The 2020 AIHEC Student Conference, which had been scheduled for Albuquerque, NM on March 21-24, 2020, will not take place out of an abundance of caution and concern for Tribal College students and their families, TCU faculty and staff, the residents of New Mexico, and most important, our Tribal elders upon whom we depend.
Since the annual AIHEC Student Conference typically brings together at least 1,000 attendees from nearly half the states in this country, this difficult decision was made even though no known case of the rapidly spreading novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has been reported in New Mexico. Of course, the number of reported cases could – and likely will – change over the next two weeks. This year, moving forward with the conference was particularly difficult due to the number of tribal governments that have announced travel bans and mandatory quarantines and the decision by several larger TCUs to stay home
Although U.S. governmental officials place the risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus low at this time (especially if you wash your hands frequently), already the CDC is urging persons aged 60 and over to begin preparing for potential disruption of daily life should the virus spread to their communities or if they come into contact with someone or something carrying the virus.
We will keep you informed as the host TCUs make decisions on next steps related to this decision, and please check the AIHEC Student Conference website for additional information as the hosts work through the myriad of issues surrounding this decision.