Education

Coronavirus and Education Conferences: What’s Canceled

By Lesli A. Maxwell — March 07, 2020 4 min read
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UPDATED

Here’s the latest roundup of education-related conferences now canceled because of the spread of coronavirus:

The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) will not hold its annual meeting of some 8,000 educators in Denver, Colo., this November. The convention, planned for Nov. 19-22, will instead be held online. The Colorado Convention Center, where the event was scheduled to take place, is designated as a temporary field hospital for COVID-19 patients.

“NCTE supports Colorado’s decision to put safety first in this evolving crisis,” Emily Kirkpatrick, NCTE’s executive director, said in a June 1 statement. “We thank all of our partners in Denver and the state of Colorado who have worked with us to prepare for our annual event, including the Colorado Language Arts Society, our vibrant state affiliate. We now accelerate our planning for a virtual experience.”

The American Federation of Teachers will not hold its biennial national convention in person this year. Instead, the convention, which was scheduled to take place in Houston July 27-30, will be held online from July 28-30. “We considered several options and did a lot of soul searching, but ultimately, in the absence of a vaccine, and with adequate testing and tracing likely still months away, we could not, in good conscience, put people at risk by asking them to gather in a large group in Houston,” AFT President Randi Weingarten said in a statement.

The National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers’ union, announced that its annual Representative Assembly would be virtual this year and only focus on a few key action items. About 6,000 delegates were expected to come to Atlanta July 2-6. “We cannot take the risk of educators becoming infected and spreading the virus to students, their families and colleagues, or their communities,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García in an April 21 statement.

ISTE, the country’s largest educational technology event, announced it has postponed its annual conference from late June to Nov. 28-Dec. 1, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. The annual conference attracted about 17,000 attendees to its 2019 event in Philadelphia. In a March 27 statement, ISTE organizers said “after much consideration, and based on recommendations from health organizations and policymakers, we have determined that the best course of action to protect our community and have a truly productive convening is to postpone ISTE20 to later in the year.”

AERA, the American Educational Research Association, announced it would cancel its plan to hold its annual research conference virtually. It had previously shut down its scheduled in-person conference for next month in San Francisco. “The situation on the ground quite literally has changed in ways unimaginable on March 5, 2020, when the AERA Council decided to cancel holding a place-based meeting in San Francisco on April 17-21, 2020 and engage a virtual meeting,” said Felice Levine, AERA executive director, in a letter to the association’s members.

The New Schools Summit 2020, scheduled for May in Oakland, Calif., is canceled.

The Yale School of Management Leadership conference, set for April, is canceled.

The Consortium for School Networking, which represents the nation’s district technology officials, announced that its annual conference slated to take place in Washington, D.C., next week will instead be held virtually.

The TESOL International Association Board of Directors has canceled its 2020 International Convention & English Language Expo, scheduled for March 31 through April 3 in Denver, Colo.

The board of the Association for Education Finance and Policy has decided to convert its national conference from its physical location in Fort Worth, Texas, to virtual presentations. The sessions will still follow the same schedule on Central time, March 19-21.

The organizers of the ASU GSV summit, a major gathering of education businesses and others across the sector, are postponing their conference, which had been scheduled for March 30-April 1 in San Diego. The event has been rescheduled for Sept. 29-Oct. 1, “when we assume that the coronavirus will have abated,” conference officials said.

The Council of Chief State School Officers has canceled its annual legislative conference that had been scheduled for March 22-24 in Washington, D.C., and said it plans to offer webinars later this spring offering components of the conference, with the schedule still to be determined.

The National Association of State Boards of Education has canceled its March 22-24 legislative conference in Washington, but it is looking into hosting some virtual sessions for members.

The Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness has canceled its annual conference, scheduled for March 11-14 in Crystal City, Va. However, some of the sessions will be presented virtually here.

The Office of Special Education Programs has postponed its March 19 National Summit on Improving Effective Personnel for Children with Disabilities. OSEP also noted that when the event is rescheduled, it would also be live-streamed online.

ASCD’s Empower 20 conference set for March 12-16 in Los Angeles has been canceled, CEO Ranjit Sidhu has announced. This conference draws thousands of teachers, principals, instructional coaches, and other people who work directly in schools.

SXSW EDU set for next week in Austin, Texas has been called off.

The National Education Association canceled all meetings through the end of March, including its national leadership summit in Orlando and its gathering for education-support professionals in New Orleans.

The College Board canceled its “A Dream Deferred” conference, scheduled for March 11-13 in Chicago.

EdWeek’s Digital Education has more details on how other conference planners are saying they will address health and safety concerns arising from the spread of coronavirus.


Find more of EdWeek’s coverage of the novel coronavirus and its impact on schools.

A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.

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