2020 Network Meeting Update

As the spread and impact of COVID-19 (the coronavirus) continues to evolve, Educare Network leaders have been closely monitoring the situation to determine the best course of action to ensure the ongoing safety and well-being of Educare children, families and staff.

Informed by discussions with various Educare Network leaders, the Educare Governance Council Chair and Co-Chair (Ginger Ward from Educare Arizona and Shawn Gerth from Educare California at Silicon Valley) and standing members (Cynthia Jackson, Diana Rauner of the Ounce of Prevention Fund and Jessie Rasmussen of the Buffett Early Childhood Fund) have concluded we will not convene in person in New Orleans for the 2020 Network Meeting. Instead, we will reimagine as much of the meeting as possible virtually, both during the previously scheduled time frames as well as later in the fiscal year.

This decision was not taken lightly, recognizing the incredibly hard work of our host school, Educare New Orleans, and participating Network members to make the meeting a success. Our deepest thanks to all our partners at Educare New Orleans for their work this year, and for agreeing to host the next in-person Network Meeting.

We know this decision brings up many questions, which we are working to address ASAP. The information we can provide at this time is collected below, but please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at any point with additional questions or for more information.

What sessions will still be held virtually during the week of March 23, and how can staff participate?

With the help of a Network-led steering committee, we are currently putting together an abbreviated virtual experience that will run during the scheduled Network Meeting windows. We acknowledge that not all scheduled sessions will be effective virtually, and thus are also determining how this content can still be shared. We will provide updates as soon as we have a preliminary schedule.

How should we handle our existing travel arrangements?

We recognize you and your staff have already booked travel for the meeting. Please see our guidance below, and for additional decisions regarding airfare, we recommend coordinating with your organization to ensure your decisions are in line with their travel policies.

  • Hotel reservations at the Sheraton New Orleans [phone: 504.525.2500]
    • All hotel reservations booked through the Ounce/Educare Learning Network have been cancelled
      • If you still chose to travel to New Orleans for personal reasons, you will need to contact the hotel directly to make your own arrangements.
    • If you booked your own hotel room for the conference, you’ll need to cancel individually, but will receive a full refund if you cancel your reservation at least 72 hours in advance of your stay.
  • Airfare
    • We have created this current airline cancellation policy document to assist you as you determine next steps on your airline tickets. Please coordinate with your organization to adhere to their travel policies for airfare. Note that airlines policies are rapidly evolving and we will continue to update the policy document.
  • Registration fees
    • No fees have yet been collected; thus, none will be charged. No registration fees for additional attendees will be charged.

How can we as a Network collaborate and share best practices as we all work to keep the staff and the communities we serve safe during this challenging time?

Many thanks to the organizations who have already shared resources with us, all of which can be found on this dedicated EducareShare page. We encourage you to continue sharing information and protocols, recognizing that recommendations and guidance surrounding COVID-19 protocols continue to evolve.

We greatly value this annual convening and assure you that even though we can’t be together in person, we are working together as a Network to ensure that this opportunity to come together isn’t missed, but rather, reimagined in a way that prioritizes health and safety as well as collaboration and learning.

Going forward, we will continue to share regular news and updates across all Network channels.