In light of the continued health advisories and contingency plans in place at colleges and universities and similar institutions across the United States that are affecting domestic travel, it is increasingly clear that a face-to-face USAIN Conference is not a possibility this year.
At our virtual meeting today, March 13, 2020, the USAIN Executive Council (USAINEC) decided to postpone the USAIN Conference currently scheduled in Lubbock, TX on April 25-30, 2020. We have also unanimously agreed, in USAINEC, to transition the conference to the virtual environment during either June or July 2020. A decision on the date for the USAIN2020 Virtual Conference will be made within the next two weeks.
We do not take this decision lightly. The face-to-face encounters, both formal and informal, that occur with attendees, vendors and sponsors at the biennial meetings are invaluable for gaining the latest knowledge and skills that enhance our professional practice. USAINEC has determined, however, that the risk of infection among ourselves and those with whom we would interact in Lubbock is too great. It may be the case that the virus will never come to that region (as there are no documented cases at Texas Tech now), but if even one member of our Association were to become critically ill the consequences would outweigh the benefits of the scholarly exchange.
I would like to ask for your support and understanding of this unique situation and set of circumstances. In the next week, we will release information and advice to all USAIN members and other conference attendees on how to handle the conference registrations that have already been processed. Most importantly also, we will begin to share information with you on the soon to be scheduled USAIN2020 Virtual Conference that will enable our members to utilize other options for engaging in scholarly work and discussions.
On behalf of USAINEC, I would like to extend special thanks to our host, Texas Tech, who have worked tirelessly planning many components of the USAIN2020 Conference. We have been in full consultation with them as together we monitored this situation until this decision.
You are important to USAIN and its mission. Do take good care of yourselves, your families and friends during this challenging time.
USAIN President, 2019-2020
Auburn University Libraries
The conference will be held at the Overton Hotel and Conference Center at 2322 Mac Davis Lane and will be the main hotel for conference attendees.
Dear USAIN members and conference attendees,
Today the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta issued a statement about the likelihood that the coronavirus will spread in the United States. They are not currently able to say how far the disease will spread, and it is unclear how federal, state and local authorities will react in the weeks to come.
The USAIN Executive Council and our conference hosts at Texas Tech University are monitoring the situation with regard to our April conference in Lubbock. As of this writing, we are continuing with our plans for the conference from April 26-29, which will feature pre-conferences, invited speakers, breakout sessions, posters, cornhole, learning the two-step, and much more.
While our biennial conference is the highlight of our year and a wonderful opportunity for all of us to meet and exchange ideas, it is also important that we act in the best interests of everyone’s health, well-being and safety. We will continue to monitor the situation in conjunction with the leadership at Texas Tech and any relevant local officials, and we will keep you updated periodically on our plans if anything changes as the April conference date draws near.
The CDC is the definitive authority on disease monitoring and on guidance regarding domestic and international travel. So far it is international travel that is being contained at higher education institutions with advisories to limit participation in study abroad programs to and from specific countries. We are watching for any advisories that apply to domestic travel in the United States beyond the standard precautions for preventing the spread of coronavirus that are similar to those used for colds and flu. So far, the USAIN2020 Conference is a go!
If you have questions, you may direct them to the Texas Tech conference co-chairs, Innocent Awasum and Jack Becker or the USAIN Conference co-chairs, Kristen Mastel and Melody Royster.
Claudine Jenda & USAIN Executive Committee