[UPDATE ON 3/12]
Slow news week, huh?
I just got off the phone with J. Scott Wunn, the NSDA Tournament Director. I have some good news (I think!) about our district qualifying tournament.
As was probably already obvious to you, the 3/28-29 qualifiers at Hart are canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. So many of our school districts are imposing travel bans and/or shutting down, it just wouldn't work. So the question is, what's happening to the NSDA this year? We know that CA State is canceled, that the TOC is moving online, and that NCFLs is canceled. But what about the NSDA, which produces a large event in mid-June?
Here's the Sparknotes summary of the conclusion.
1 - By May 1, no later, the NSDA will form a conclusion as to if they're canceling entirely, trying to move online (depending on how online TOC goes), or hosting the normal tournament with robust safety/health precautions. A lot of it depends on the widespread availability of testing kits.
2 - The NSDA is creating a rubric for an equitable 'auto-qualification' system to NSDA that would recognize the historical success of schools but also prioritize letting underrepresented schools and seniors attend. However, that rubric does not exist yet.
3 - The NSDA is allowing us to hold our district qualifiers as late as three weeks before the tournament (the weekends of May 15 or May 22). They're also working with hotel blocks and flight discounts to extend the discount windows. Given that we'll know what the NSDA has decided by May 1, I think a May 15 or 22 tournament (assuming that we have a nationals and the coming quarantines are over!) makes more sense than an auto-qual system. But we have well over a month to ride that out.
I know these are trying times for our competitors and coaches. Some of us, myself included, structure our years around these major tournaments -- I know that the 'nationals week' is something I've really looked forward to for the better half of a decade. The last time the NSDA canceled their tournament was mid-WW2. We'll see what happens. But--and this should go without saying--as adults, let's model really great behavior for our students. Celebrate their efforts, commiserate about the unfairness, and put community and health above the competition when they directly conflict (a future LD topic?).
I love this community and I hope that everyone, especially those who are demographically higher-risk, is staying safe. Anxiety/fear is contagious, but so is positivity, and both have direct impacts on our immune systems.
To the coaches of the West Los Angeles NSDA District:
Hello! You are invited to the West Los Angeles District National Qualifier.
- Speech/Debate will be held on 3/28-29 (Sat/Sun) at Hart High School (24825 Newhall Ave, Santa Clarita, CA 91321).
- Congress will be held during 3/29 (Sunday) afternoon at Hart HS.
Official entries and single-entry letters of intent are due by Friday, March 20, 11:59 PM. Please scan and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org (if you don't have a scanner, you can download free apps which turn pictures into PDFs). Please call 818-605-8065 if you have questions or concerns.
Reminder: Updates and News will be emailed to all NSDA coaches between now and the tournament. Please make sure you white-list my email address.
If you want a full list of rules, please read our offical tournament manual: https://www.speechanddebate.org/rules-forms-manuals/ (Under "High School Unified Manual.")
- March 28: Speech/Debate Day One at Hart High School
- March 29: Speech/Debate Day Two (Results and Awards) at Hart High School
- March 29: Congress at Hart High School
- Iain Lampert, Valley International Preparatory HS (District Chair and Tournament Administrator)
- Leilani McHugh, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy
- Victor Jih, Brentwood School
- Robert Lebeda, De Toledo
- Eleanor Nishioka, Hart High School
Any questions about eligibility & points should be directed to the main office of the National Speech and Debate Assocation at: 920-748-6206 or email@example.com Our goal is to offer an incident-free, fun, fair, educational and competitive tournament. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Iain Lampert (VIP High School)