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Code for America Cancels Summit Due to Coronavirus Concern

The civic tech organization is working out how to address refunds for registered attendees while also exploring virtual opportunities for sharing the programming that it had planned for the event.

by / March 6, 2020
Screenshot via Code for America

Code for America announced the cancellation of its annual summit event Friday due to concerns about the continued spread of the coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19. 

The Code for America 2020 Summit was slated to take place March 11-13 in Washington, D.C. It is an annual event in which the nonprofit and nonpartisan civic tech group brings together government and civic technologists to discuss a wide range of topics related to the work. Code for America announced the cancellation early Friday via email, social media and also with a pop-up on the homepage of the event.

“We regret to inform you that the Code for America 2020 Summit that was planned for next week in Washington, D.C., will be canceled due to evolving concerns around coronavirus (COVID-19),” organizers wrote in an email. “The safety of our attendees and their families is of the utmost importance. We have monitored the situation closely over the past weeks and have decided to cancel the 2020 Summit out of an abundance of caution.”

The group went on to advise those who had planned to attend the event to cancel hotel reservations as soon as possible so as to avoid any 72-hour cancellation fees. It also noted that it is working on “exploring other options and assessing the best way to administer refunds,” projecting that the process for that will become clearer on March 10. Finally, Code for America officials noted that they still want to share planned content with the civic tech community, and they are looking into possibly hosting virtual events to coincide with the planned timeframe of the summit. 

Code for America is far from the first organization to cancel or alter event plans in the midst of the spread of the coronavirus. In fact, it’s not even the first gov tech adjacent event to see an effect, with last month’s massive RSA cybersecurity conference seeing participants and major companies cancel.

A number of major companies and participants are also pulling out of the SXSW conference in Austin, which is a major annual event that sees quite a few gov tech attendees. State and local governments across the country are also declaring states of emergency as the virus reaches their jurisdictions, which is upending event and travel plans and also leading to many companies ordering employees to work from home.

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