Note that this is not an exact transcript of the Q&A. Some things have been expanded upon from the original conversation.
Q: Just to confirm: the event bid schedule is also on hold? Or will we pick up the current bid schedule when things begin to reopen?
A: Their Majesties are currently planning to hold Crown Tournament on 24 October as planned. If that happens, we will be back on track for the usual schedule of things and so we are going to take event bids for Spring 2021 as usual on the assumption that we will be able to proceed as normal by then.
Q: Given all the work happening behind the scenes to plan and coordinate, is there anything the populace can do to help those officers who are carrying the load?
A: If you have seen anyone who has been doing a lot of work to support the Kingdom during these times, write them in for an award! Also be sure to submit to your Barony. If you have skills (Internet, video, whatever) or ideas that would help Their Majesties during this virtual time, They would be most glad to have you reach out and They will put you to work.
Q: Would the Kingdom apply for a variance from the rule that events must be advertised in two Tidings, in order to allow events to be planned in short order?
A: Society has given a blanket variance to make Kingdom websites official publications, so we can publish things there for the duration and have it count. Also, the publication requirement for non-Corpora events (i.e. Crown, Coronation) is defined in the Kingdom Seneschal's Handbook, so we have some leeway to waive that with the consent of Their Majesties and the Privy Council for local Kingdom events.
Q: Is there a central Kingdom-wide "repository" of on-line classes, meetings, and bardic events being offered so that we can all join in?
A: The Kingdom Calendar is the place to advertise your online events. Contact Mistress Lucia, the Lord Clerk-Register (firstname.lastname@example.org) to help you reserve a time with the Kingdom Zoom account and get it on the Kingdom Calendar.
If you don't need to use the Kingdom Zoom feel free to reach out to the Lord Gavin, the Calendar Secretary (email@example.com) to get your online event onto the Kingdom Calendar.
Q: This may be premature, but what guidance has the BoD provided for succession plans at this time?
A: The BoD is granting variances as requested more or less. They are trying to take things three months at a time, and so that is where the 31 July date comes from. We're unique because not only are we wholly within Canada, but we are wholly within Ontario. So, we will be following what the provincial government dictates unlike other Kingdoms that span multiple states and provinces that may allow for earlier opening in some areas. We hope that we will be able to open in midsummer, but we will see what the situation looks like then.
Q: What kingdom does Ealdormere have in the Gift Box Exchange?
A: We don't know yet! If you do want to participate, let Their Majesties know so they can let the organisers know and we'll find out what Kingdom we get.
Q: How much lead time & what criteria do we need to decide whether to hold a scheduled event?
A: We are hoping that by late July or August we can get back to having meetings and practices. Hopefully by late August we can schedule a Coronation event. The lead time is an unknown at this point in time. We're very much at the mercy of the plague, and the Government can only do 28-day lockdowns by law. We anticipate another 28 day lockdown after May 12. Premier Ford has been consistent in saying that things will be slow in opening up. We're hopeful for a day event during August but we don't know.
If you're facing deadlines for an event and need to make a call, make it. For non-Kingdom events you don't need Kingdom permission to delay or cancel. Make the decision that is best for you and your group. All of the groups that had events scheduled for the summer, were sent an email in advance indicating that all events are cancelled through 31 July, and that all camping events are cancelled in 2020, so they have had a chance to figure out their plans.
Should you have financial burdens due to lost deposits or the like, reach out the Kingdom Exchequer (firstname.lastname@example.org) to take advantage of the relief fund that is available. On the other side of that, if things start to open up and your event is not a Kingdom event, we can make things work for that.
Q: Will Their Majesties have meetings with Their Orders via zoom in the future?
A: Their Majesties will have some meetings for sure, just not sure how long it will take. Their Majesties will send an email to the various orders to get thoughts. Given that event time may be short They don’t want to stack events with meetings. Some may be in person, some may be online. This includes Hammer/Wain/Crucible.
Q: If Milpitas is still in lockdown, insurance for named entities may present problems for groups wanting to host. So we know if SCA .org is working offsite?
A: Given the number of emails the Seneschal is still receiving - yes.
It’s unlikely we will open before any groups in the US, but it seems likely that if an insurance certificate is needed we’ll be able to get it. The general non-named proof of insurance is always available if your needs don’t require a named one.
Q: Is there someone we can contact if we want to offer a class etc. and poll to find out if people are interested before we offer?
A: FOOL may still have room for classes. Another option is the Zoom account as noted - contact the Clerk-Register. For a poll, perhaps just put a post on the Facebook group checking for interest. (At the time of the Q&A, there was still room at FOOL.)
Q: To the best of Your knowledge, is everyone in our Kingdom COVID free? Is there a place where people can ask for help?
A: At this point, Their Majesties are not aware of any in Ealdormere affected. There are definitely cases in other Kingdoms. At this point, we do not have a place to reach out for help. If anyone hears or knows of such resources, please share them.
Q: Will martial practices be allowed once gatherings are allowed by the Government of Ontario?
A: Yes please! As soon as gatherings are allowed, Their Majesties would like to open meetings and practices. Once we’re allowed to gather more than immediate family, make the best choice for your groups.
Once things to start to open, if you aren’t sure please do reach out to Their Majesties or the Kingdom Seneschal to discuss.
Q: How are Kingdom finances and do we need any fundraisers?
A: Kingdom finances are in a good state. For anyone who wishes to know the current status up to 1 April, we must publish a report every year. That report is on the Kingdom website.
In terms of fundraising, we don’t need anything in particular right now. If there is a cause you wanted to direct efforts towards, we’ll never say no!
Q: How would awards/peerage be presented during this time after nomination.
A: At this point, Their Majesties are not planning online courts. This may change with circumstances. Ealdormere is a small, close and lovely Kingdom. They think every award is important and that it is important that awards come directly from the hand of the Crown.
There will be online missives and videos and such from Their Majesties. If Baronies wish to do online courts with awards, Their Majesties fully support that. If the lockdown persists, Their Majesties may change their mind -- and if there are deserving people who normally can’t make it to events anyway, then that may be the best way to get an award to them.
His Majesty adds that the AOA is an extremely important award, sometimes the only award someone may get while they are in the SCA. Larger Kingdoms can sometimes feel like a factory when it comes to awards, and They never want Ealdormere to feel that way.
Q: What ancient deity did Lars offend to be kingdom seneschal during this?
A: Most of them, apparently. It is, however, Her Majesty’s fault that I am here right now. My revenge is that we are all going to cross this finish line together.
Q: Are canton and officers’ still expected to report?
A: Yes. Please report on time as usual. Hopefully things will be happening online. There may not be much to report, but it is important to do so. The wheels of bureaucracy ever turn.
Q: How might officer changes happen?
A: The only Greater Kingdom Officer changeover happening soon is KMoA&S. Xristina had graciously stayed on until this point to resolve all of the details, and Emelote will be stepping into the role in the coming week.
There are three deputy officer positions changing over:
Baron Brand is taking over as Kingdom Chatelaine from THL Constance
Dietrich is taking over as Signet Herald from Mistress Elaine
Count Evander is taking over as Deputy for Youth Combat from Baroness Seonag
For other officer changes, just submit a change of officer form as usual.