6 January 2022

New Task Force on AAS 239 Cancelation Response

Paula Szkody

Paula Szkody University of Washington, Seattle

AAS President's Message

As you all know, 2021 ended with an unanticipated state of the world due to the rise of the Omicron variant, which led to the cancelation of our January meeting. Kevin Marvel provided an excellent summary of the situation leading up to the Board’s decision to cancel in the message that went out on 28 December 2021. As he said, we are all devastated at the decision that had to be made, and we know that it affects some people more than others. While we all have to deal with the airlines to cancel flights, the airlines are generally allowing credit for future flights that we hope can be used to attend the June meeting in Pasadena. But there are much more challenging things to deal with than flight cancellations. These include the loss of personal contacts for grad schools and jobs, the inability to meet with colleagues or make new connections for research, and the loss of the opportunity to hear the latest about the James Webb Space Telescope or other space and ground projects.

Some of these losses will be compensated for with the June meeting. But in the meantime, we and the town hall presenters are considering the possibility of some virtual gatherings that might help alleviate the lost job connections and share the information that needs to get out prior to June. A quickly formulated AAS Task Force is meeting in the next week to determine possibilities. Please stay tuned via the AAS News Digest and direct emails as events are organized.

Thanks to the more than 200 members who responded on one-day notice on 21 December to help the Board in its decision. Your messages gave us a valuable perspective on the needs of our diverse membership, which includes amateurs, undergrads, grads, postdocs, faculty, science professionals, and emeritus members. Please continue to send us your thoughts as we work our way back to the new normality.

Hoping 2022 is an easier year for everyone.

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