AOA Announces Cancellation of ‘Live’ Portion of Optometry’s Meeting

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ST. LOUIS—The American Optometric Association (AOA) has announced this morning that the “live” portion of the upcoming Optometry’s Meeting has been canceled. The news was announced in an email that notified meeting registrants of this important change. Optometry’s Meeting was scheduled for June 24-28 at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md., just outside of Washington, D.C. “Given the growing concerns around the global spread of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 and the need to prioritize the health and safety of our members, students, AOA staff, exhibitors and each of you, we’ve made the difficult decision to cancel the in-person Optometry’s Meeting 2020,” a note signed by AOA president Barbara Horn, OD, said.

“This is the first time the event has been canceled and, while this is the right decision to make for everyone’s health, it is heartbreaking,” the letter added. “Recognizing the importance of several key elements of Optometry’s Meeting, we are working with our Boards to quickly identify possible options, including a virtual experience for members to continue their professional development. While we map out the details, we did want to share the information we have now about key elements of Optometry’s Meeting.”

Among the updates AOA provided Thursday morning:

Education. Optometry’s Meeting 2020 was prepared to deliver over 140 continuing education and 60 paraoptometric courses—education that doctors and staff are still seeking. The AOA will proceed in offering education for doctors and paraoptometrics using a virtual platform.

House of Delegates. The preeminent assembly of our profession’s leaders and decision-makers, the AOA House of Delegates will be called for a one-time, special meeting for the purposes of AOA Board of Trustees elections and installation to reflect the usual and customary practices for an AOA election. This special meeting of the House will be held in June 2020, while most typical agenda items included within the House will be postponed to a later meeting with dates to be determined.

AOA+. This year-long, annual initiative is an incredible opportunity to deeply engage the profession’s next generation, and while Optometry’s Meeting planned to welcome over 2,020 students and new doctors, the AOA looks forward to continuing the AOA+ efforts later in 2020 and beyond.

AOA on Capitol Hill. Although the AOA’s single-largest, annual federal advocacy meeting, AOA on Capitol Hill, is also canceled as part of Optometry’s Meeting 2020, the crisis advocacy mobilization will continue. The AOA just issued an immediate call to action in support of AOA-backed, bipartisan legislation (S. 3559, Sens. Barrasso-Bennet/H.R. 6365, Reps. Schrier-Roe) to provide new federal grant and loan support for doctors of optometry and optometry practices. Visit AOA’s Legislative Action Center or text AOA to (855) 465-5124 for how you can help build AOA’s advocacy momentum as Congress mulls its next crisis relief bill.

Meeting, event registrations. Additionally, all Optometry’s Meeting and Optometry Cares 5K Run/Walk registrations will be canceled on attendees’ behalf and, if applicable, will be refunded the fees in the same method they were made. For example, if an attendee paid via credit card, their credit card will be refunded and a confirmation email sent.

Hotel reservations. All hotel reservations booked within the Optometry’s Meeting block will be canceled on attendees’ behalf. As the credit card was only used to hold a reservation and not charged, a refund is not necessary. Attendees who booked a room within the block will receive an email confirmation once the cancellation is processed. Attendees who booked outside the Optometry’s Meeting block will need to cancel their own reservation.

The letter also noted that more details, including dates and timing for many of these elements, will be forthcoming. AOA said it recognizes that this news creates many questions for attendees and partners and that it intends to publish available information at optometrysmeeting.org.  AOA will update this resource with additional information as it becomes available.

If you do have questions or concerns in the meantime, please email the AOA at askAOA@aoa.org.