The APA’s Pacific Meeting & the Coronavirus – UPDATED (3/11/20)


The spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is leading organizations to cancel upcoming meetings, businesses to restrict “non-essential” work travel among their employees, and individuals to reconsider their plans. (See Update 1) (See Update 2)

The 2020 Pacific Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association (APA) is scheduled to take place April 8th – April 11th in San Francisco. A few days ago, the APA posted on social media and on its site the following message:

We presently expect the 2020 APA Pacific Division Meeting to take place as planned. The APA is monitoring the situation related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and will notify meeting participants of any further developments and decisions related to the meeting.

As the virus continues to spread and as we learn more about it, philosophers scheduled to participate in the meeting are wondering whether it will actually proceed as scheduled and if so, whether they should go.

Last week, San Francisco’s mayor declared a local state of emergency for the city for the sake of funding preparedness measures. In light of the uncertainty regarding the effects of the spread of the coronavirus and the occurrence of the Pacific APA Meeting, both prospective attendees and the APA may also wish to take preparedness measures.

For individuals, this would include, among other things, purchasing travel insurance for their flights. At this point, only “cancel for any reason” travel insurance policies would apply to cancellations owing to the spread of the coronavirus, as it is now a known issue, but readers will need to look into such policies themselves, as they are different in their terms and coverage and may vary according to state laws, and may not reimburse all of one’s flight costs. Individuals may also wish to avoid booking nonrefundable hotel rooms or AirBnB’s with strict cancellation policies.

For the APA, preparedness could include, if possible, making sure that most of the session rooms are equipped with videoconferencing equipment so that presenters who are unable to attend can nonetheless present their work. The APA might also look into live streaming possibilities for some of the larger events at the meeting, so that people can watch from home should they be unable to attend.

Additionally, communicating in a timely manner with the registered attendees about plans to cancel or proceed with the conference is key. The American Physical Society (APS) cancelled its annual physics meeting for this week on rather short notice, which might have been difficult to avoid. It would be good if the APA was able to make its decision a bit further in advance, as doing so may help prospective conference-goers better make their own plans and perhaps save on costly expenditures or cancellations.

Suggestions for other preparatory measures prospective conference attendees and conference organizers can take in light of the spread of the coronavirus are welcome.

UPDATE 1 (3/9/20): The APA just posted the following statement, announcing they will decide by the end of the week whether the Pacific Division Meeting is happening:

The APA Board of Officers and the Pacific Division Executive Committee have been engaged in extensive and detailed discussions in order to provide a final decision about the 2020 Pacific Division meeting in San Francisco given local, national, and international developments regarding the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19). We understand that those intending to participate in the meeting are anxious for a resolution, and we are working hard to navigate the complex issues related to the meeting and the rapidly evolving public health guidance as quickly as possible. In the next 24-72 hours we will undertake a final examination and consideration of the present options and will issue a definitive decision no later than Friday, March 13. We appreciate your patience during this challenging time.


UPDATE 2: (3/11/20): 

Mayor London N. Breed today announced that the Health Officer of the City and County of San Francisco will issue a Public Health Order prohibiting all large group events of 1,000 or more persons. This measure is necessary to slow the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the community and builds on the City’s March 6th public health recommendations… The Public Health Order will initially go into effect for two weeks and can be reauthorized by the Health Officer. The Order will be updated as the COVID-19 situation evolves in San Francisco.

The order expires before the Pacific APA is to begin, though it may be renewed at that point. It is also unclear exactly how many people participate in the Pacific APA on a regular basis, though I would estimate 1000-1200, based on a look at programs for previous Pacific Division meetings.

 

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Immunocompromised Philosophy
Immunocompromised Philosophy
11 months ago

As someone who is immuno-compromised, I’m generally worried about attending conferences but the cachet of the APA is so important for CV building that I’m feeling a lot of pressure to go and present my paper even though, if I’m being honest with myself, would rather not risk going. I haven’t made up my mind yet but if there really is an increased risk of spreading the Coronavirus in Northern California, as there seems to be (the Game Developer’s Conference has been postponed because of this afterall), then I would argue that the APA should cancel or postpone their conference too. Report

Ed
Ed
Reply to  Immunocompromised Philosophy
11 months ago

“the cachet of the APA is so important for CV building”

To put your mind at ease slightly, at least along one dimension, and for any other junior members of the profession listening, APA sessions are not that important.

Participating at the APA is fun. It won’t get you a job.Report

SC
SC
Reply to  Ed
11 months ago

Yep–APA conference presentations don’t mean squat anymore on CVs. Don’t risk it if this would be your primary reason. Report

Kenny Easwaran
Reply to  Immunocompromised Philosophy
11 months ago

For CV building, all that matters is having a line that says “paper accepted for presentation at 2020 Pacific APA” – actually giving the presentation adds nothing to the CV directly.

Actually attending helps you to meet interlocutors, have productive conversations that can later be continued via phone or Skype or e-mail, expose you to the work of others, and expose others to your work. All this exposure is of course how viruses spread, but it is also important for how ideas “go viral” and how people develop friends and co-authors.

But in terms of the CV itself, being accepted is sufficient.Report

Eric Steinhart
Reply to  Immunocompromised Philosophy
11 months ago

A nice line on a CV won’t help much if you’re dead. As others above have said, just indicating it was accepted suffices. And as somebody with respiratory-immunological problems myself, I wouldn’t do it.Report

Will
Will
11 months ago

Immunocompromised raises an interesting point. But I wonder – do search committees really place substantive value on APA presentations? I’ve been on numerous committees, and personally I pay very little attention to candidates’ list of presentations, and I cannot recall any of my colleagues pointing to presentations as a factor in hiring. But I’d be interested in hearing from others on this.Report

Fritz
Fritz
Reply to  Will
11 months ago

In my experience, conference presentations count for zilch in hiring or promotion.Report

Robin
Robin
Reply to  Fritz
11 months ago

Places with differing research expectations (SLACs, Community Colleges, etc.) do generally take presentations into account, but I’ve never seen the APA holding any more weight than any other conference presentation.Report

GB
GB
Reply to  Robin
11 months ago

It holds more weight on my search committee than your random conferences (though others hold more weight too).Report

Immunocompromised Philosophy
Immunocompromised Philosophy
Reply to  Fritz
11 months ago

Here’s what I meant by “the cachet of the APA”

As a young scholar, it’s important to signal to search committees that you are on a research trajectory that will get you tenure wherever you might be applying. The APA tends to have pretty selective criteria for a conference (I know some national conferences in other disciplines that basically accept almost anything formatted correctly) so the fact that the APA (and the Pacific especially) tends to have acceptance rates around 20% (I’ve been told) is usually taken as a strong indicator that your work is good.

For someone who might not have many publications yet, having several papers accepted at the APA is good evidence of scholarly productivity. Report

Ed
Ed
Reply to  Immunocompromised Philosophy
11 months ago

What you meant was understood.

“the fact that the APA (and the Pacific especially) tends to have acceptance rates around 20% (I’ve been told) is usually taken as a strong indicator that your work is good.”

And I’m telling you, as a member of a search committee, that your APA presentations are not going to help you get hired at my institution.

You said that you’re experiencing “a lot of pressure” to attend. That sounds misplaced, to me.Report

Robert
Robert
Reply to  Immunocompromised Philosophy
11 months ago

Yea, I have to agree with Ed here. As a member of multiple search committees at R1 universities, this simply has not been the case in my experience. Report

Fritz Warfield
Fritz Warfield
Reply to  Fritz
11 months ago

This “Fritz” has a hard time resisting replying to other “Fritz”s. In this case I think “zilch” is a little too strong but only a very little too strong. For places with only modest research expectations, high profile and selective conference presentations can count positively as part of an overall research profile. Report

Theophrastus
Theophrastus
11 months ago

The CDC offers recommendations for travel limitations by country. As of now, there is no indication that travel in the US should be limited, though that can of course change. At present, I would consider cancellations of conferences an overreaction. But people assess risk differently and I wouldn’t hold it against anyone if they decided to avoid travel altogether Report

Kenny Easwaran
Reply to  Theophrastus
11 months ago

I think conferences are different from individual travel. The point of a conference is to bring dozens or hundreds people from many dozens of locations together in one place to share ideas and work in progress, and bring them home to their various institutions and departments. They also incidentally end up sharing viruses.

An individual traveling from one place to another to see a bunch of locals there is only going to create one potential link, both of ideas, and of viruses. But a conference provides very many (approximately the *square* of the number of people, since each person can contact each other person).

I’m certainly not confident we’re at the point that canceling small conferences is reasonable. But canceling conferences will be something that makes sense long before canceling individual travel does. And for larger conferences, that point will come sooner. (The APA is medium-sized by conference standards – it’s big enough to take one conference hotel, but not like the American Physical Society, which takes a convention center and has tens of thousands of people traveling from dozens of countries, certainly including Italy, Korea, and China, and almost certainly Iran.)Report

krell_154
krell_154
Reply to  Kenny Easwaran
11 months ago

”tens of thousands of people”

One conference? Where do they all fit?Report

Julie Van Camp
11 months ago

The American Society for Aesthetics is not planning any changes for its spring meetings in Berkeley and Philadelphia. If anything changes, we will announce in all of our usual communication venues.

-Julie Van Camp, Secretary-Treasurer, American Society for Aesthetics
https://aesthetics-online.orgReport

Julie Van Camp
Reply to  Julie Van Camp
11 months ago

American Society for Aesthetics Pacific Meeting
March 20-21, 2020, Berkeley City Club

Thanks to the generosity of the Berkeley City Club, we are postponing the Pacific meeting to March 19-20, 2021, with full credit for our prepayments.

Join us next year at this beautiful facility. https://www.berkeleycityclub.com/Report

Prof L
Prof L
11 months ago

Maybe the APA should institute some preparedness measures of its own.
Given the likely progression of events, perhaps it would be reasonable to work on teleconferencing or skyping in meeting participants. It seems stupid—for reasons that go beyond individual risk for philosophers, immunocompromised or not—to fly everyone into a disease epicenter for a couple of days, and then fly them back (in compact, packed airplanes recirculating the air for several hours) to their respective homes. One might consider the damage done. “How many deaths will be due to the Pacific APA?” is an unsettling question.
A reasonable, middle solution might be (again) to give those participating the option of participating virtually, and encourage those traveling from afar to take advantage of this option. Report

Fritz
Fritz
Reply to  Prof L
11 months ago

Teleconferencing or Skyping might be difficult because the hotels charge a lot, in advance, for technology in conference rooms.Report

Colin
Reply to  Fritz
11 months ago

There are other remote options without technology costs: the session chair or another volunteer can read the paper/comments, and Q&A can use a regular speakerphone. It’s not elegant, but that can certainly work. For conferences at hotels to be economically viable, most participants need to stay at the hotel, but this is an alternative for special cases.Report

Ken
Ken
Reply to  Colin
11 months ago

What use is someone else reading a paper vs. just distributing it to people? It’s already bad when people read at conferences – not even being able to converse with the author would make it a complete waste of time. Report

Colin
Reply to  Ken
11 months ago

I’m also not a fan of people just reading their papers, Ken (though I sympathize with those who find it the only way to deal with nerves).

That’s why I mentioned having a Q&A by speakerphone, so there would be at least some back-and-forth with the audience.

But for some (especially more junior) people who aren’t able to attend for medical reasons, having a less-than-ideal format for the session could be better than cancelling outright.Report

Prof L
Prof L
Reply to  Fritz
11 months ago

Well, in that case, it would be best to cancel.
The APA might at least advise people *not* to purchase tickets or make other non-refundable travel bookings, until the situation is clearer.
Perhaps I’m biased here. I want to go to the APA. But I’m also pondering a price tag of well over $1000, combined with the very real possibility of contracting a deadly disease, which I would likely spread to others, including people I love, even if I recover—I admit I am not at all excited about this, and I think other people are not excited about it either. It’s *barely* worth it without the risk of spreading disease.
Philosophy is important! But perhaps for now we should stick to organizing regional conferences and spending time with the excellent philosophers in our own, drivable locales. Report

Amy Olberding
Amy Olberding
11 months ago

One concern that seems salient here is the timing. It may seem early to cancel, but once more people have purchased airline tickets and such (especially underfunded grad students and the precariously employed), reasoning about cancellation will get messier – i.e., the incentives to carry on will go up even as the risk may change for worse. The strategy of wait and see needs to take this into account, I think.

I don’t know what ought be done here, but there are obviously social and public health issues that go well beyond whether a bunch of philosophers could meet and not get sick. What we could carry home with us to areas and people not yet exposed is level of risk that has to factor in as well. Report

I kind of like the Pacific APA
I kind of like the Pacific APA
11 months ago

I’m coming from nearby, so the travel issues don’t affect me quite as much (I can drive), but I just wanted to say that reflecting on both whether the conference should be canceled and whether I should not go has really made me come to the conclusion that the benefits of attending really do not outweigh even minimal risk. (That is, I’m generally pretty ambivalent about attending APAs anyway–there’s always a little good philosophy but it’s a crapshoot, there is some decent socializing, all things considered though I could just as easily stay home.) I suspect this is a pretty common attitude (at least among people with secure employment, though I agree with others above that APAs don’t make much of a difference in most cases of hiring or promotion). So I would worry on the APA’s behalf that the numbers in attendance will end up being pretty dismal if people make similar calculations to the one I am making… Report

FYI
FYI
11 months ago

Here is a piece of advice, if you are like me and bought plane tickets to SFO in February. If you didn’t purchase travel insurance along with your plane tickets, time is rapidly running out to purchase private travel insurance.Report

SLAC Tenured Professor & Chair
SLAC Tenured Professor & Chair
11 months ago

I want to say that I am at a SLAC and a presentation at an APA meeting means nothing to us hiring you either. It isn’t only R1’s where it is virtually irrelevant. Don’t get me wrong, a presentation at the APA is a great accomplishment, and it does make your CV look better, but if that makes or breaks you, you’re not even in the ballpark of being hired (at least at my school). By no means am I saying this is the case for you, I’m simply informing you that if you’re uneasy about going to the conference, it will make no difference for your career trajectory from my perspective as a chair at a SLAC. Take care of yourself first!Report

Caligula's Goat
Caligula's Goat
11 months ago

To add to what is, clearly, an indicator that there’s nothing like agreement about this (do philosophers agree about anything???): At my R2, if we’re evaluating a fresh PhD with
possibly no publications or at most one or two, APA presentations do a good bit of work toward reassuring us that you are worth taking more seriously as a candidate and that you could meet our tenure requirements. As with all things job market, there are no rules, every place is idiosyncratic. Report

Philip Kremer
Philip Kremer
Reply to  Caligula's Goat
11 months ago

Does an APA presentation canceled due to something like corona virus count for as much as one that was delivered? It strikes me that it ought to.Report

Timaeus
Timaeus
11 months ago

To those considering purchasing travel insurance for your trip to the APA: be warned that you may not be covered if the event is cancelled. The policy standardly purchased by United customers is unclear on the point, and I have been told by both a customer service rep and a claims agent that it cannot be predicted (at all) whether I would be covered if covid causes the event motivating my trip to be cancelled. Report

Advice
Advice
Reply to  Timaeus
11 months ago

You need to purchase “Cancel for Any Reason” coverage. It typically pays out 75 percent of your ticket price.Report

Ember T
Ember T
11 months ago

My two cents: The APA needs to make a decision soon. Many of us have to weigh the use of presentation and travel funding for a single annual conference. If we plan for the APA over other conferences, and it is canceled later, we may not be able to present our work at all, which could be challenging for early-career scholars in particular. While we cannot predict the future, we only have five weeks until this event takes place, and the current situation doesn’t look great. I think a decision should be made within the next week, and should be made with serious effort to weigh the risks over the rewards. Report

Jamie Dreier
Jamie Dreier
Reply to  Ember T
11 months ago

The APA leadership understands this, and is trying to come to a decision by Monday (9 March).
It’s more complicated than you might think, because both the national board and the Pacific Executive Committee are involved in the decision. And, of course, it isn’t an easy decision.Report

Ember T
Ember T
Reply to  Jamie Dreier
11 months ago

Thanks, Jamie. I am sure it is not an easy call, and I appreciate the follow up. Report

PK
PK
11 months ago

As a mother of young children, I’m thinking I’ll probably sit this one out, just to avoid the unnecessary risk of potentially exposing my children, and my parents, to a contagious virus. I am glad the APA is taking this seriously, especially since, right now, there are cases in SF. Report

Samantha Brennan
Samantha Brennan
11 months ago

I would like the APA to cancel. i think there are good ethical reasons for not travelling during epidemics and moving viruses from place to place. I second Kenny’s concern that this is worse than just travelling. Conferences are deliberately bringing together hundreds of people and putting them in close quarters together. My own reasons for not travelling are a mix of prudential (don’t want to be quarantined away from home) and ethical (let’s do what we can to slow this down.) I’m not worried about finances. My university has agreed to cover travel, even if you don’t go, if you’re not going for coronavirus related reasons. But I’d feel less bad if it wasn’t just me letting others down. So my vote is for cancelling. Report

Rebecca Walker
Rebecca Walker
11 months ago

My University, UNC Chapel Hill, has just this morning restricted all domestic travel to places where a state of emergency has been declared. I take this as relevant for the discussion over whether or not to cancel.
Report

Caligula's Goat
Caligula's Goat
11 months ago

Not that the APA is a democracy, but canceling seems prudent. I know that this will cost the APA a great deal, I’m even willing to pay more for membership to cover that, but it seems imprudent to fly a thousand people from all over the world, many of whom are in advanced age and thus especially susceptible, right to the epicenter of one of this country’s coronavirus transmission hot-zones. Many of us, even if we are not immunocompromised, have loved ones who are either very old, very young, or otherwise at risk.

The philosophical value of having the Pacific take place, in light of this, is basically nil. This is not the last philosophy conference. We’ll be able to see our philosophy friends some other time. I urge those empowered to make this decision to cancel. If so many commercial conferences can understand this risk assessment, a group of philosophers really ought to be able to see it too. Report

Puzzled
Puzzled
11 months ago

As far as I can see, the current APA administration has jacked the prices of membership and conference attendance through the roof, putting them far out of reach of many of those who need the benefits of membership the most, and used at least much of the extra revenue to pursue social justice projects as they see them.

If that’s the bang we’re supposed to be getting for our buck now, then why isn’t addressing this issue a priority? Isn’t halting the spread of the coronavirus to members of our community and beyond a matter of social justice? Why aren’t they coming up with ways of handling conference business online this time, etc.?

Report

Amy Olberding
Amy Olberding
11 months ago

I agree with the multiple comments above that the APA should cancel. It indubitably multiplies risk, not just to those attending but to all whom we would encounter on returning home. Like Samantha Brennan, I have decided not to go regardless of the APA decision, but think there are important considerations of public health and social responsibility that I think should favor cancellation.Report

Jamie Dreier
Jamie Dreier
11 months ago

I’m not going to be able to address all the points that get raised here, but three comments in a row have mentioned quite important ones that Isuspect many people have been thinking about.

1. Rebecca Walker
I think it’s important to remember that the state of emergency was declared not because things are very dire in California now, but in order to be prepared to seek federal assistance should the need arise.

2. Caligula’s Goat
Of course, ithe conference takes place participants can decide not to attend, and I would certainly expect philosophers who are particularly susceptible or who have family members who are particularly susceptible not to attend. The financial cost to the Pacific APA is a relatively small consideration, I believe: the real cost of canceling the meeting would be the loss of opportunity to the participants.
“If so many commercial conferences can understand this risk assessment, a group of philosophers really ought to be able to see it too.”
Some organizations (including, famously, the American Physical Society) have canceled, some are going ahead with their conferences; we’ve just looked at the health safety guidelines published for a meeting of health professionals that just ended in Denver. The San Francisco Department of Public Health says “There is no recommendation to cancel social gatherings at this time”; California Department of Public Health similar.
We’re going to have to make our own judgment rather than defer to experts, since experts disagree.

3. Puzzled
“Why aren’t they coming up with ways of handling conference business online this time, etc.?”
That is indeed something the secretary-treasurers are investigating. But so far nobody’s found a manageable and affordable alternative. (For example, running a single session online out of a conference hotel costs thousands of dollars.)
———————————–

I do appreciate all the comments, many of which are raising important issues. And as Goat says, it’s not a democracy, but speaking for myself I’d like the APA’s decision to embody the will of the membership, if that’s possible (and knowable).
Report

PK
PK
Reply to  Jamie Dreier
11 months ago

I feel the need to point out, regarding point 2, that if those of us with small children (or others close to us who are at risk) are expected not to attend, this may unfairly privilege those who do not face these particular challenges. Personally, I cannot, in good conscience, attend, knowing that I could put others near me at risk.
If we omit, e.g., new parents, those caring for elderly family members, older philosophers, and immunocompromised philosophers, does this yield problematic privilege and other ethical concerns? I recognize that epidemiology is not fair, of course, but I think that some of the least advantaged APA members would be most affected if the conference takes place, as their loss of opportunity could not be compensated and could increase the gaps we are working hard to close.

In the event of cancellation, maybe we could add a day to next year’s conference to try to make up for some of what is lost this time around? These are hard decisions. Report

Kate Cross
Kate Cross
Reply to  PK
11 months ago

I only mention this because you seem genuinely concerned: so far, the infection rate for 0-9 years is lower than any other age group and there are zero reported fatalIties in that group.

You may already know that, but if you weren’t already aware, I hope it eases your concern a bit. Report

Puzzled
Puzzled
Reply to  Jamie Dreier
11 months ago

“(For example, running a single session online out of a conference hotel costs thousands of dollars.)”

Naturally. But why run it out of a conference hotel at all? We don’t need an expensive hotel to supply us with internet service. If it all gets put online this year, everyone who wants to participate can do so from the safety of home or at least their local universities.

True, pulling out of an arrangement with a conference hotel has its costs, and those costs are greater the longer one waits. But with the small fortune the APA asks us to shell out now for memberships and conference attendance, there should be room for that. If all that money has been blown, maybe make this a priority over the less pressing and less universal ‘social justice’ projects the APA has been pursuing on our dollar. That was my point.Report

Will
Will
Reply to  Jamie Dreier
11 months ago

Jamie, if your desire is actually to reflect the APA membership, then why has the APA membership not been contacted by the APA? Does the APA have any plans to contact members, or at least those scheduled to present at the APA to get any feedback, or are your plans simply to make a decision on your own with input from people posting to random blogs?Report

Vaughn
Vaughn
Reply to  Jamie Dreier
11 months ago

Seconding Puzzled’s suggestion to run the conference *entirely* online. E.g. presenters could stream their talks from their homes or their own universities (perhaps over Twitch.tv or a similar live streaming service) with Q&A taking place in the chat/comments. Perhaps some sort of forum or subreddit could be set up to mimic casual hallway interaction. Not saying this would definitely work, but I suspect it’s worth considering. Report

Rebecca Walker
Rebecca Walker
11 months ago

Clarification regarding the state of emergency and travel restriction point. The issue is that UNC Chapel Hill will not allow its faculty to travel to California for academic business. I take it other universities may take similar measures and that this is relevant information for the decision regarding holding or not holding the conference as planned. Report

Gary Bartlett
11 months ago

I wonder if the decision will effectively be made for the APA — by members’ institutions. Mine has just cancelled all academic travel for March, and has said they’ll assess the situation again in 2 weeks to see if further cancellations are needed. Since I doubt that things are going to get dramatically better in the next 2 weeks, I don’t think I’m going to get to present my paper in San Francisco. I’m in Washington state, so the situation is especially pressing for us. But I expect many other universities to be making the same call over the coming weeks, as the virus spreads nationwide.Report

Sam
Sam
11 months ago

We will find out tomorrow whether the San Francisco Princess cruise ship passengers are infected.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWRK_U40PPwReport

Sam
Sam
11 months ago

According to this CBS News broadcast, we will find out tomorrow whether the San Francisco Princess cruise ship has infected passengers.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWRK_U40PPwReport

Sam
Sam
11 months ago

Not only do many of us have kids, but virtually all of us have students. There is the potential to spread a virus to many students at colleges and universities. The epistemic uncertainty given what we do know is morally troubling if it isn’t canceled.Report

Sam
Sam
11 months ago

Coronavirus Cases in the Bay Area
Health officials say the Bay Area is home to what is believed to be the first U.S. cases of community spread of the highly contagious coronavirus. Here’s a county breakdown of cases announced in the Bay Area, which includes Travis Air Force Base evacuees treated in local hospitals.

County Cases Deaths
Santa Clara 20 0
Solano County 8 0
Contra Costa 4 0
Sonoma 3 0
San Mateo 2 0
San Francisco 2 0
Alameda 2 0
Napa 2 0
Marin 1 0

https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/coronavirus/list-of-coronavirus-cases-in-the-bay-area/2248581/Report

Concerned
Concerned
11 months ago

It may also be worth taking a look at the Santa Clara County Health Department’s new advice. Among other things, it is asking companies including Google and Apple to consider “postponing or canceling mass gatherings and large community events where large numbers of people are within arm’s length of one another.”

Seeing as Santa Clara is just south of San Francisco, one would presume that those in SF should be similarly concerned, one would think.

https://www.sccgov.org/sites/phd/news/Pages/new-guidance-new-covid-19-3-5-2020.aspxReport

ted
ted
11 months ago

For reference, here’s a link to a crowdsourced list of various academic conferences cancelled due to coronavirus:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1O3wnaFYSZCgY3Ih4yDw3EIH2SC_-vjhyHwrCQSy0J7M/edit#gid=0Report

James
James
11 months ago

Of Relevance: Harvard has just prohibited all non-essential domestic air travel for employees.Report

Sam
Sam
11 months ago

79 cases today in California, most in the Bay Area.Report

ese
ese
11 months ago

San Francisco Department of Public Health and the Department of Emergency Management now “ recommend[s] cancelling or postponing large gatherings, such as concerts, sporting events, conventions or large community events.”

“We expect these measures to be in place for an initial period of two weeks, and we will continuously assess their impact to determine if they need to be adjusted.”

https://sfmayor.org/article/san-francisco-department-public-health-announces-aggressive-recommendations-reduce-spread

Report

Adrian Bardon
11 months ago

I support whatever decision the organizers make. I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer here. But if you look at the widest testing regime in SK, you see that the rate of serious problems is low. Personally, from what I know so far (and as a former working EMT) I am not at all concerned about attending. Ideally everyone gets to make up their own mind–and, if attending, follow medical advice. Keep your distance, wash hands, etc. Report

Puzzled
Puzzled
11 months ago

Whenever some half-baked allegation of an alleged minor social-justice sin surfaces anywhere in the philosophy world, we get statements released within a day or two. The woke line up to sign their names to them. The APA tells us that this underscores the need for even more social justice initiatives on our membership dollars.

Now a fatal illness threatens to kill thousands. Should the APA still hold a conference, bringing hundreds of people together from their faraway communities to a place with so many infected people? Gosh, don’t know. So much less important. Let’s take a few days to think this over while pulling out becomes more costly for our poorest members. No point making a statement or petition about this. It’s just not trendy enough to give us virtue signaling cred.

Yesterday, some prominent members of the profession have tweeted that Elizabeth Warren dropped out because of clear misogyny and sexism, on the basis of zero evidence. But these same people, despite their nonexistent epistemic standards, are silent about this.

What an embarrassing time to be a philosopher.Report

kailadraper
Reply to  Puzzled
11 months ago

What would the petition say? That the APA should cancel the Pacific Division meeting sooner rather than later to reduce the costs to those who have purchased airline tickets or reserved hotel rooms?Report

Puzzled
Puzzled
Reply to  kailadraper
11 months ago

I think these petitions tend to be written to make people feel good about themselves and virtue signal by signing, so I don’t know what good they do. But if there were a petition, it would say just that.

Petition or no petition,, the APA should follow your suggestions, kailadraper.Report

kailadraper
Reply to  Puzzled
11 months ago

Well, petitions aside, they should cancel. That is the responsible thing to do in my opinion.Report

Andrew Sepielli
Andrew Sepielli
Reply to  Puzzled
11 months ago

“some prominent members of the profession have tweeted that Elizabeth Warren dropped out because of clear misogyny and sexism, on the basis of zero evidence”

C’mon — evidence is for neoliberal technocrats and schoolmarms. Less evidence = more praxis.

In any case, I agree re: the Pacific APA. 😉Report

Douglas W. Portmore
11 months ago

Arizona State University is now refusing to pay for domestic travel unless it is deemed essential by the Dean. They just sent out a notice saying: “Domestic travel using ASU or grant funds, including previously-approved travel, should be essential and must be approved by your dean or appropriate vice president. For previously-booked travel that is deemed nonessential, travelers should work with the ASU Travel Office…to minimize cancellation fees. Cancellation fees that cannot be avoided will be reimbursed.” Now, this makes no difference to me, because I was planning on attending the Pacific APA on my own dime. But it is one more case (beyond what Rebecca Walker has already reported) of a university restricting domestic travel. Report

Sean
Sean
Reply to  Douglas W. Portmore
11 months ago

I understand that the U of Minnesota is having meetings to decide on similar policies in the very near future. I suspect they will come to much the same conclusions as UNC, Harvard, ASU, etc. Oddly, the travel.umn.edu website is currently down.Report

Just Cancel
Just Cancel
11 months ago
Andrew Y Moon
11 months ago

It looks like they’ll tell us by the end of this week:

“The APA Board of Officers and the Pacific Division Executive Committee have been engaged in extensive and detailed discussions in order to provide a final decision about the 2020 Pacific Division meeting in San Francisco given local, national, and international developments regarding the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19). We understand that those intending to participate in the meeting are anxious for a resolution, and we are working hard to navigate the complex issues related to the meeting and the rapidly evolving public health guidance as quickly as possible. In the next 24-72 hours we will undertake a final examination and consideration of the present options and will issue a definitive decision no later than Friday, March 13. We appreciate your patience during this challenging time.”

https://www.apaonline.org/events/EventDetails.aspx?alias=2020pacificReport

Caligula's Goat
Caligula's Goat
11 months ago

What don’t they know now that they’ll know in 24-72 hours I wonder? In any case, my university has forbid (read: will not reimburse) travel to the APA because of the Coronavirus. I have not yet let them know but will do so immediately just in case their risk/benefit cancellation is sensitive to this. Report

Pete
Pete
11 months ago

“We’ll consider different options.”
I thought Pete Buttigeg dropped out.Report

Colin
11 months ago

If the APA is cancelled, session chairs can still host sessions using Zoom (or Teams or Skype). That would let speakers at least interact with commentators, and interested others could join in by contacting the chairs. Not as good as in-person sessions, but definitely better than nothing!Report

Sam
Sam
11 months ago

Harvard moving to 100% virtual classes, and clearing all dorms in 5 days
https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/10/us/harvard-students-coronavirus-trnd/index.htmlReport

Sam
Sam
11 months ago

I know many academics with kids who are taking them out of child care soon. By the time of the Pacific, those people will have their hands full juggling work without professional child care. Report

Frustrated APA Member
Frustrated APA Member
11 months ago

Folks who are suggesting that we just move the conference online are not sensitive to the fact that Coronavirus is disrupting *everything*, not just this one conference. People have urgent piles of new work on university committees planning campus responses; transitioning classes to online formats; many are already or will soon be dealing with childcare at home while also trying to work. The idea that we’re all still going to assemble commentaries and do the work of a conference amidst this mess seems wildly optimistic, at best, and insultingly presumptuous at worst. As someone who is meant to be a commentator in a session, I would like the APA to cancel now and relieve me of this added work. With all apologies to the person I’m meant to comment on, this is not where my efforts need to be right now.Report

Also Frustrated
Also Frustrated
Reply to  Frustrated APA Member
11 months ago

I agree with all of this. I’m meant to give a talk at the APA. First, I won’t be going, if they do not cancel the conference. I think it would be a terrible moral error to not cancel the conference, and in fact, this might lead me to never again join the APA under its current leadership, if they went ahead with an in-person conference. Second, I do not have time to prepare my presentation right now, since I have been charged with turning my three in-person courses into online courses–something I have no experience with, and which will require a great deal of work. Thus, if the APA tries to conduct the conference online somehow, I might simply pull out. My students take priority over my colleagues.Report

Sean
Sean
11 months ago

Same here. My wife and I have been told to put our classes 100% online, and now I need to figure out new things like how to get all my students to use Zoom conferencing software. I need to alter assignments.

When the U shuts down classes, the U also automatically shuts down the childcare facility on campus. So we need to figure out how to give simultaneous classes at home with a high-energy 3 year old wanting mom and dad to build a fort and play spaceship. And, of course, there are new committees popping up all over the place to deal with the myriad problems.

So making the APA a video-based conference is a non-starter. Too much disruption is going on now.Report

Pete
Pete
11 months ago

San Francisco just banned all gatherings of more than 1,000 people. https://www.theverge.com/2020/3/11/21175051/washington-coronavirus-gathering-ban-seattle-areas-san-francisco

Now who is counting? Report

Scott
Scott
11 months ago

This is an amazingly easy decision. If you host the conference, you increase the spread and kill more people. You do not flatten the curve. If you do not host it, you slow the spread and do flatten the curve. Is there some countervailing reason that outweighs killing people? Philosophy papers are given? And received? No, you cancel.
Flatten the curve:https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2020/03/11/science/coronavirus-curve-mitigation-infection.amp.htmlReport

cancel!
cancel!
11 months ago

How has the APA *still* not yet cancelled? Are they as inept as everyone says? Report