Although the staff are working from home, AALAS programs and services continue through these times of uncertainty. Committees have met, publications have been produced and distributed, webinars presented, and the AALAS Learning Library is experiencing expanded use. I expect some of you may have questions about the AALAS National Meeting, and to be honest, I do too. Some of my concerns are probably the same as yours: Will large gatherings be allowed? Will people want to travel in October? How will we practice social distancing? I don’t have answers to these questions and won’t have until later in the year.
What I can assure you is that the planning for the meeting is progressing on schedule. The National Meeting Program Committee met virtually last week and selected the sessions – it promises to be a stellar program. Registration and housing are set to open in late June/early July. The Exhibit Hall Floor Plan is set as well as session room assignments. The Local Arrangements Committee has surprises and special touches planned to enhance the “fun” times.
The hotels and convention center contracts are in place. At this time, we have made no changes in the arrangements, but I have learned a great deal about force majeure clauses in hotel and convention center contracts. Logistics and contractual obligations for a conference the size and scope of the AALAS National Meeting are set several years before the actual meeting dates. The financial liability borne by AALAS is controlled by legal stipulations in the contracts, and at this point there is no inducement for AALAS to cancel.
We must consider federal, state and city orders relative to holding large gatherings in relation to determining the feasibility of changing the structure, dates, format or canceling the meeting. According to our contracts and barring any prohibitions implemented that would prohibit October meetings in Charlotte, July seems to be the time we would make any changes. The officers and trustees are looking out for the best interests of the members, the exhibitors, and the association. As any prudent organization would, the staff are evaluating contingency plans to provide an outstanding experience, including program and exhibits, if face-to-face interaction is limited or not feasible. In short – the show will go on!
I appreciate your support of AALAS and look forward to seeing you in Charlotte in October.