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Local chapters are the most convenient places for Pandemic Pods members to network and discuss local issues. If there’s no Pandemic Pods chapter in your area and you’d like to start and moderate one, you can! This page has everything you need to kick things off right now:

Note that if your group is already running, you can still follow the steps here to affiliate your group as a local chapter. And if you need help, please reach out to us at Pandemic Pods - New Chapter Support anytime.

What are the benefits of being a local chapter?

What’s involved in moderating a local chapter?

Your approach can be more involved or more hands off, but responsibilities include:

What are the Rules?

We ask that local chapters include the below in your ‘Group Rules’ section (which you can find under ‘Admin Tools’. Facebook provides space to add up to two more rules if you wish.

     Group Rules

  1. Join Pandemic Pods - Main This is a “Pandemic Pods” local chapter. Please also join “Pandemic Pods - Main” to keep up with the discussions and resources shared there.
  2. Understand that this is a group about podding We encourage sharing resources and information about safety, laws, and equity. This is not a place to argue that all podding is always a bad idea.
  3. Respect that we each have our own situations We respect that different people make different choices, including teachers and families. We’re here to support each other with connections and resources, not to question or change others’ feelings.
  4. Support our public institutions We agree to respect public schools, and follow local laws and public health guidelines. We agree to critique with the goal of strengthening, not undermining, our civic institutions.
  5. We aim to be anti-racist, not color blind We agree to engage in difficult conversations with an intention to learn, centering the voices of Black, Latinx, Indigenous, immigrant, lower income, disabled, LGBTQIA, and other marginalized people.
  6. Network away, but avoid spam Yes--families, teachers, and caregivers can use this group to connect with others. Members without significant local ties and companies disrupting the group with promotional content may be removed.
  7. Respect everyone's privacy Please remember that as we all explore childcare and schooling options, members may have a strong desire for privacy. Please do not share others' information unless they specifically give permission.
  8. Assume your own liability By joining, you acknowledge that legal and other requirements may apply to your pod. While this group aims to help with information and introductions, you assume liability for your situation.

I’m ready to start my local chapter! What do I do?

  1. Decide what geography to cover

We ask for the geographic area covered by your group to have a population between 200,000 and 2M; that it does not unnecessarily divide up school districts, towns, or other geographic entities; and that its shape be relatively compact (not gerrymandered). Finally, double-check our list of local chapters to make sure your chapter won’t overlap with another one.

  1. Start your group within Facebook by navigating to Groups, then choose + Create New Group.

Name your group Pandemic Pods - PLACENAME with PLACENAME being a recognizable term that you can enter into Google Maps and end up in the right place. Great place names include: “Atlanta,” “Bucks County PA,” and “Northern Colorado.” We try to avoid slang and ambiguous names, like “The West Side.”

We recommend making your group Private, but be sure to keep it Visible.

  1. Add a Cover Photo and Group description

Add a cover photo and group description--and you can add more information and local flavor to your description, as long as you also cover this basic information:

Welcome! This is the [PLACENAME] chapter of the ‘Pandemic Pods - Main’ Facebook group. [List or describe the geographic areas you’re covering, if it’s not obvious.] We're a community of families, teachers, and caregivers connecting with each other to form pods, share ideas, and discuss local issues as we navigate schooling and childcare during COVID-19. To keep up with resources and conversations in the main group, please be sure to also join the main group at 

  1. Adjust your settings and add Group Rules

Navigate to Admin Tools, and then Settings, and adjust the following:

Location: pick a place that’s within your geography.

Web Address: add a URL ending that is pods.SHORTNAME with SHORTNAME being the same as your group’s place name or a shortened version of it.

Still under Admin Tools, navigate to Facebook’s section for Group Rules and add the above eight rules, copying them one at a time. You’re almost done, we promise.

  1. Reach out to Pandemic Pods to affiliate
  1. Send a message to Pandemic Pods - New Chapter Support, including your group’s URL, to let us know that you’re ready for prime time. We’ll aim to reply to you the same day or at the latest, the following morning.
  2. One of our moderators at Pandemic Pods Support will ask to join the group through their personal Facebook profile. Please accept their member request under Admin Tools. Then click on Members, find the person’s name, click on “...” and select Make Admin. We can usually follow up promptly once you’ve done this, but feel free to reach out in your message thread if you’d like to check in.
  3. We’ll check out your name, geography, and group settings. We’ll also add Pandemic Pods - Main in the ‘Preapproved to Join’ and ‘Recommended Groups’ sections, and make Pandemic Pods - New Chapter Support an admin, instead of the profile of the moderator who’s helping you.
  4. Finally, we’ll ask you to join our super-secret moderators clubhouse, and will add a link to your new local chapter from our main page. Thank you and congrats on starting your local chapter!


What help will Pandemic Pods provide?

As you set up your chapter, we’re available to help at Pandemic Pods - New Chapter Support. Once you’re set up, you’ll be invited to join our private moderator community for ongoing support and collaboration. It’s a friendly and helpful group, and a great place to get help on any technical or moderation issues, as well as to discuss strategy and advocacy efforts.

Do I need to be able to answer all of my members’ questions about podding?

Not at all. None of us have all the answers yet, and our role at Pandemic Pods is to provide a place for people to connect and discuss options. You and your members will also have access to a growing collection of resources shared in our moderator community and in Pandemic Pods - Main.

How much time is required to be a local chapter moderator?

Your approach can be more involved or more hands off, and your group’s needs may change over time. So it’s hard for us to estimate a number of hours per week, but we can say that most moderators do have full-time jobs as well as families. If you find that you’d like a co-moderator, let us know if you’ve found someone or we can help you recruit one; and if you ever need to step back from moderation, just let us know.

Do I need to operate my local chapter according to Pandemic Pods guidelines?

To be a local chapter, we ask that you agree to moderate your group within the above Group Rules. Within that, it’s up to you how you want to run your group in terms of specific guidelines for posting, your moderation process, and decisions such as whether to turn post approvals on.

What if there’s already a local chapter in my area?

Please join that chapter! You can then reach out to your local chapter’s existing moderator to offer your help and explore joining as a co-moderator. Once you’ve decided together to co-moderate, let us know at Pandemic Pods - New Chapter Support and we’ll add your name to our list of moderators and ask you to join our private moderator community. You can also reach out to us anytime if you have questions or concerns about this process.

What if my local group is already well established?

We would still love for your group to affiliate as a local chapter, if you’d like to do so. Some of the benefits include: being part of our national community for ongoing resource-sharing and advocacy; being listed as a local chapter in our main group; participating in our private moderator community; and knowing that we won’t form another group with an overlapping geography. If you’re interested, go to the above section called “I’m ready to start my local chapter! What do I do?” and work through the steps there, adjusting your group’s settings as you go in order to get your group ready to become a chapter. Let us know if you have any questions.

Why does Pandemic Pods want to be an Admin in my local chapter?

We’d like for Pandemic Pods - New Chapter Support to be an Admin in your group to be able to help as necessary. This includes adjusting group settings as described above during the setup process, and being available to continue maintaining the group for your members in case you need to take a break or step down from moderating. We recognize the benefits of having your leadership, as a local moderator who is in tune with your community’s needs and expectations, and do not plan to post in your group or get involved in your day-to-day moderation decisions.

What if I change my mind about being a Pandemic Pods local chapter?

Just let us know. The affiliation is voluntary and can be ended at any time by either side. If you change your mind, we’ll remove your group from our list of local chapters, remove your moderators from our Pandemic Pods - Moderators group, and remove ourselves as an Admin in your group. We’ll also ask that you avoid using language or content in your group that implies that you are a Pandemic Pods local chapter, to avoid confusion. You and your group members will still be welcome in the Pandemic Pods - Main group.

I have another question that’s not answered here.

Please send us a message at Pandemic Pods - New Chapter Support.