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CSCA COVID-19 Update

Dear CSCA Members and Attendees:

It is with great sadness and disappointment that we announce that CSCA 2020 will not be taking place in Chicago this April. As of this point, Illinois has declared a state of emergency. Several conferences in the area have already canceled. The CDC is recommending that those over 60 or with compromised immune functioning not leave the house or fly.

This was a tough decision for the CSCA leadership team. Everyone has worked hard on this conference, especially our First Vice-President Alberto González and the unit planners. We are genuinely sorry that we will not experience "Borders and Breakthroughs" this year in person. Thank you for your hard work. 

In the following days, we will explore a "virtual option" for CSCA. However, with the time remaining, the cost, and the fact that 50% of CSCA's panels are discussion panels, this option might not be feasible. As such, we are asking for your patience in the next few weeks. As we explore the possibility of a virtual conference, we will not be processing refunds. We hope to make an announcement by early next week about this option and then reopen the processing of refunds if a virtual conference is not a possibility. That said, if you want a refund, you will get a refund. 

Financially, we have plenty in reserves to cover this possibility. We owe sincere gratitude to our Finance Chairs who have done such an excellent job with our endowment. We understand that some of you may have bought nonrefundable airline tickets. We are truly sorry for your expense, but we feel that it is not the right time to hold CSCA.Helping to flatten the curve of COVID-19 is something we can and should do as an organization. Our members' health and safety are of the utmost importance.  

We are definitely in trying times for CSCA, but we will come out stronger.

Warmest regards to the CSCA family and best wishes during this global crisis. We look forward to the hugs and handshakes in person next year.

Chad McBride, President

Chad Edwards, Executive Director

What about my registration fee? 

Once we decide about the virtual option, we will let you know. If we end up not having any version of CSCA20, we will automatically start processing refunds. This action will take some time as Kathie Cesa is the only person who can handle these refunds. Please do not email her. 

If we go with a virtual option, we will have details early next week about refunds or prices for this option. You will be able to get a refund if you request it.

What about schools/organizations that paid for an ad or donation?

Please consider letting us “hold” your ad or donation until next year. This would help the organization if we can spread the cost out over two years. Chad Edwards will reach out to you for ideas. If we go virtual, we might ask you use your ad or donation for that option. At any rate, you will be given a refund if you ask. For banner ads, we will not refund these as they will cost CSCA a lot in fees to process. Instead, we will feature your banner ad on social media. Thanks for your understanding regarding banner ads.

What about my hotel?

You will need to cancel with your hotel.

What about my flight?

When you call your airline, be sure to tell them that your conference was canceled. Some airlines have been lenient due to COVID-19. You could always hold on to your ticket for a few weeks and see if the airlines cancel.   

How will interest groups elect new leaders?

We are working on this and other related issues. We will have more information in the following weeks as we work through these issues.

How much will this decision cost the organization?

This is a good question. At this time, we have a rough idea and know that financially we can afford this action. After we sort out the complexities of this year, we will have a transparent accounting for the membership. 

What steps did CSCA take before this action?

CSCA leadership has been discussing COVID-19 for the last few weeks nearly every day. We have been in contact with our hotel consultants, emergency management experts, and insurance providers. In addition to the hotel procedures that were going in place, we purchased our own hand sanitizer stations which will become a part of future CSCA conferences.  

Why was the decision made now?

With the CDC recommendations, the State of Illinois declaration, and many members deciding not to attend, we thought it was wise to make the decision now to give members time to change flights, hotels, car rentals, etc. Additionally, making the decision now gives just enough time to go virtual if it works out.

Will my paper or panel still count on my CV?

Yes*. We will send out potential language you might want to use on your CV. *It depends on your particular school to be honest. That said, please encourage your committees to be lenient regarding this issue especially for graduate students and assistant/associate faculty. COVID-19 has the potential to be a global pandemic…let’s have some grace and show kindness. If we have a virtual option, it will be listed the same as it normally would appear.

What if I want to submit my paper or panel to another conference?

Assuming, we did not have a virtual conference and if you remove your paper or panel from your CV, please feel free to submit to another conference. 

My paper or panel won an award. Do I still get the check or plaque? 

Yes. It will take us a while to process these as they are last priority at this point. The awards this year are still being given. Or, please consider donating your award check to one of the endowed awards. 

Finally, what can I do to help?

Great question! First, please be patient as we sort out the issues of canceling the best communication conference in the world. With the exception of our amazing member services person, Kathie Cesa, CSCA is an all-volunteer association. Second, promote your CSCA connection. This organization is strong because of the members. Third, send emails and notes to your friends and family. Tell them how much they mean to you. Finally, wash your hands and stay home if you are sick! We want to see all of you next year in Ohio! We will have much to celebrate next year. Much love to all.

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