It has been three weeks since the last time I sent a message to our INCOSE family regarding COVID-19. Since then it has become a pandemic with many countries, organisations and businesses introducing new restrictions and guidance to minimise the rapid spread of the virus. The fact is the COVID-19 will be with us for quite some time and all measures taken to date will “flatten the curve of infected numbers” but potentially extend the duration of COVID-19. We therefore need to take care of our families and friends and remain positive under these trying times.
Firstly, from the INCOSE leaders, our hearts and thoughts are with you all. We would also like to send a big thank you to all our members and their families who are able to continue to offer services to their communities, whether they are “front-line responders”, the engineer on a critical project, the local transport provider or the retailer. Your contributions are outstanding.
To all members of INCOSE we encourage you to follow the guidance provided by your authorised authorities and the World Health Organisation (WHO). As such the following restrictions now apply–
- INCOSE is prohibiting all INCOSE related meetings and external INCOSE representation requiring air travel, whether domestic or international, without approval from the INCOSE Officers until 31 May 2020, at which time this restriction will be reviewed.
- INCOSE highly discourages any INCOSE related face-to-face meeting and the decision to hold such a meeting is at the sole discretion of the INCOSE meeting organiser.
- We encourage you to consider alternative means of communication available such as conference calling.
- Social distancing and good hygiene practices are to be employed where practical.
- Any external INCOSE representation in support of another organisation’s face-to-face meeting is at the individual member’s discretion.
In parallel to the above restrictions, we have been working hard behind the scenes to support all our INCOSE activities and members.
We have a task team evaluating different remote participation applications to be made available for all members for all INCOSE related meetings, worldwide. It is likely we may have more than one recommended application with guidance on which application is best suited for a specific virtual participation, location and volume of users.
We are assisting various groups within INCOSE to restructure their programs, events and meetings to make greater use of remote participation and, where possible and practical, to reschedule events later in the year. If you need assistance, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are keeping a close eye on the changing circumstances in Cape Town and globally with respect to the International Symposium IS 2020, July 2020. At present, the South African government has placed restrictions on travel and gatherings until further notice, which can prevent us holding IS 2020 in Cape Town. However, from further discussions these restrictions may or may not continue past May. It is unknown at this point in time. As such we are continuing to plan the event taking into consideration –
- The possibility of virtual participation for some sessions,
- A smaller scale conference with greater outreach post conference date,
- Additional hygiene services at the event,
- The possibility of delaying the event,
- Exploring options to publish finalised papers in various online proceedings.
The wellbeing of our members is our highest priority. We will continue to closely follow the recommended health and safety precautions. Likewise, we will keep you informed on a regular basis of any updates relating to COVID-19.
Keep well, keep safe.