Dear AmSAT Members,
The AmSAT Board has met to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the organization as a whole, and on the upcoming ACGM in Boulder in specific. After conferring with the Planning and Policy Committees, and with thoughtful consideration and a heavy heart, we unanimously voted to cancel the 2020 ACGM in Boulder, Colorado.
We are immensely grateful to Jo Gray, Anna Sobotka, Heidi Leathwood, Maria Santos, Naoko Yoda, and the many teachers who worked so hard to plan such a rich and exciting meeting.
Concerns for health and safety guided this decision. The swiftly-changing scenario surrounding COVID-19 has created hardships and uncertainties for us all. Many other organizational and academic conferences have been canceled up through June at this point. Even if conditions were to improve and we are once again able to travel freely and with a sense of safety, many of us will have sustained significant financial losses in our teaching practices, which would make it difficult to attend the ACGM. Our Early Bird registration was significantly slower than usual, which did not bode well for the larger picture. We thank those who signed up early, and will soon be contacting you to arrange refunds of your registration fees.
The Board is taking the following actions as a result of the ACGM cancellation:
- Exploring with the Rules and Bylaws Committee and our parliamentarian what our options and obligations are regarding the actual business meeting, and how we can move business forward.
- Exploring other portions of the ACGM programming that might be amenable to online gatherings, for example: lecture-oriented workshops, panel discussions, etc.
- Addressing the financial impact of this cancellation, and planning for any necessary adjustments.
Additionally, Board members are reaching out to the committees to which they liaise —to listen, to offer support, and to discuss the ways this new reality affects each part of our organization and how we can best respond.
As the transmission of coronavirus and COVID-19 increases exponentially, we urge all AmSAT members to practice the highest degree of social distancing by suspending hands-on private lessons at this time. We have an ethical responsibility as teachers, as AmSAT members — as citizens — to take care of ourselves, our students, and our wider communities.
Recognizing that so much of the way we work and engage with each other is affected by COVID-19, our plan now is to create an ongoing weekly series of chat sessions (via Zoom), to begin next week, that will cover a variety of topics and provide AmSAT members with opportunities to remain connected with each other. Stay tuned for more details in forthcoming e-UPdates!
We are grateful for the dedication of Fran Rickenbach and Maggie Barlow, who continue to support our operations without a blip. With the closures of all non-essential businesses in Ohio, where MEI’s office is based, they are both working from their homes, conducting our business with full connectivity.
Finally, our thanks to the Board, Committee Chairs and Members, and AmSAT members for the support and collective energy which allows us to move forward with integrity. Please feel free to contact us with questions, concerns and ideas in the next days and weeks.
With kindest regards,
Cheryl Pleskow and Lisa Levinson