The influence of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has added the phrase “social distancing” to our international vocabulary. Establishing and maintaining an acceptably safe personal space has become a critical concern and prompted the need for innovative ways to connect and interact with people, including those parents and volunteers involved with our leagues.

While we’re strongly advising all leagues and districts to suspend/delay Little League activities until May 11, the need to communicate with your families and volunteers is important (for more information on what Little League-related activities can be done through this suspension/delay visit Little League’s Coronavirus FAQs). For leagues using Sports Connect, they have best practices and useful tools for local league and district staff to stay in touch, both free and affordable.

Here are seven suggestions for how you can have a meeting and share information without physically coming to a common space.

Telephone conference:

Hard-wired or cellular telephone with conference/multi-call and speaker capability give use the ability to have an audio-only call/meeting. Many smartphones already have these capabilities built in and can accommodate merging a small group of phone numbers on a single line. There are free conference call resources that are readily available through an internet search.

Group Text:

Smartphone text messaging allows for group text conversation(s) which disseminate information to multiple people at one time and allow for replies from all in the text thread. In addition, there are smartphone apps that offer group messaging services to help manage these conversations, even internationally.

Internet conference:

When possible, use free, internet conference services (which may require creation of a free account) to initiate an online meeting which will allow you to invite guests. This can be done through any device that has Internet access, and microphone and speaker/receiver functionality. There are several of these resources available, as well as some more advanced versions at a free or affordable rate that are readily available through an internet search.

Video conference:

With the use of a smartphone, a tablet or computer with integrated camera, or an external video camera linked to a desktop, a discussion can be arranged between several individuals in different locations utilizing an internet conferencing service.

Webinar training:

Free webinar and PowerPoint/presentation builders are a quality alternative to in-person training for educating volunteers and keeping league members and volunteers informed of new and revised procedures.

Website and Social Media:

Most leagues have an internet presence either through a website or various forms of social media. Using these outlets, timely news and information updates can be easily shared. Also, different social media platforms offer the opportunity to communicate through posting of texts and live stream functionality.

As your league begins adjusting its timeline toward the first day of returning to Little League action, we encourage you to utilize these suggestions to organize your communications plan and ensure a smooth transition back into the regular season.