The decision to cancel an event is not an easy one to make, but after much thought and analysis, as well as consultation with the Board President, Vice-President and Secretary/Treasurer, the decision has been made that the WCRP Spring Conference & Board Meeting at Suncadia Resort next week, March 18-20, is CANCELED.
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is having a particular impact on us here in Washington and, while there is no need for panic, it should also be taken seriously. The best way to combat this virus is to limit non-essential travel and to try to isolate, rather than converge people from different areas together. Because our group comes from 2/3 of all of Washington’s counties, having us all congregate into one place is the opposite of an isolation effort.
As with any large group, a number of our board members and attendees are either of a susceptible age, have underlying medical conditions, or are close to people back at home who are. It would be devastating to learn that someone contracted this virus while at our conference and/or passed it to someone who took it back home with them to their friends, families and communities.
When analyzing this decision, the most important thing to look at is how essential the event or meeting is that is being canceled and what impact it has on the organization and the attendees. In our case, we happen to have a board meeting agenda that is very light on action items, none of which are essential right now, and can certainly wait until the board meeting at our Summer Conference in July. Further, our only out-of-state speaker has canceled their attendance, also leaving a gap in our Thursday sessions. All of these make it clear that our Conference next week is not essential and canceling the event is really the responsible thing to do.
I’m sorry to all of those who were preparing for this trip, have moved their calendars to make room for this Conference and Board Meeting, and for the work you may have to do to now cancel your travel plans. I don’t like doing this, but I hope you understand it is being done out of an abundance of caution and to mitigate risk.
Here are a few things to know:
Thank you all for understanding this difficult decision and situation. I know we were all looking forward to getting together and having a fantastic Spring Conference. I hope you have a safe and healthy few months between now and the Summer Conference and we will see you in Vancouver in July, if not sooner!!