We are sorry to announce that the 2020 ASHA Convention, scheduled for November 19–21 in San Diego, California, has been cancelled. This difficult decision was made in partnership with our host destination, San Diego. Working together, we have mutually determined that we cannot meet the new rules and regulations for mass gatherings required to produce the ASHA Convention in a way that ensures the safety of all participants.
The ASHA Convention has been cancelled only once before, in 1943, during World War II, so this is not a decision we’ve taken lightly. Cancellation of our signature gathering has serious ramifications for our members, the Association, our exhibitors and commercial partners, and our many vendors that help us bring the event to life. We are certain, however, that it is the correct decision given the circumstances.
The ASHA Convention has always been a time for communication sciences and disorders professionals to build connections and share ideas and information, and the opportunities for networking can be just as valuable as the professional education program. Not only is it the largest in-person professional education event dedicated to speech-language pathology and audiology, it’s an important touchpoint for our members, volunteer leaders, students, exhibitors and National Office staff. We will miss seeing all of you and being a part of the wonderful energy generated by the ASHA Convention.
We know how affirming it is to tap into a community with a common shared interest. We know how much many of you look forward each year to catching up with friends, both current and former colleagues, old classmates or teachers, and mentors, as well as the opportunity to make new connections. We know that coming together to celebrate the speech, language and hearing professions is needed more than ever following a long period of social distancing. Gatherings are what bond communities.
There will NOT be a digital or virtual 2020 ASHA Convention to replace the cancelled in-person event. We recognize that cancellation leaves our members with fewer options for live, in-person learning and without the opportunity to discover new products and services in the Exhibit Hall. Our exhibitors and sponsors, who count on interacting with ASHA members face-to-face, will lose that valuable opportunity as well. So, while we could never replicate the immersive experience of the ASHA Convention, nor is it our intent, we are exploring solutions to help meet the needs of our members, as well as those of our exhibitors and sponsors.
We will provide updates on our plans as they come together. In the meantime, please stay safe and healthy. We look forward with optimism to welcoming everyone to Washington, D.C. for the 2021 ASHA Convention, November 18–20, 2021.