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PSATS' 2020 Conference Final Decision


PSATS Looks Ahead to Turning 100 Next Year

May 4, 2020

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Did you ever have to make a decision that you REALLY didn’t like but knew it was the right thing to do? Of course you have, but it still isn’t easy.

Normally this time of year, we would be gathering for PSATS’ Annual Educational Conference and Exhibit Show. We would be together in Hershey starting another conference with the opening ceremony, looking forward to a jam-packed schedule of all that we had planned for you to create a meaningful experience and new ideas that you could take back home to your township. However, the coronavirus came along and changed our lives in many ways, including having to postpone the conference from its originally scheduled dates.

 

For many of you – and for the PSATS Executive Board and staff – this conference is the “crown jewel” event of our educational platform that we all look forward to every year. It’s our one time of year to come together to learn, network, meet new people, do business with our many exhibitors, adopt policy, and simply celebrate local democracy and governance.

 

Since we first announced the postponement of the conference, the board and staff have been researching and exploring options, meeting virtually, having conference calls, and hearing from exhibitors, members, instructors and state officials. We considered many options ranging from smaller regional events to virtual experiences – and everything in between.

 

After all of this, I need to inform you that the PSATS Executive Board has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 conference and instead concentrate the association’s focus and efforts on next year’s Centennial Celebration and PSATS’ 100th Anniversary!

 

While we all very much want life to return to normal, there are no guarantees. PSATS wants to be able to provide a quality educational and networking experience to you, but no conference is worth risking the health and safety of our members, exhibitors, sponsors, speakers, and guests.

 

There were more than a few unknowns that were considered:

1. Crowd size and social distancing challenges from the state Department of Health and CDC.

2. Potential restrictions on attendance depending on the area of the state where attendees live (even if the host location is green on the state map).

3. Uncertainties about members’ desires/willingness to travel or be in large gatherings.

4. Our member townships’ challenging financial positions as a result of lost tax revenue.

 

But, there is some good news!

 

You are now automatically registered for next year’s Centennial Celebration and PSATS’ 100th Birthday conference! We are going to transfer your registrations over to the 2021 Conference at this year’s rates! That’s right...no risk of a conference registration price increase for 2021. You will not need to re-register again next January but will have to make new hotel reservations. This applies to attendees, guests, exhibitors/vendors, and sponsors.

 

We are hoping that you will stay the course with us. Like you, PSATS is experiencing some financial challenges and will now have unrecoverable costs due to the conference cancellation. But, in the event you seek a refund now, the Executive Board also decided that there will be no cancellation penalties for the 2020 Conference registrations. Contact us at refund2020@psats.org in the next 30 days. If you do cancel and then change your mind, you will need to wait for the opening of registration in January to re-register and get hotel reservations.

 

More good news.... We will be converting many of the 2020 Conference workshops to virtual formats for your participation and knowledge. Instead of being able to attend only 5 workshops, you will now have the opportunity to participate in over 50 sessions, which addresses one of the challenges of having to choose between competing sessions.

 

We are making plans not only for next year’s conference but also for our Regional Forums this summer and fall. Look for more information soon about these. PSATS still believes education and information are critical services that you want and need but on a smaller scale right now. We are bringing you a variety of options, including: Webinar Wednesdays, our new virtual classrooms, on-demand training, and safe, in-person training following the Department of Health and CDC guidelines.

 

These past two months have been like no other in recent history. PSATS has been working hard to provide you with critical COVID-related information every day. At the same time, we know you have continued to provide your residents with the services they need and value. We are all in this together, and we will weather this crisis, just as we have in the past, and for another century of PSATS and township government. (FYI, the PSATS Conference was canceled only once before, in 1945, due to World War II.)

 

Together, let’s work to keep townships and PSATS strong and go forward with that same common-sense, can-do attitude that has served us well. Be safe, stay healthy, and continue to uphold the ideals of our democratic way of life.

 

For more details on the cancellation, click here.