From MSEA President Cheryl Bost: In ways big and small, the coronavirus pandemic has reshaped our daily lives and the events that we look forward to year after year. At MSEA, one of the highlights of our year is the MSEA Convention in Ocean City. We’ve spent the last several weeks discussing this year’s convention, scheduled for October 16-17, and evaluating how we could balance the safety of delegates, running an effective and engaging meeting, and being responsible stewards of dues dollars.
The MSEA Board of Directors recently made a difficult, but necessary, decision to hold this year’s convention virtually rather than in person. Our vote was unanimous.
Here are some of the reasons why we made this decision:
- At this point, gatherings the size of the convention are not permissible under Gov. Hogan’s executive order. An event of our size is categorized as “high risk” by Maryland’s Roadmap to Recovery. According to the Roadmap, “there is no realistic timeline yet from any of the scientific experts for achieving this level.” In other words, we have no idea whether the state would even allow us to hold the convention in October.
- In order to allow for social distancing at the convention, the additional cost to MSEA, and likely many locals, would be significant because of the need to rent more space so attendees could be seated further from one another, among other key items.
- Protecting the health and safety of our delegates, members, and attendees is of critical importance to us. The way we can keep everyone the safest and conduct the essential business of the representative assembly is through holding a virtual convention October 16-17.
While a virtual convention will be quite different, I am confident that we will still have an engaging, empowering, and exciting event. There will be much more information to come so that all delegates have the information they need to meaningfully participate in the RA. Please continue to hold delegate elections, no delegate appointments are permitted. We are also working on how and when to best conduct workshops this year. Look for more information and updates on that front as well.
This year’s convention will look different. It will be conducted a bit differently. And we will definitely miss being together in person. But what makes the convention so special is the common purpose that motivates us, the collective vision that we craft together, and the fun that we have—and without a doubt, all of those will be on full display this year as well. I’m excited for the convention, and I know that it will be a great one.