News - MLA
Wednesday, March 11, 2020 03:43 PM

Update for Attendees - Spring Institute and COVID-19 Concerns

March 11, 2020

MLA’s top priority is the health, safety and well-being of the library community especially in relation to the Coronavirus and Michigan’s newly declared state of emergency. We are mindful that our members may have concerns and questions regarding attending our Spring Institute for Youth Services, scheduled next week, March 19-20, 2020.  

It is okay to be concerned, but more importantly, it is essential to be prepared. MLA is doing our due diligence and closely monitoring the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website's guidelines for public events, monitoring local travel advisories and communicating daily with our conference venue, the Ann Arbor Sheraton Hotel. This is a rapidly evolving situation and we will reassess immediately should anything change in the days ahead. 

As of today, we are moving forward with our plans to host Spring Institute. 

We promise you that we will institute precautions and implement healthy improvements (like plated meals instead of buffets, hand sanitizers in all breakout rooms, sanitizing all surfaces after each breakout, etc.)  Attendees are encouraged to follow the CDC's recommended preventative actions including:

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands

  • Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily

  • Practice social distancing and institute self-isolation if you feel sick

We know many organizations are evaluating travel policies and that attending Spring Institute is a choice that each attendee will need to make, based on their individual situation. Because of this, MLA is modifying our cancellation policy for Spring Institute. We will refund the full registration cost for any attendee that is ill, unable to travel to the event, or uncomfortable with attending, as long as cancellations are received in writing by Wednesday, March 18. To cancel, email Lisa Buttigieg at [email protected]. 

We urge you to not attend Spring Institute if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms identified by the CDC:

  • Fever

  • Cough

  • Shortness of breath

This is a challenging time for us, the nation and the world as we respond to novel coronavirus and the uncertainty surrounding it. We will do our best to stay on top of this quickly evolving situation and to communicate with you regularly and fully as conditions change. 

While we will continue to explore other alternatives to deliver this programming to you, in the event that MLA cancels the Spring Institute, attendees will receive a full refund of registration costs.

Deborah E. Mikula
Executive Director

More Information

Please visit the American Library Association (ALA) pandemic preparedness resource page for more information about how libraries can be community partners in response to this outbreak.

The Centers for Disease Control provides updates on the virus and safety information for the public and healthcare professionals.

The State of Michigan provides updates on the disease's spread within the state, as well as frequently asked questions available here.

The State Department provides a list of travel advisories for those who are planning to fly outside of the United States.


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