I am an organizer for a graduate student conference in Mathematics occurring in April. My co-organizers and I are debating on a plan for what to do if the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States worsens. Right now, most of the participants are from states with no confirmed cases of the coronavirus, but this may change rapidly as the situation develops between now and the conference.
This is an issue other conferences throughout history have surely had to deal with, so I wanted to ask StackExchange if there were any best practices around for dealing with an issue like this. Some questions:
- How far out should the go/no go decision be made? If the conference is late April, should we be planning to let participants and speakers know by early April so they can cancel flights and so on?
- What criteria should best inform whether we cancel or not? Number of cases in the participants' states for instance?
- In the event we are to cancel the conference, how can we still give the speakers a chance to advertise their results? Have there been successful "video conferences" before where the organizers collect video for each talk and then upload them and participants can make comments?