Updated: July 18, 2020
In a normal year, we would be wrapping up our topic interest survey right about now, and prepping our carrier pigeons to cast the wide net known as the ‘call for speakers.’ We’d be bombarding your inbox with surveys, and such. Instead, we’re wearing masks and checking our hands for paper-cuts on a daily basis.
TLDR: We are informing you that CodeMash 2021 [and KidzMash] has been cancelled.
“I want to know more, and I like reading.”:
Back in June, the CodeMash committee started working with the Kalahari to pull together a plan for how we could still hold CodeMash 2021 and stay safe. We did the best we could, and published that plan at www.codemash.org/covid. We then asked you, the faithful attendee, the intrepid speaker, and the amazing sponsor, to give us your feedback on said plan.
The feedback was loud and clear. It was near universal that people would choose to not attend, speak at, nor sponsor CodeMash 2021 because of Covid, despite how great they thought our plan was. Only 10% of respondents said they would come. We also combed through all of the written responses for ideas and feedback as well. The feedback could be summed as “We love CodeMash, there isn’t a safe way to do this, and we’ll see you in January 2022.”
This put us in a tough position, considering our contract with the Kalahari. The Kalahari has always been a great partner to us, helping us in our mission, and being flexible because we are a community run not-for-profit. We showed them the anonymous survey results, and talked about the impact to our plans, and said that we felt we needed to cancel CodeMash 2021, for both safety and financial reasons.
As a sign of a great partner, while disappointed, they fully understood, and waived any cancellation fees or penalties! Without hesitation. If they had chosen to enforce those penalties, it would have ended CodeMash as an organization.
Our team did discuss offering a virtual event. We chose to cancel the conference instead of planning CodeMash® Virtual Edition™ for a few reasons.
- There are other great conferences that have gone virtual this year, and we didn’t think we could add anything unique to the space. You should attend one of those conferences.
- It would be like planning a completely different event, which means not being able to reuse a lot of our regular tools and processes.
- We feel that the real value of CodeMash (the in-person connections, etc) go beyond sitting in a room with a speaker, and therefore, didn’t really translate to a fully virtual conference.
We also looked at delaying CodeMash 2021 until the summer. While that might be doable, that also had a few issues. First, summer is already a packed conference season, which is one reason why we run in January. That would also put two CodeMashes very close together on the calendar. Most speakers, attendees, and sponsors would find it hard to spend time and money on two CodeMashes within six months. We are looking at the possibility of a couple small one-day workshops that would not conflict, to be held next summer.
We are officially suspending the CodeMash planning thread, and will awaken in May of 2021 to start planning for CodeMash 2022.
If you can, please support the Kalahari, as they have been a great partner to us, and like many businesses, they are working hard to make it through such a challenging time. Give them a shout out on the twitters, and maybe purchase a gift card this year in anticipation of great fun at Kalahari during CodeMash 2022.
Until we see you next year at CodeMash 2022, please be safe and ship quality software.
<<< What follows below is our original Covid-19 plan. >>>
The CodeMash committee has been working to see if we can safely run the conference during the Covid-19 pandemic. We think that we have found a way to follow all of the safety guidelines and put on a safe conference.
We’ve outlined our plan below. The plan is based on what we know today. We will update the plan as we learn more, and as the Kalahari continues to run conferences. We are structuring as much as we can so that we can minimize negative consequences if we are forced to cancel later in the year.
- The Kalahari have documented their check-in and hotel changes on their Covid page.
- The Kalahari have hired a healthcare coordinator. The healthcare coordinator will be stationed in the conference center and will coordinate all of the cleaning and safety protocols. They will be available to assist attendees with health checks, and they will have safety supplies available.
- The stage will be made smaller so that we can fit in more round tables for dining. This will allow for more tables, with a lower fill density. The normal capacity of 8 people per table will be reduced to 4.
- Each dining spot will be cleaned and made available by the Kalahari staff in between each diner.
- The self-service meal buffets will either be replaced with chef-served buffets or with self-serve pre-plated meals. The special meals window will remain chef run.
- Session room layouts will be spaced out more with limited seating capacity. In some configurations (lab setup), plastic shields will be used between workstations.
- The Kalahari has purchased vapor sanitizers and will be sanitizing each session room two times per day.
- CodeMash will be providing branded masks and health kits to all participants.
- All participants (sponsors, speakers, attendees, and staff, etc) will be required to wear a mask while in the conference area except when presenting or when eating.
- We will be reviewing each program area regarding how they can operate safely in a Covid environment. Some programs will be modified or cancelled for this year.
- Coat Check – Coat check will be closed Tue-Thu and will only be open on Friday for those wishing to check luggage. Self-serve coat racks will be made available throughout the conference center.
- Artemis – The space ship bridge simulator will adjust cleaning protocols (and invert the polarity matrix of the quantum sensors).
- Board Gaming – We will spread the gaming tables out. No trail mix nor pretzels will be served in the board gaming room this year.
- Laser Tag – The cleansing protocols will be adjusted.
- MakerSpace – We will use plastic shields to separate the space, and we will expand the allocated space for stations so that they can be spread out.
- Thursday Waterpark Party (10pm-1am) – We will be removing this from the schedule this year.
- Families will not be allowed in the conference center area.
- The on-site KidzMash will be shifted to an online experience. We will have a broadcast booth at CodeMash for the KidzMash speakers. The sessions will focus on what Kidz can do and build at home.
- We will still have the KidzMash cabanas at the waterpark.
Our plan will be constantly evolving as we learn how to stay healthy with Covid in our lives. We have a short survey we’d like you to take. Given that we can operate safely, would you still come?
There is a certain minimum level of attendees we will need to be able to hold a great conference.