Clarity2020 in the Time of Cholera . . . or COVID-19
If you are like us, you have been preoccupied with the current COVID-19 crisis. We have no crystal ball and apparently no one else does either. We don’t know when this pandemic will abate, when travel restrictions will be lifted, when we can gather again in groups of more than 200, whether it has a resurgence in the fall, or anything else.
What is strikingly clear during this global crisis is the importance of our conference and the work we all do daily. The daily barrage of disastrous communications, often from people who should know better, are in stark contrast to the messages that follow plain-language practices.
The jarring realignment of our lives as we adjust to social distancing takes its toll as we try to contain the spread of COVID-19: working from home, cancellation of events from birthday parties to book clubs to major sporting and cultural events. And still we face the overall anxiety of just not knowing.
So, in the face of these unknowns, here is what we at Clarity2020 are doing and what we suggest you do:
- What are we at Clarity2020 doing?
- We are not over-reacting; we are planning that this conference will occur; and we want to protect our community.
- We are checking updates from the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the latest information about the pandemic.
- We are talking with the Boards of Clarity and the Center for Plain Language about reasonable and safe options for the conference.
- We will update you with the additional information we have by April 1.
- What can you do?
- Submit a proposal for Clarity2020 just like you typically would. In fact, we are extending the deadline to March 31 because with the general disruption of life, we should give you more time. Let this be a piece of normalcy and sanity in your life.
- On the other hand, you may not want to
- register for the conference or pre-conference workshops,
- book your flight, or
- book lodging.
- If you do register, book a flight or lodging anyway, take these precautions:
- Be sure your flight and lodging are refundable. If you use a site, like Expedia, Travelocity, VRBO, or Air BNB, getting that refund can be difficult, so be extra cautious.
- Getting travel insurance that allows you to cancel for “fear of coronavirus” is extraordinarily difficult, if not impossible. Even a “cancel for any reason” policy may not cover you, so read the fine print carefully.