Stoa Board to Host Virtual Tournaments 9/1/20

While the Stoa Board continues to work out the details of virtual tournaments for the fall, we want to remind you that we encourage local clubs and tournament directors to continue with in-person tournaments as your conscience, state, and local government allow. In-person tournaments that abide by the Stoa Minimum Tournament Standards will remain NITOC-qualifying tournaments.

We would also like to announce that non-qualifying virtual tournaments are able to be posted on the Stoa calendar! As a matter of practice, non-qualifying tournaments are not eligible for posting to the Stoa calendar. However, we are making an exception for this season. You must clearly post on your registration site that your tournament is non-qualifying. At this time, only the virtual tournaments hosted by the Stoa Board will be qualifying virtual tournaments. Our current plan is to host at least one virtual tournament in October and at least one in November. We will post the dates soon.

With that said, the Stoa Board does not believe that virtual tournaments are the best method of competition. However, we do understand that we must provide an alternative to in-person tournaments, especially for those who live in states where gathering together is still greatly restricted. This solution is temporary. Once the majority of restrictions on gatherings are lifted, virtual tournaments will no longer be necessary or offered.

The Stoa Board is committed to what we believe is the best venue for our activity and that is in-person tournaments. Training our students to speak boldly and change the world for Christ depends on the community we participate in, the relationships we develop, and the opportunity to speak to our judges in person. We will return to in-person only tournaments as soon as it is feasible to do so.

In the meantime, we continue to develop the framework for Stoa Board-hosted virtual tournaments. We will continue to update our members as we make progress toward that end.

We are praying for all of you as you navigate a successful season in the midst of uncertain times.

In Christ,

The Stoa Board of Directors

Statement on Virtual Tournaments 8/1/20

As the United States and the world face unprecedented and unpredictable circumstances in the midst of a pandemic, the Stoa Board has spent many hours in discussion and prayer with regard to the upcoming 2020–2021 speech and debate season. We have developed a plan with the hope of assuring our member families that Stoa remains committed to training our young people to speak boldly and change the world for Christ and providing opportunities for our students to continue to compete.

To that end, we offer the following:

The Stoa Board fully intends to host NITOC 2021. As most of our members know, NITOC 2021 is currently scheduled to take place in May 2021 on the beautiful campus of Concordia University in Irvine, CA. In the event that Concordia becomes unavailable due to COVID-19, the Board has secured an alternative in-person location. Because there is no way to predict what impact COVID-19 will continue to have, if an in-person NITOC becomes impossible, the Stoa Board will provide a virtual NITOC.

In order to ensure the integrity of NITOC and the quality of competition characteristic of Stoa, the Board will institute a pilot program for virtual tournaments this fall. During the fall of 2020, the Board plans to offer a minimum of 2–3 virtual, NITOC-qualifying tournaments.

Over the course of the remaining weeks of summer and this fall, the Stoa Board will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 and will decide whether additional virtual tournaments are a necessary option in 2021. We intend to release another statement in late fall.

In the meantime, we encourage local tournament directors to schedule in-person tournaments as your conscience, state or local government allows. We also support offering non-qualifying virtual tournaments hosted by local leadership. These competitions would offer opportunities for students and tournament directors to practice in a new format.

We thank you for your patience and your prayers as we seek God’s wisdom for the upcoming season.

Your Stoa Board of Directors

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