In response to the global pandemic of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the current political situation in Guyana, and in consideration of the health and safety of conference participants, the CSA Executive unanimously voted on March 18, 2020, to postpone the CSA 2020 Annual Conference in Guyana. The Executive has also unanimously decided that CSA 2021 will be held in Guyana, under the same theme from May 31 to June 4, 2021. We regret having to make this difficult decision, but circumstances make hosting this conference in 2020 untenable.
The CSA Executive Board also made the decision to hold in place the current executive structure since we will not be able to hold elections as per the constitution. All members of the Executive have agreed to serve one additional year on the Executive to ensure that we have a successful conference and transition in 2021.
All papers and registration fees will be transferred over to CSA 2021. Those who are unsure about their ability to participate in 2021, or require refunds for any reason, can seek the refund of their conference registration fees. However, membership fees will not be transferred over to 2021, nor will refunds be granted for membership fees as these are due on a yearly basis. Members are asked to keep in mind that conference registration fees may increase in 2021, so if they seek refunds and later decide to participate in CSA 2021, they will be required to pay the new registration fee. Those who carry over their registration fees will be able to lock in the 2020 rate.
With regard to all CSA Awards and Grants Committees — namely Committees for Barbara Christian, Best Dissertation, George Priestley, Gordon K. & Sybil Lewis and Life Time Achievement Awards, as well as the Travel Grants Committee — all previously announced deadlines for 2020 remain effective. Applications submitted within the deadline will be carried over and considered for CSA 2021, unless applicants express the wish to withdraw from the competition. There will be no further call for submissions for awards and grants beyond the 2020 deadlines that are currently published on the CSA website; all applicants are thus advised to proceed accordingly.
The CSA 2020 Program Committee has agreed to continue working on the conference into 2021. CSA is also actively seeking ways to incorporate virtual/online participation in the conference for 2021. Program details and a re-opened call for papers will be communicated to you over the coming months.
In addition to our obligations to the well-being of our membership, the Board has a fiduciary responsibility to the Society. Please know that we are actively reviewing the financial implications of this decision. More information will be shared regarding the next steps, including updated cancellation policies, no later than Friday, April 3, 2020.
We continue to hope that the political situation in Guyana will resolve peacefully and in a way that upholds the integrity of the electoral process. We also hope that you all will take the necessary precautions for your health and safety at this challenging time for us all. We take this opportunity to thank you for your continued participation in CSA and to ask that you bear with us as we work through the details surrounding the postponement of the conference.
On behalf of the Board of Directors,
Tavis D. Jules, President
Kristina Hinds, Program Chair CSA 2020-2021