Greetings! We have debated long and hard about the August Conference. Looking at the factors such as, time to prepare, venue cost, continued restrictions, and attendance, we have concluded that it would be in the best interest for the Association for us to forgo an in-person Conference and to have another Virtual Conference in August. We will have the Virtual Conference on August 26-28 of 2021. Some of the classes will be live and some recorded. We will once again have the classes open for an extended period for plenty of opportunity for you to attend all the classes. Each class will be available in an On Demand Format three (3) hours after its initial start time. Watch them when you can.
Time to prepare:
Normally, we start planning the Conference a year in advance and meet every month and more as needed to get everything setup. Thousands of hours of preparation that goes into one in-person conference that we are not able to accomplish in time for this year.
We typically spend $50,000 to $60,000 on just the Convention Center each year for all the space needed to conduct a Conference. With the restrictions that would still be in place, we would not be able to have every member attend and would have to limit registrations. We cannot select whom we want there and who misses out. We feel that would be unfair to all members.
The Mask Mandates just changed from mandated to guidelines. CDC guidelines and ADH regulations still limit large groups mandating social distancing and masks to be worn at all times while indoors. We do not have the personnel to monitor compliance and enforce the guidelines. Not all of our Membership will have taken the vaccine so all the guidelines would have to be followed.
As stated previously, we would not be able to rent enough space to host an in-person conference. We rely on attendance to be able to have discounts and cover the costs associated with the venue. With having reduced attendance, we would not be able to cover that costs which would bankrupt the Association.
We are working hard and trying to make the right decisions for the Association and its membership. The Pandemic has been a trying time that no organization was prepared for. We, like most other organizations, have tried to stay within the constraints of the By-Laws. Unfortunately, like most other Organizations, nothing is in our By-Laws that cover Pandemic Events, which make in person meetings, in person elections, and other business not possible. The By-Laws give the authority to the Board to act in the best interest of the Association when By-Laws cannot be adhered to such as Pandemic times. Your Board is doing its best to do the right things for the Association to protect its membership and be the best stewards for the Association that we can be.
We know everyone is working hard and we are trying to give you our best we can during these trying times. We miss being able to visit with you in person and to “network” after classes. We thank you for your continued membership and for all you do for EMS and the citizens of the State of Arkansas!
Thank you again,