Postponing the Linked Learning Institute
After careful consideration and several conversations with many of you today, it is with a heavy heart that I have to announce that we have decided to postpone the Linked Learning 2020 Institute, which was scheduled to take place March 16-17, 2020 in Long Beach, CA.
I am sure you all know this difficult decision was not one we made lightly. In the last 24 hours, we have received emails from many of you expressing excitement about the Institute and urging us to move forward as planned. At the same time, we have also heard expressed concerns about attending amid further developments of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and ever-changing district protocols designed to keep staff and students safe. Your encouragement and willingness to share your concerns openly is incredibly inspiring and both illustrates the power of this movement and our collective partnership.
As I mentioned in today’s earlier email, the health, safety, and overall well-being of our partners will always be the Alliance’s number one priority. We have been monitoring the situation closely and have been in close contact with the Long Beach Department of Public Health, the California Department of Public Health, and Long Beach Unified School District. As many of you know, the situation is evolving constantly, and as of late this afternoon, there is now a confirmed case of COVID-19 in Long Beach. This very sad turn of events must be considered along with the fact that the State of California, Los Angeles County, Santa Clara County, City of San Francisco, and City of Long Beach have all declared a State of Emergency. Government health agencies are advising the public of the risks associated with attending large-scale meetings or events and the California Department of Public Health is advising event organizers to create an emergency contingency plan for how to modify, cancel, or postpone their gathering if a COVID-19 outbreak occurs in their community. In addition, many of the school districts which had planned to send large teams to the Institute are now restricting non-essential travel. We have taken all these developments and your invaluable feedback into account in making what is a very difficult decision to postpone the Institute.
This year’s Institute was designed to be a venue for the educators and partners that make Linked Learning possible to gather, learn, and grow together in a cohesive effort to propel the movement forward. Rest assured that this continues to be our vision for the Institute whether that comes to fruition in the form of a virtual convening, a series of regional Institutes, or a completely rescheduled large in-person event for a future date to be determined. We are currently exploring every possible option to ensure that all of you, and in turn your students who are so well served by you, reap the full benefits of the Institute.
Words cannot adequately express our disappointment, or the gratitude we feel for each and every one of you. We ask now for your understanding and patience as we work to find the right path forward given the event cancellation. We are in active conversations with the hotel and will provide registered attendees and facilitators updates regarding contingency plans, as soon as we can. In the meantime, please know that we are deeply committed to bringing you all—the country’s most inspiring and thoughtful educational leaders—together in the near future.
Please do not hesitate to contact me or any member of the Alliance team with any immediate questions or concerns, and please do stay tuned for positive updates coming your way soon. Thank you for the continued partnership and support.