SLA Official Statement on the Coronavirus

April 3, 2020

The SLA Board of Directors and 2020 Annual Conference Advisory Council are excited to announce that the SLA 2020 Annual Conference, originally set for June 6-9 in Charlotte, North Carolina, has been rescheduled and will take place October 15-18.

The location of the conference—the Charlotte Convention Center—will remain unchanged, as will the conference hotels, the Westin Charlotte and the Charlotte Marriott City Center.

The spread of the COVID-19 virus had prompted SLA staff to reach out to the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, the convention center, and our partner hotels to arrange new conference dates later in the year to protect the health and well-being of the SLA community. With the new dates in hand, the Annual Conference Advisory Council can continue their efforts to plan an engaging and informative program.

To accommodate the date change, the conference and housing registration systems are being taken offline and updated. Individuals who have already registered for the conference and/or made housing reservations will be contacted within the next 30 days to review their options.

Please DO NOT attempt to contact SLA about conference registration or housing reservations until the systems have been updated and relaunched. SLA will share information about housing and conference registration as it becomes available.

We look forward to seeing you in Charlotte in October!



March 24, 2020

The continuing spread of the COVID-19 virus is prompting public and private organizations to impose more and broader restrictions on activities that bring people into contact with one another. SLA is complying with these restrictions—our staff are working remotely—and we ask that all SLA communities do so as well by refraining from conducting in-person events for the time being.

Although our 2020 Annual Conference is still several weeks away, we recognize that the uncertainty around the spread and duration of the virus and the accompanying travel and meeting restrictions may prevent many members from attending. At this time, the conference is
still scheduled to take place June 6-9 in Charlotte, North Carolina; in the meantime, we are exploring all options consistent with our mission to provide our members with accessible professional development opportunities.

We will provide additional information about the conference as we obtain a more complete picture of the available options. In the interim, we encourage you to take advantage of SLA's many resources, including online learning opportunities and emergency planning and response information, to keep your skills and knowledge current.

Thank you for supporting SLA and each other during these difficult times.

Sincerely,

Catherine Lavallée-Welch
2020 SLA President-Elect


March 12, 2020

In recognition of the growing number of employers that are cancelling or restricting travel due to the risks posed by coronavirus, SLA is extending the early bird registration deadline for the 2020 Annual Conference to Wednesday, May 13. The SLA Board of Directors, with the assistance of the 2020 Annual Conference Advisory Council, continues to monitor this situation.

In addition, after careful consideration, SLA Pharmaceutical & Health Technology Spring Meeting Planning Committee and SLA Leadership have made the difficult, but necessary decision to postpone the PHT Spring Meeting, scheduled for April 5-7 in Philadelphia. The decision was made in response to the potential dangers posed by the spread of COVID-19. We know how much the Spring Meeting means to the PHT Community, and we did not make this decision in haste. The 2020 PHT Spring Meeting has been rescheduled and will now take place November 1-4, 2020, at the same venue (Hilton at Penn’s Landing) in Philadelphia.

The SLA Board of Directors is paying close attention to the spread of COVID-19 and following the advice of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. The health and well-being of the SLA community is of foremost concern to us, and we will take all necessary precautions as the situation warrants. See below for previous communications shared.

Sincerely,

Catherine Lavallee-Welch
SLA 2020 President-Elect



March 9, 2020


With the implications of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak changing daily, the SLA Board of Directors continues to closely monitor this situation. Our highest priority and concern are the health and safety of everyone in the SLA community.

The SLA 2020 Annual Conference is scheduled to take place June 6-9 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Based on what we know today, and in accordance with the most recent guidance of the World Health Organization (WHO), U.S.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the North Carolina Division of Public Health, we are moving forward with the conference as scheduled. The 2020 Annual Conference Advisory Council will serve as a member advisory group to assist the SLA Board of Directors as the situation evolves.

SLA is implementing recommended precautions to take care of everyone who attends the event. SLA has put the following measures in place:

  • SLA will post signage at the conference to provide guidance on basic health and safety measures, such as handwashing and practicing good respiratory hygiene. Signage will also strongly encourage no handshaking and limiting personal contact between attendees.
  • SLA is in direct contact with our venue hosts, including the Charlotte Convention Center and Westin and Marriott hotels, to ensure steps are taken to help protect attendees from the spread of respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. These venues are prepared to respond accordingly, including taking heightened precautions in food handling, sanitization, and disinfection and cleaning measures. If necessary, SLA may adjust how food is served to ensure increased sanitation. Here are just some actions being taken by the Charlotte Convention Center to provide for the health and well-being of employees and guests. 
    • Cleaning crews have increased cleaning frequency, with special attention to high-touch areas (escalator rails, elevator buttons, stair handrails, etc.).
    • Additional sanitizer stations are being added.
    • Inventory levels for all soaps/sanitizers are adequate. More supplies have been preemptively ordered.
    • Food court tables/chairs and lounge areas (couches/chairs) are cleaned with increased frequency. 
    • Foot claws for all Charlotte Convention Center and NASCAR Hall of Fame restrooms are being installed.
    • The housekeeping team has added four additional team members on event days at the CCC/NHOF, one specifically to monitor soap/sanitizer dispensers and refill as needed.
    • Red anti-microbial cloths have been ordered for the CCC/NHOF and will be used specifically in high-touch areas. 
  • SLA has provided and will continue to provide educational information and updates for staff and members regarding any health and safety concerns related to COVID-19.
  • Webpages will be continually updated by Visit Charlotte charlottemeetings.com and charlottesgotalot.com as necessary.  

SLA members and other contributors have invested significantly in creating content (concurrent sessions, contributed papers, lightning talks, and posters) for the greater benefit of the SLA community and for their personal professional development. We want to ensure that this valuable work is shared, however the situation develops.

There are things all of us must do to combat the spread of airborne contagions. SLA communities continuing to hold in-person events now should add their events to the SLA Connect events calendar by March 18. SLA recommends reminding your participants of the following:

  • Wash or sanitize your hands regularly using hand sanitizer or soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds.
  • Sneeze or cough into your sleeve or a tissue.
  • If you are feeling unwell, we strongly encourage you to not attend an event until you are back in good health.

If your community has a larger event planned and might need help with the venue negotiations, please reach out directly to Amy Burke, SLA executive director, at aburke@sla.org.

We will continue to provide updates to the SLA Community in the Open Forum. 

Catherine Lavallee-Welch
SLA 2020 President-Elect


February 28, 2020

At this time, SLA is operating business as usual and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. We have no plans to postpone or cancel any of our events, including the 2020 SLA Annual Conference in Charlotte.

SLA continues to monitor the developments of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its global impact on our members, partners, conferences, exhibitions and events. We are gathering information as the situation evolves in order to understand the extent of its impact to our community.

However, as a global organization, we recognize already that certain areas of the world are suffering both health wise and economically. In response to these difficulties, we are encouraging our stakeholders that might face challenges in the near future in renewing their memberships or meeting other financial obligations to contact us at sla@sla.org. As a source for networking, knowledge and information, SLA will do our best to assist our stakeholders as much as possible.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has also requested all "influencers" such as associations, companies, well-known individuals, etc., to assist them in stopping incorrect information being spread around the world. For the most updated information on the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), refer to the WHO website at who.int and also please share this information as much as possible.


Catherine Lavallee-Welch
SLA 2020 President-Elect