After discussing the options for the annual ScienceWriters conference in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, CASW and the National Association of Science Writers have decided to replace the conference with a series of online activities this fall. The following joint statement was issued May 7, 2020:
Since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing and the National Association of Science Writers have been working closely together to determine the best course forward for the joint ScienceWriters2020 meeting.
Following a series of thoughtful, forward-thinking conversations among the meeting hosts and partners, we have together decided that it is unwise to continue with a plan for a large, in-person October gathering, given the unknown and potentially high level of risk for individuals.
We will postpone our gathering in Colorado, originally scheduled for October 2020, until the fall of 2021. The University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus are excited to welcome us to the Rocky Mountains next year, and we are delighted that we will still have an opportunity to gather in Colorado as a community. We will meet for ScienceWriters2022 in Chicago as planned, and move our Memphis conference to 2023. We are incredibly grateful to our hosts in Colorado and Tennessee for their flexibility and deep empathy.
We are saddened at having to forgo a beloved annual tradition, if just for a year. More than ever, it seems essential to see and support our colleagues. Yet with this grief comes opportunity. Together NASW and CASW will develop a series of virtual conference events for October. In addition to creating opportunities for professional connection and learning, these online events will provide an opportunity for those who have not experienced a ScienceWriters conference to participate with no travel required. We will spend the summer working with session organizers, speakers, and partner organizations to think about the best ways to engage and learn together online. We will use the time to think creatively about how to provide professional development sessions, science briefings and discussions, networking events, and even a tour or two in engaging, virtual formats.
We invite you to stay tuned to ScienceWriters2020.org for details on our evolving virtual experiment, and we send our best wishes for continued health and safety to you and yours.
Executive Director Rosalind Reid added:
"I'd like to extend special thanks to our hosting partners: the collaborating University of Colorado campuses, who were preparing to host this year's conference, and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, which was to host ScienceWriters2021 and will now be our host in 2023. Both hosting groups have been extraordinarily thoughtful and generous in working with us to reschedule these events.
"In addition," Reid said, "CASW was working with several partners to offer training activities this fall, in addition to our New Horizons in Science program. We hope to be able to present parts of the science program and workshops online this fall, with a fuller program when science writers are able to meet in person."