It is with great disappointment that we are announcing the cancellation of the 20th Conference of the IHSS in Estes Park, Colorado, USA and instead we are planning to hold a virtual meeting. Anyone who paid a registration fee will receive a refund within the next couple of weeks. We have discussed the 20th Conference at length with the IHSS Board and came to the conclusion that this was the only reasonable course of action. Although there is hope for an end to the COVID-19 pandemic with the recent release of several vaccines, the timeline for vaccinations to occur is still very much unclear, not only in the USA but around the world. Thus, all of this uncertainty regarding the progress of vaccinations as well as the ability to travel within and between countries makes it extremely challenging for attendees to plan a trip to Colorado, especially for those coming from outside the USA. We were concerned about the likelihood of very low attendance at an in-person meeting as well as the safety of our friends and colleagues who elected to attend the meeting, many of whom would need to travel great distances.
As a substitute for an in-person meeting, the plan is to hold the 20th Conference of the IHSS virtually. We are currently working on plans for hosting this virtual meeting and more details will be forthcoming. The expectation is that virtual meeting will be held on similar dates as the rescheduled in-person event, August 15-21, 2021. We realize that a virtual meeting is not the same experience as getting to see friends and colleagues face-to-face. Nevertheless, we consulted with the IHSS Board and all were in agreement that the Society membership needs to get together somehow in order to discuss science, share ideas, and conduct the business of the Society. We simply cannot wait another year to have a meeting.
In closing, although you may be disappointed upon hearing the news about the in-person Conference in Estes Park, we hope that you will be able to take time to join us for the virtual meeting. We also hope that you remain safe and healthy, and we look forward to seeing you on-line this August at the virtual meeting.
Ray Hozalski and Fernando Rosario-Ortiz
More information can be found at the conference website.