It is with very heavy hearts that we announce the cancellation of ISA2020 in Honolulu. As we’re sure everyone knows, the challenges presented by the growing COVID-19 health crisis adversely impacted attendance and sponsorships, severely impacted travel and degraded the ability to hold a large conference for the foreseeable future. As a result, and in consultation with ISA’s Executive Committee, we feel compelled to make the very difficult decision to cancel this year’s convention.
In getting to this decision point, we considered the health and welfare of ISA members as the primary factor in making this decision, while relying on the guidance provided by local, federal global health, and policy officials. A second major factor in our decision was the accelerating rate at which governments and universities have imposed travel restrictions over the past week. These restrictions have led to a large number of withdrawals from ISA2020 in just the past few days. These restrictions not only impact attendance, but also prevent ISA from hosting the conference. Earlier this week, the Governor of the state of Connecticut, where ISA is headquartered at the University of Connecticut, imposed a travel ban for all state employees. This travel ban by our state government renders ISA unable to bring its staff to Hawaii for the convention, making it impossible to run a convention.
We also fully recognize that this decision will affect ISA members in a wide variety of ways. As we now shift from convention preparation to cancellation management, that brings an entirely new set of challenges for ISA and its members. Many of you have already withdrawn from the convention and are awaiting further answers from HQ. Across the board, ISA will be developing processes for handling these issues in the coming days. We ask for your patience as that process develops and we announce how things will work. We will also provide guidance on a range of other questions and issues as soon as we possibly can.
Please take immediate steps to cancel your hotel reservations directly to ensure you will not be charged. We also encourage you to contact your airline to determine whether they will provide you with a refund or travel credit.
We will hold a virtual Governing Council meeting in the near future to keep the business of ISA moving forward. That will be scheduled soon and the relevant materials will follow.
In sum, this is a decision that none of us in ISA leadership wanted to make. The decision does entail significant costs that will impact the way we do our work for several years to come. But after assessing all the factors in front of us and listening to input from ISA members over the past several weeks, we strongly believe that this is the best option for ISA at this time.
Thanks for your understanding and for being involved with and supporting ISA.
Cameron Thies, President
Helen Milner, President-Elect
Patrick James, Past President
Mark A. Boyer, Executive Director