COVID-19 has greatly impacted every aspect of life — the way we work, learn, interact with others, and our ability to gather. We have all been forced to make tough decisions and sacrifices to keep ourselves, our families, our co-workers, and our communities safe. In many cases, we had to make decisions in a matter of days to disrupt plans that were in place for many months.
The spring for NNPHI is usually abuzz with meetings, conferences, and other face-to-face networking opportunities for our members, partners, and public health colleagues. And, like many organizations around the country, we had to make the difficult, but necessary decision to postpone all events scheduled for the spring and summer of 2020 including our signature NNPHI Annual Conference. Our standard hotel contract addendum contains an impossibility of performance clause that allows NNPHI to cancel an agreement due to public health advisories. We had never invoked this clause until we faced COVID-19.
Although we are disappointed these events will not take place as we initially planned, our primary concern is always the well-being of our members and partners. Your health and safety aid in ensuring communities across our nation receive the invaluable support and programs they need from their state and local public health departments as well as public health institutes.
As we continue working to provide public health training and networking opportunities to improve population health, we have started engaging with members and partners more online. For example, we transitioned one of our pre-conference events for the Annual Conference to an online forum. As it turns out, we have been managing many ECHO series for several months. And our audio-visual partner has been managing online conferences for several years which places us in a good position to take our programs online. We anticipate offering more online convenings this fall.
We are a learning organization. We know there are lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic that will strengthen the public health workforce and change the way we serve our communities. As we plan and prepare for future convenings, we will take extra precautionary measures to keep attendees safe such as increasing the number of hand sanitizer stations, encouraging people to wash their hands frequently, and providing enough space for social distancing.
Although we are busy planning the new dates for our meetings and conferences, we will not host a face-to-face event of any size without seeking guidance from the CDC, other government health officials, and most importantly YOU.
We urge you to take every precaution and stay informed on the latest COVID-19 developments until we meet again.