Virtual 2021 APHA Convention Announced
With a view toward the health and safety of state directors and members as well as maximizing participation, the APHA Board of Directors has elected to conduct its 2021 Convention & General Membership Meeting virtually. Set for February 26-28, members and state directors will participate in Zoom-styled discussions with voting details to follow.
“For state directors, the general membership meeting is mandatory. We don’t want to risk the health and wellbeing of our members who may have underlying health conditions,” APHA President Casey West said. “We also don’t want to unnecessarily contribute to the spread of COVID-19 by meeting in close proximity where social distancing will be difficult, if not impossible, to maintain.”
In addition, some states are beginning mandatory quarantine and testing for those who leave their respective states and then return, adding another challenge for State Directors. Reports of a vaccine in the near future put the date at widespread distribution at sometime in the spring, lessening the chances that a February convention can safely occur in a live setting.
APHA will work through its committees to initiate some pre-Convention training to minimize the potential for technical problems. Attendees will use an enterprise version of Zoom that will give easy access and viewing of the addresses from Executive Director Billy Smith, CFO Jenny Mathis, President Casey West and President-Elect Alison Umberger.
Why don’t we postpone it?
At this point COVID cases are increasing in many areas of the country. Postponing doesn’t give us much assurance that we will be COVID free and able to confidently and safely host a live meeting like Convention.
Postponing would likely mean the Convention would be either on top of the World Show or our Fall event or during critical planning for those events in the weeks prior, as well as falling during peak showing times, making it difficult for staff to produce/coordinate and for members/directors to attend.
Why don’t we wait until January to make this decision?
Canceling within a certain period creates a substantial penalty from the host hotel. These kinds of cancelation penalties are standard in the hotel industry. By making this decision now, we are exercising financial responsibility to our membership.
Will we be able to speak during the Convention?
Yes. Committees will deliberate in advance of the Convention. Staff, director and board candidates will present pre-recorded presentations during the Convention. Committee chairs will make live reports and State Directors and members will be able to participate. These meetings will be publicized to the membership.
Won’t this represent the end to a live Convention meeting in the future?
Not at all. We know the importance of face-to-face deliberation, but with COVID cases spiking, some states not allowing reentry into their state without quarantine and a vaccine unlikely to be widely available until the spring, it doesn’t make sense to put our State Directors at risk when there’s an alternative for 2021.
Convention 2021 details will be posted at apha.com/events/convention when available.