At its June 9 meeting, the WSSRA Executive Board reluctantly voted to cancel the upcoming on-site convention in Pasco, and schedule a September Zoom awards/recognition event in its place. This decision was not made lightly. The entire board, plus state and unit leadership, would greatly prefer to meet in person. That was the goal for 2021 and will continue to be the goal in the future. However, in the end, the board felt the correct decision was to cancel the 2021 event.
The board cited several reasons for the cancellation. First, on a survey of delegates, less than 50% indicated they planned to attend. To conduct a convention similar to the ones in the past, 225+ attendees are necessary. The survey indicated that only 63 definitely planned to attend. Second, the Pasco Red Lion is a mask-optional facility, therefore any attempt to implement a mask or vaccine-only mandate would be inconsistent with hotel policy and impossible to enforce with non-member hotel guests unmasked and, undoubtedly in many cases, unvaccinated.
Third, the hotel is an older facility that has not made any COVID-induced improvements to its HVAC system. Fourth, the traditional WSSRA-Foundation and WSSR-PAC fundraisers would be difficult to organize and carry out given low attendance and, in the case of the Foundation, basket preparation challenges.
As for the future, we have made contact with our current hotel/convention center sites with proposals to move dates out a year. Those conversations have gone well and we hope to announce a full slate of the next four on-site convention dates and locations soon. In addition, information on the 2021 Zoom awards and recognition event will be provided within a week.
Thanks for your understanding as the board made the difficult decision to cancel after a thorough analysis and discussion of COVID-related problems with large scale indoor events.
WSSRA Executive Director