NATIONAL AMBUCS CANCELS ALL REGIONAL CONFERENCES IN RESPONSE TO CORONAVIRUS
In response to the outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the National AMBUCS Board of Directors held an emergency conference call on March 12, 2020. With an intense focus on the health and well-being of our membership and those we serve, the Board made the difficult, but proactive, decision to cancel all originally scheduled 2020 Regional Conferences. We will instead offer web-based alternatives, to be scheduled at the discretion of each Region Director. It was imperative that we inform the full membership of this decision immediately. Members in each region will soon receive additional information from their respective Region Director.
Our entire Board is aware this decision will result in financial ramifications for some individuals, chapters and regions. Many of you have booked rooms, made travel plans, signed contracts and paid deposits to hotels and other venues. You have the commitment of the entire national leadership team that we will advocate on your behalf to seek refunds, secure releases from contracts and/or alternative dates, etc.
Primary factors considered in making this critical decision are:
- Advisories from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The CDC has clearly stated, “The risk of exposure to COVID-19 is increased in crowded settings such as conferences, concerts, sporting events, religious gatherings and use of mass transit.”
- Concern for those we serve. Many of the children and adults served by our organization have chronic medical conditions that put them at greater risk of contracting the virus. Some of these same individuals had been invited to play key roles at this year’s regional conferences, as keynote speakers, entertainers and, of course, Amtryke recipients.
- Concern for our membership. Many of our members fall into the age group identified by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as being at risk.
- Liability concerns. In light of persistent health advisories and the growing list of cancellations of similar events, our organization could not take the risk of being held liable for the subsequent illness or death of a member, guest or recipient of our services.
- Financial ramifications. Even in the best of times, hosting a Regional Conference is an expensive proposition for host regions and chapters. Many regions were already having difficulty meeting their minimum target numbers for registrations. This health crisis has made that proposition exponentially more challenging. Simply put, it was going to be nearly impossible to hold a financially successful conference.
- Potential public relations consequences. Though we certainly hope it’s unlikely, if a member or recipient of AMBUCS services contracted the virus because we failed to take action, the integrity and mission of our organization would be questioned.
- Ongoing concerns. Our Board’s concern for those we serve and for our membership extends well beyond Regional Conferences. If your AMBUCS Chapter has scheduled events in the near future (Amtryke giveaways or rodeos, meetings, social events, fundraisers, ramp builds, etc.) that may pose similar risk, we ask that you consider the risk level of each event in determining if the event should be held, postponed, or if alternative arrangements should be made (e.g. meeting by phone or online, delivering Amtrykes to recipient’s homes if appropriate, or asking families to pick up Amtrykes in a safe small-group setting, etc.).
We recognize and thank you for all the hard work that so many of you have put into preparing for your conferences and regret the inconvenience this has caused.