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District Leader Newsletter — February 2021
District Leader Newsletter — February 2021
Dear District Leader,

2021 National Tournament Details

We are excited to share key details about the National Tournament! The Tournament Procedures are now available. This document outlines key tournament details, including deadlines, how events will work, our hosting platform, judging obligations, and more. Please remember that any school that attends their district tournament receives two qualifiers in supplemental events, regardless of whether their students qualify to the National Tournament in main events. We strongly recommend attending students and coaches read the procedures in full. Additionally, the Unified Manual is updated with rules for the tournament. Changes are noted in yellow. 
We know that adapting to online school and virtual competition has been difficult for so many students and teachers. This past year has been challenging. Yet, we have heard from you all about the important role the National Speech & Debate Tournament plays for your students. A hallmark of the National Tournament is the rigor of competition and the sense of community built by all of us coming together. In order to capture this magic at the online Nationals, we will be working especially hard this year to reduce some stress and anxiety about obstacles.
Live Speech Events » After careful consideration and feedback from our community, we have made the decision to hold live (synchronous) speech competition in all main events at the 2021 National Tournament. Live synchronous competition for main events and fully asynchronous competition for supplemental speech events will provide students the opportunity for an experience most like attending our in-person National Tournament. In addition to the fully asynchronous supplemental speech events, all main event students will be encouraged to submit a recording of their performance that can be used as a backup in case of unresolvable technical difficulties.  
Duo Interpretation » In order to promote safer competition for all, the 2021 National Tournament will feature two divisions of Duo Interpretation, one where students will perform together in the same room (with a backup recording in case of technical difficulties, as in other speech events), and one with a split screen format like the 2020 National Tournament. Duo competitors may compete in both divisions, but will have to choose a preferred division if breaking to semifinals. Teams cannot break to semifinals in both divisions.  
In-Person Safety » Students who will compete in the same room (in Duo or in debate events) must submit a consent form from their administrators with approval and acknowledgement that students will follow their school’s safety guidelines. 
New Supplemental Events » High school students will have the opportunity to enter in two new supplemental events at the 2021 National Tournament: Pro Con Challenge and Original Spoken Word Poetry! Read more about these new events in the manual and stay tuned for resources on getting started preparing on your team. All supplemental speech events will be recorded asynchronously, and students may enter in as many events as they wish. Extemp Debate will again be held live.
$100,000 in Support Grants » We know this year has created unprecedented challenges for students and coaches. This year, we’re offering $100,000 in William Woods Tate, Jr., Fund participation support grants to teams who need funds to purchase technology, pay for internet access, rent appropriate space to compete, or acquire other resources that will allow them a more equitable experience. Stay tuned for details.

District Tournament Senate Requirement Change + Reminders

In response to concerns about recruitment and student participation at districts, the Board of Directors determined that the requirement to seat a Senate will decrease from 8 schools to 6 schools for the 2020-2021 district tournament series only. Each Senate will still receive two qualifiers. The number of students needed to seat a House of Representatives will remain the same at a minimum of 16 students.
For a district tournament held online, chambers must be no larger than 15 students in both the House and the Senate.
Districts may choose their chamber size within that approved range. A district must have a minimum of 16 competitors to seat a House of Representatives, which means that every House of Representatives at the district tournament must be divided into at least two chambers. A Senate with more than 15 students must also be divided into at least two chambers. Review page 63 in the Unified Manual for complete details.

Using Tabroom + NSDA Campus

If your district is planning to use NSDA Campus as the platform for your virtual competition and gathering spaces, please remember that rooms must be requested and paid for at least two full business days before your tournament begins. For example, if your first round is on Friday night, please purchase rooms by Wednesday morning. NSDA Campus rooms must be paid for in advance; if that is a point of concern, please email Lauren McCool to request accommodations. For detailed instructions check out the NSDA Campus Training Materials and FAQ. Please note, if you are tabulating via SpeechWire and elect to use NSDA Campus, your NSDA Campus rooms are included in the fees you pay directly to SpeechWire. 

Single Entry Letters + Auto-Qualifiers

If your tournament is hosted on, coaches will complete their Single Entry Letters virtually through on the NSDA Forms tab. If you're using, no paper single entry letters are needed aside from auto-qualifiers. If your district chooses to use SpeechWire, coaches will need to complete and turn in their students’ Single Entry Letters in paper form. Those forms should be scanned and emailed to by the district chair.
All auto-qualifiers, regardless of the platform used to tabulate their tournament, must fill out a PDF copy of the form and send it to their district chair.

World Schools Debate Survey

As districts across the country select their World Schools Debate teams, we request that the chair of each district complete this survey. It simply asks for your name, your district, and your district's method for determining World Schools teams. 

District Awards and Recognition

Nominations are open for all of our district to national awards! Each winner of the following district awards is automatically entered into the running for the national-level award when reported by the district chair. District committees may set their own district-wide deadlines, but district chairs must report district winners to us by April 16 for national award consideration.
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