Last Update: March 12th
Per the mandate of the Governor of Oregon (https://www.opb.org/news/article/coronavirus-large-gathering-ban-oregon-kate-brown/), all gatherings of more than 250 people are banned. After consultation with the ACM, we regret to inform you that SIGCSE 2020 is canceled. All events associated with the Technical Symposium for the remainder of the week will not meet.
Please allow the leadership team to determine what our next steps will be. As soon as we have more details, we will share them with you through our usual communication channels (email to registered participants, posting on the conference website, and messages via Whova). We thank you for your patience as we work through the conference cancelation process.
Continue to observe the recommendations from health agencies to protect yourselves and your communities from getting and spreading respiratory illnesses.
We’re on the ground or en route to Portland. We are looking forward to SIGCSE 2020 this week!
The Oregon Health Authority has issued guidance that recommends against closing schools and campuses where no cases of COVID-19 are present (https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/ORDHS/bulletins/27fffdb). The Oregon Convention Center has not had any known cases as of March 9, 2020 (https://www.oregoncc.org/en/venue-2020-coronavirus-covid-19-faq).
If you are not planning to attend, whether or not you want a refund, PLEASE let us know by the end of the day TODAY (Monday, March 9, PDT), especially if you are scheduled to present at the conference. We are trying our best to get an accurate picture of participation so we can fully understand the impact on the program and properly organize our people on-site. The sooner you can inform us, the better. Details about how to send us program updates or cancel your registration are given below.
Thank you to everyone who has let us know your status. If you need to change anything (you’re canceling or you found a substitute), let us know!
Here are our latest numbers for registered attendees and program impacts.
Cancelations to Date
Last week, 57 people registered, and 3 have registered today. Our current registered number is approximately 1275. For reference, the final attendance count at SIGCSE 2019 was 1876.
Thank you to all who have let us know about how their situation impacts the program. We have currently confirmed over half of the presentations, but this number may change. There are also 15% of sessions that are unknown; we don’t have a clear go/no-go from the author(s) about their session. Sister and Supporter Sessions are not listed because there is too much in flux to provide concrete details. We hope to know more tomorrow and are updating Whova as fast as we can.
|Pre-Symposium||17||8 (47%)||N/A||7 (41%)||2 (12%)|
|Papers||171||98 (57%)||57(33%)||0 (0%)||16 (9%)|
|Panels||26||6 (23%)||N/A||10 (38%)||10 (38%)|
|Special Sessions||12||10 (83%)||N/A||2 (17%)||0 (0%)|
|Workshops||28||14 (50%)||N/A||13 (46%)||1 (4%)|
|ACM SRC||25||12 (48%)||N/A||10 (40%)||3 (12%)|
|BOFs||30||23 (77%)||N/A||4 (13%)||3 (10%)|
|Demos||10||3 (30%)||N/A||4 (40%)||3 (30%)|
|Lightning Talks||19||11 (58%)||5 (26%)||1 (5%)||2 (11%)|
|Nifty||6||0||5 (83%)||0 (0%)||1 (17%)|
|Posters||114||46 (40%)||N/A||43 (38%)||25 (22%)|
|TOTAL||458||232 (51%)||67 (15%)||92 (20%)||67 (15%)|
For Program updates, please use the following form (if you’ve already filled it out and you have no updates, thank you): https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfshXRzh4bXPRbZ1PPNyKdJy4QVrHFop5PAXukusg0czUYfbg/viewform. You can also cc firstname.lastname@example.org on any emails to email@example.com.
If you need to cancel, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Cancellation Request” to start the cancellation process. No explanation is necessary.
We look forward to seeing many of you in Portland in a few days!
Jian Zhang and Mark Sherriff SIGCSE 2020 Symposium Co-Chairs
Sarah Heckman, Pam Cutter, and Alvaro Monge SIGCSE 2020 Program Co-Chairs
Manuel Pérez-Quiñones SIGCSE Technical Symposium Board Liaison
Adrienne Decker SIGCSE Board Chair
This morning at 11:00 AM PDT, the Governor of Oregon declared a State of Emergency in order to allocate more funds to address the COVID-19 situation. From the press conference:
“This news is concerning for all Oregonians, but my resolve and that of my administration to address this public health crisis is unchanged,” the governor said Sunday. “This emergency declaration gives the Oregon Health Authority and the Office of Emergency Management all the resources at the state’s disposal to stem the spread of this disease. We will do everything it takes, within our power and in coordination with federal and local officials, to keep Oregonians safe.” https://www.koin.com/news/health/coronavirus/gov-brown-declares-a-state-of-emergency-for-oregon/
At the present time, large events are not affected; the purpose of the State of Emergency is to free up funds to support Oregon’s response to COVID-19. We currently have staff on the ground in Portland, and en route there, and we are reaching out to our contacts in the locale to understand the impact of the declaration on SIGCSE 2020. We likely will have a more solid understanding of the situation once we reach business hours PDT on Monday, March 9th.
We recognize that some of your institutions have banned travel to locations with declared states of emergency. Please review your status and ensure your travel plans are in order as soon as possible. If you need to cancel, please email email@example.com with the subject line “Cancellation Request” to start the cancellation process. No explanation is necessary. If there are program impacts, please cc firstname.lastname@example.org with specific details, including submission title and session information.
We cannot change our course at this time given the currently available information from Portland. Our goal is to keep you informed with the latest updates via email, and we will follow up as we have additional clarity about the situation. We have been working diligently each day to process cancellation requests and program changes. We will communicate with you on Monday as soon as we have additional information with updates on attendee numbers and the impact on the program as we understand it. If anything changes with our situation before our planned Monday update, we will send something out sooner.
Again, we want to thank everyone for their patience and understanding over the past 10 days as the leadership team and the SIGCSE board have worked through a challenging situation. We sincerely appreciate those of you that have reached out with words of encouragement as we have constantly discussed and evaluated every option that was suggested with the ACM, our planning company, and our contacts in Portland.
Today, March 6, the SIGCSE board voted for SIGCSE 2020 to continue as planned. Barring intervention from the government (federal, state, or local), the Oregon Health Authority, or the Oregon Convention Center, the Technical Symposium will happen next week.
After we sent our update on March 3 with our relaxed cancellation policy, here is how folks responded:
All of the requests through Thursday and some from Friday have been processed through Cvent. Our current registered number is 1634 after 40 new registrations came in as well. For reference, the final attendance count at SIGCSE 2019 was 1876.
Yesterday, the Program Chairs sent out a request for authors to let us know their plans whether they were coming or not. As of this writing (about 2:00pm EST):
Thus, there has been some impact to the program, but not an unreasonable amount and the attendance count is still quite high.
We have heard from several members of the community requesting that we cancel the Technical Symposium. Canceling an event the size of the Technical Symposium for an organization like ours is incredibly difficult and has severe, lasting implications on the future of the SIG and the other conferences it supports. We recognize that similar events have canceled with the same amount of notice, but many others are still going on, including events currently planned at the Oregon Convention Center.
However, let us be abundantly clear:
Note that we have made some minor additions to the refund policy, specifically with respect to student and exhibitor registrations, which can be found at the end of this email.
We will do everything we can in partnership with the Oregon Convention Center to make the Technical Symposium as safe as possible for attendees:
We deeply understand that coming to the Technical Symposium is usually the highlight of each of our academic years. It’s a time when we get to not only relax with friends, but also get incredibly excited about our passion for computing education. It’s one of the few times many of us get to see certain friends from across the country and world, catching up and swapping stories and teaching ideas. The leadership team has been working hard to try to make SIGCSE 2020 special as we kick off the next 50 years of the Technical Symposium by adding new events like the movie night, affinity groups, and a modified celebration lunch on Saturday.
We sincerely wish that we were getting together under happier circumstances next week. But we will get together and we will still share our excitement with those attending and with those keeping an eye on social media at home. We will try to keep everyone engaged via the #sigcse2020 hashtag. The Technical Symposium will undoubtedly feel different this year, but that does not mean we are not thrilled for you to share the work that you have all spent so much time preparing and polishing. If you choose not to come for whatever reason, we understand. We will miss you and hope we will see you at SIGCSE 2021 in Toronto.
We understand and respect that there will be a portion of our community that will not feel comfortable participating in SIGCSE 2020. It is our desire to be as accommodating as possible to those who do not feel that they can attend for whatever reason, whether it is based on government or employer restrictions, your own health if you are not feeling well, or personal choice. However, we also have to acknowledge that at this point, we have made financial obligations that we are contractually required to fulfill. To that end, our policy regarding refunds is as follows:
The conference refund policy (https://sigcse2020.sigcse.org/attendees/#registration - a refund with $100 processing fee) will be extended through Tuesday, March 10, at 11:59 PM PDT. To process your cancellation, please email email@example.com with the subject line “Cancellation request.”
Individuals who are explicitly banned from attending because of official government travel bans will be issued full refunds by request to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Government Travel Restriction.” Requests must be received by Tuesday, March 10, at 11:59 PM PDT.
Individuals whose registration fees were equivalent to or less than the $100 processing fee (specifically students and exhibitors) will be charged a $25 processing fee instead.
Unfortunately, we cannot offer any refunds to pre-symposium or affiliated events. Labor and convention center costs for those spaces have already been paid and that money will not be returned to us by the Oregon Convention Center.
If you have already canceled through Cvent, we will retroactively work through the system to issue a refund, per the policy above. Also, if you are a student or exhibitor and have canceled, we will also work to issue your corrected refund as soon as possible. Please allow us sufficient time to identify these individuals and process the refund.
We request your help by confirming your plans for attending and presenting at the conference by Sunday, March 8th at 11:59pm PDT. This applies to authors of any item that’s part of the conference: pre-symposium events, papers, panels, special sessions, workshops, ACM SRC, BOFs, demos, lightning talks, Nifty assignments, and posters.
Please note that if you decide to cancel your registration, that will not change the appearance of your submission in the proceedings. The proceedings are already available at https://dl.acm.org/doi/proceedings/10.1145/3328778.
While some of you may have sent us an email about your attendance or presentation, it’s better for our record-keeping if all authors complete the following form at your earliest convenience.
Submit by Sunday, March 8th at 11:59pm PDT - https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfshXRzh4bXPRbZ1PPNyKdJy4QVrHFop5PAXukusg0czUYfbg/viewform
Note that this form is NOT a commitment, so you are welcome to update if your situation changes. But it is helping us better understand impacts to the SIGCSE 2020 program. We will be updating Whova as we identify video and canceled presentations. This will take some time as it is a highly manual process.
Our preference, if you are unable to attend SIGCSE 2020, is to find a substitute for your presentation as per our policies (https://sigcse2020.sigcse.org/attendees/policies.html). However, this may not be an option, so we are updating our original recommendations for those unable to attend SIGCSE 2020.
For tracks with video options (as described below), we request that videos fit within required time-frames and are provided in standard video formats (e.g., mp4). We ask that links to downloadable videos are provided to email@example.com and session organizers (for panels/special sessions) by 11:59pm PDT on Tuesday, March 10.
We have received requests to use services like Zoom or Hangouts. We will NOT be providing connection services for remote presenters to join. We will not ban trying remote presentations, but there are NOT wired connections in the room and the wifi may not be sufficient. Our contracted WiFi connection is 3Mbps down. According to Zoom’s info, 1.5 Mbps down and up is the base recommendation, but there will be many people connected.
Due to logistical challenges, we will be unable to make these videos public or to live stream other parts of the Technical Symposium. We will, however, be recording the keynote speakers and will make those videos available after the conference.
There must be at least one on-site organizer for a pre-symposium event. Organizers unable to attend may provide a pre-recorded video to their on-site colleagues and the Program & Symposium Chairs or try for remote presentations. Please work with your co-organizers to determine the best format for the event within organizer constraints.
Authors may provide a link to a 20-minute, downloadable video. Videos must be in a standard playable format. Please send a download link to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 11:59pm PDT on Tuesday March 10. The link will be shared with the session chair for your session.
There must be at least two attending on-site panelists or special session organizers for the panel or special session to run. Organizers unable to attend may provide a pre-recorded video to their on-site colleagues and the Program Chairs or try for a remote presentation. Please work with your co-organizers to determine the best format for the session within organizer constraints.
Because the value of the panels and special sessions is the interaction with the organizers, we will not be running sessions where there is only one organizer or all organizers are remote.
There must be at least one attending on-site workshop organizer for the workshop to run. Organizers unable to attend may provide a pre-recorded video to their on-site colleagues and the Program Chairs or try for a remote presentation. Please work with your co-organizers to determine the best format for the session within organizer constraints.
Because the value of workshops is in the interaction with organizers, we will not be running workshops where no organizers are available - there is no option for an online workshop through the SIGCSE 2020 framework. If organizers are unable to attend, the workshop will be canceled and workshop fees will be returned to attendees. Organizers are welcome to share their materials with the community outside of the SIGCSE 2020 framework.
ACM SRC presenters must be present to participate in both stages of the SRC. Students unable to attend SIGCSE 2020 will not be able to participate in the ACM SRC.
There must be at least one attending on-site BOF organizer for the BOF to run. Organizers unable to attend may provide a very short pre-recorded video to their on-site colleagues and the Program Chairs or try for a remote presentation. Please work with your co-organizers to determine the best format for the session within organizer constraints.
Because the value of BOFs is in the interaction of the community, we will not be running BOFs where no organizers are available to moderate.
At least one Demo presenter must be present to participate. Demos without any on-site presenters will be canceled.
Lightning Talk presenters may provide a link to a 5-minute, downloadable video. Videos must be in a standard playable format. Please send a download link to email@example.com AND firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 11:59pm PDT on Tuesday March 10. The video will be incorporated into the Lightning Talks presentation.
Check in with the Nifty Assignments Track Chairs (email@example.com) for guidelines on the Nifty Assignments Track.
At least one Poster presenter must be present to participate. Posters without any on-site presenters (or someone to physically place and remove the poster) will be canceled.
“The Oregon Health Authority, the City of Portland and Travel Portland are all closely monitoring the situation in our community. Portland is currently open for business, and travel is not restricted. According to authorities, the risk of exposure in Portland is still low. That said, things could change, and it is impossible to predict how the situation will unfold in the future. Because of this, we are relying on public health officials to provide the best information and guidance.
The Oregon Health Authority provides daily updates of the situation in Oregon <https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/DISEASESCONDITIONS/DISEASESAZ/Pages/emerging-respiratory-infections.aspx>, and you can monitor developments at the national level by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website for COVID-19<https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html>.
At this time, the Multnomah County<https://multco.us/health-officer/novel-coronavirus-covid-19> and state health authorities are prioritizing healthy work and travel habits around hygiene and have not advised on any other level of guidance at this point. The CDC is simply encouraging individuals to take the same routine precautions as for the flu:
As the situation changes, the CDC will provide updated information and revised guidance, if necessary.
As to SIGCSE 2020 specifically, we will continue to monitor developments and keep you informed of response locally so you can make the best decisions moving forward. The health and safety of your presenters and delegates is our top priority, and we will follow all guidance from local, state and national public health officials. At this time, the local response is encouraging individuals to follow the CDC recommendations listed above.
Travel Portland will be sure to provide relevant updates in as close to real time as possible, The resources shared above and below will utilize real-time updates.
In the meantime, we recommend that you check regularly for updates from the health authorities.
Local Portland/Oregon resources with regular updates on COVID-19 include:
Additional resources related to COVID-19 that may be helpful include:
Jian Zhang and Mark Sherriff
SIGCSE 2020 Symposium Co-Chairs
Sarah Heckman, Pam Cutter, and Alvaro Monge
SIGCSE 2020 Program Co-Chairs
SIGCSE Technical Symposium Board Liaison
SIGCSE Board Chair