As you know, AAGE is busy planning our 2020 standalone conference in Toronto this summer, June 27-28, on the theme of “Aging and Social Justice.” A number of excellent abstracts have been submitted, and our review committee is just now in the process of assessing them. We are excited about the conference, and very much looking forward to it!
In the meantime, the situation around the COVID-19 virus is very fluid, and we must consider the possibility that this might affect our plans. For now, we are proceeding on the assumption that the conference will indeed happen, but want to let you know of some ways we will be taking the COVID-19 situation into account in our planning:
1) We will make choices to minimize up-front investments in the conference as much as possible, so as to minimize losses — for AAGE and for attendees — if it ends up being cancelled. For example, we will not arrange a dinner or catered lunches that would have to be paid in advance to the caterer, the costs of which would have to be built in to the conference registration fees. Instead, we will make reservations for a self-pay optional dinner, and will allow ample time in the conference schedule for people to self-organize small groups to go to lunch at one of the many excellent & reasonable restaurants nearby.
2) We will be looking into technologies and options for remote participation.
3) We will be following the official advice of the University of Toronto, on whether to continue or whether to cacnel, while also keeping apprised of the global response of governments and institutions. For now, the UT FAQ page on the coronavirus offers this response to the question, “should we be cancelling events?”
At this time, there is no significant risk of community transmission of COVID-19 in Canada. The Toronto Medical Officer of Health is not recommending postponement of events or limiting places where people gather in large numbers. Should the situation change, we will provide advice on this website.
Wishing good health to everyone,
Janelle Taylor (President)
Aaron Seaman (President-Elect)
Jean Schensul (Treasurer)
Fayana Richards (Secretary)