak Menon
International President
Toastmasters International
Daniel Rex
Chief Executive Officer
Toastmasters International

Posted – 3/16/2020

Dear District Leaders,

Have you heard Toastmasters support Toastmasters?  Many thanks to those districts who have paved the way with on-line speech contest resources.   Below are various resources that will enhance your on-line meeting and speech contest experience.   Please share with your teams.

It is recommended you bookmark these resources for future references as we will continue to upload resources as they become available.  If you have additional resources that you feel others would benefit from, please send the information to your Trio.  


Kathy Kest, District 56 Director

Posted – 3/16/2020 (Revised)

Dear District Leaders,

The attached letter states that Toastmasters International Board of Directors has decided that District events will not be in person prior to June 1st  The decision impacts our contests and the conference.  Clubs are encouraged to continue to meet using Zoom, here is a helpful link  Zoom has temporarily removed the 45 minutes restriction from regular accounts, please share with your Ads to share with their clubs. 

We support Division L Area 40 and Division Q virtual contests scheduled Saturday, March 21, 2020. 

The decision to continue with contests will be discussed and voted on at the DEC meeting next Monday, March 23, 2020.  Come to the DEC meeting with an open solution minded attitude and lets figure this out together.  We will also discuss the conference.


Kathy Kest, District 56 Director

Posted – 3/13/2020

We are aware of the significant impact the coronavirus (COVID-19) is having on members and clubs in our area. District 56 and Toastmasters International are monitoring the situation and taking the necessary steps to support our members during this difficult time. Please use your best judgement to keep yourself and those around you safe.

Note: Please bookmark this page and revisit it often. We will update it as new information becomes available.

Guidance from Toastmasters International

Due to safety and government restrictions, Toastmasters International understands that clubs in District 56 may not be able to meet in person. Therefore, they have made the following exceptions for our district:

Local Recommendations

Tips and Resources

  • Stay at home if you:
    • Feel sick or have symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, etc.)
    • Or someone you care for or live with is at higher risk (elderly or immunocompromised)
    • Recently had contact with an individual known or suspected to have COVID-19
    • Traveled to China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Italy, Iran or other high-risk area in the past 14 days.
  • Best practices for in person meetings
    • Avoid shaking hands and other physical contact (alternatives: wave, bow … get creative!)
    • Create physical space to minimize close contact (one arm length, sit every other seat)
    • Provide hand washing capabilities, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and tissues
  • Avoid touching your face or high touch surfaces with your bare hands (use a tissue)
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, especially after touching your face or high touch surfaces
  • Best practices for online meetings:
    • If you’re not able to access your meeting space, meet online using video conferencing software, such as:
    • Unmute only when speaking to reduce background noise
    • Turn off all the webcams except the speaker and the timer’s webcam, so that the timing signals can more easily be seen by the speaker and to avoid distractions
    • Table topic master can call out the member to respond, at which point the member can unmute, share their webcam, and speak.
    • As soon as in-person meetings are possible, the clubs are expected to switch back to regular meetings at their venue.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.      Will speech contests be canceled?
No, but some contests may be conducted online. Contact your Area and Division Director for details about your specific contests.

2.      Will the deadline to earn educational awards in the legacy program be extended?
At this time, the deadline to submit educational awards in the legacy program remains June 30, 2020. Clubs can still meet online to provide members opportunities to present speeches and complete their educational achievements.

3.      How dangerous is this disease? Do I need to wear a mask?
Please see the official resources above from the Departments of Health and the CDC for health-related questions.