I deeply regret to announce that I’ve decided to cancel our Spring 2020 Member Meeting in San Diego due to COVID-19 developments. I reached this decision after close monitoring of recent developments, including declarations of states of emergency, increasing numbers of cases being diagnosed around the country, warnings from the medical and public health communities, suspensions of face to face classes by some of our member institutions and imposition of travel restrictions by others, and after extended consultation with the CNI Steering Committee and members of the broader CNI community. I am sorry for the disruption that this decision to cancel will cause, but I feel convinced that it’s the best choice based on what I know now, and I think it’s better to make the decision earlier rather than later to reduce uncertainty.
I am very grateful for those who’ve written me or Diane in recent days to keep us posted about changes in their ability to participate in the meeting; this has been important in maintaining a picture of the situation and reaching the decision to move to the virtual event. And also for the many offers for virtual presentations from those who had to withdraw from speaking at the physical meeting; as you’ll see below we will be taking you up on these offers!
You’ll need to cancel your hotel reservations; there should be no charge for this if you do it in the next week or so.
Over a period from March 30 to May 30, we will run a virtual spring meeting; note that we have “re-instated” all registrants who subsequently cancelled their participation in the in-person meeting. While all the details are still being worked out, this is the rough plan.
Rob Sanderson will open the virtual meeting by delivering his plenary at 1pm PDT/4pm EDT on Monday March 30. Tara McPherson’s closing plenary will be at the same time on Tuesday March 31. As with our in-person meetings, both of these will be recorded and made openly available as well.
During the period from April 2 through May 30, we will invite all of the breakout sessions to present as webinars during the noon-5pm EDT/9am-1pm PDT window; we will reach out to those speakers (including speakers of accepted sessions that subsequently contacted us to withdraw from the in-person meeting). When the presenters are willing, these sessions will be recorded and made openly available. The exception will be the short updates; for these, presenters will be invited to record a 10-15 minute talk and we’ll make these available as they are received. One side effect is that this will be the most extensively documented CNI meeting ever, with the most material available to the public.
We may add a few periodic interactive “synthesis and summary” discussion sessions; this is still being shaped.
The Monday March 30 Executive Roundtable will take place as scheduled, but virtually. We will be in touch with the participants of the Sunday afternoon, March 29, Executive Roundtable to reschedule this session.
The organizers of pre and post meeting events will be in touch with people who are involved in those events separately. At this point, I don’t have information about the plans for most of these.
At the beginning of June, we’ll do a meeting evaluation. I’m hopeful that between the data we gather about participation and subsequent re-use, and what we learn from the evaluation, we’ll gather knowledge that will help guide us towards better meetings in the future, whether virtual, in-person or some hybrid of the two.
To those who had plans to attend in San Diego, my apologies and my appreciation for your understanding; I hope you’ll join us for the online event. To those who planned to present, my thanks, and I hope that you’ll bring your contributions to the virtual meeting.
We’ll be in touch with meeting registrants directly soon with further details. Updated information about the virtual event will be posted to the meeting web page (www.cni.org/mm/spring-2020) and we’ll use the hashtag #cni20s for the twitter stream for the virtual meeting.
Please contact me or Diane Goldenberg-Hart (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions.