Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the common questions we expect you may have about the Conference considering the coronavirus pandemic.

There are two sections:

  1. A list of questions by topic area. Clicking on the topic will take you to that section of answers. Clicking on a specific question will take you to its answer.
  2. The questions (repeated) along with their answers.

List of Questions

San Diego In-Person Conference Plans

  1. How is COVID-19 affecting the IAJGS San Diego 2020 Conference?
  2. What deadlines should I be aware of concerning the San Diego Conference?
  3. Will the In-person Conference be cancelled or postponed?
  4. When and How will the decision be made to cancel or postpone the In-person Conference?
  5. How will IAJGS notify us when the decision has been made?
  6. If the In-person Conference is cancelled, will there be a Virtual Conference instead?
  7. Where will next year's In-person Conference be held and when will that decision be announced?
  8. How will refunds be handled if/when the In-person Conference is cancelled?
  9. How do I cancel my San Diego Sheraton Hotel Reservations and other travel arrangements?
  10. Should I change my San Diego airplane tickets to dates in 2021 now while they offer free travel date changes?
  11. When should I contact my Travel Insurance Agent about my purchased insurance?
  12. Will Cancellation Certificates/Documentation be provided by the IAJGS 2020 Conference?

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IAJGS 2020 Potential Virtual Conference Plans

  1. Will there be a Virtual Conference if the San Diego Conference is cancelled or postponed?
  2. When would the Virtual Conference be scheduled for?
  3. How many days would the Virtual Conference be scheduled for?
  4. How long will the sessions be and how many sessions will there be each conference day?
  5. What technology will be used to deliver a conference?
  6. Will there be charges for attending a Virtual Conference?
  7. Will there be interactive Question & Answer periods during the sessions?
  8. Will there be a library function to allow delayed viewing of any live or recorded presentations?
  9. Will it be possible to purchase the records of a Virtual Conference after the scheduled event if I didn't register and pay for the Virtual Conference?
  10. Will there be special events like films, SIG/RD annual meetings or game show nights?
  11. Will Special Interest Group (SIG) and Birds-of-a-Feather (BOF) meetings appear on the schedule?
  12. How will topics and lectures be chosen for a Virtual Conference?
  13. How will a Virtual Conference handle different time zone issues?
  14. Will Vendors/Sponsors be able to participate somehow in a Virtual Conference?
  15. How will speakers be chosen for a Virtual Conference?
  16. Will speakers be given the option to change their “Opt Out” answers from their initial agreement responses?
  17. Who will choose which lectures or topics a speaker might present?
  18. Who owns the rights to the recordings of a lecture in a Virtual Conference?
  19. How will speakers be compensated for participating in this Virtual Conference?
  20. How does speaker compensation agreements in this Virtual Conference apply to future IAJGS conferences?
  21. Can new speakers apply to be considered for the Virtual Conference?
  22. What types of volunteers will IAJGS need for a Virtual Conference?
  23. How can I volunteer to help with planning the Virtual Conference?
  24. How can I volunteer to help on the day of the Virtual Conference?
  25. What is the Expiry Date for a Virtual Conference Subscription?

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IAJGS General Questions Given Eventual Conference Plans

  1. Will the IAJGS Annual Meeting of the Members Take Place given any eventuality?
  2. Will the IAJGS 2020 Awards still be conferred, and if so, when?
  3. Will the IAJGS 2020 Grants still be conferred, and if so, when?

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Answers to Questions

Answers to San Diego In-Person Conference Plans

Q.  1. How is COVID-19 affecting the IAJGS San Diego 2020 Conference?
  A. 

Coronavirus Update (1 May 2020): Based on current events relating to COVID-19, the IAJGS has notified the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina that our conference scheduled for August 9–14, 2020 at that hotel cannot proceed. Full refunds will be made within the next two weeks to anyone who has already registered for the conference. Hotel cancellations should be handled directly with the hotel. We are currently exploring options for a virtual conference and details concerning that virtual conference will be released as they become available.

Coronavirus Update (24 April 2020): The IAJGS Board and the Conference organizers have been continuously monitoring information about the novel coronavirus. The health and safety of all our members and constituents are our paramount, indeed our only, concern. We are currently assessing all of our options and are looking into the possibility of some sort of virtual conference. We also want to assure everyone that in the event the in-person conference cannot be held, all registration fees will be refunded. We will post additional updates as they become available.

Q.  2. What deadlines should I be aware of concerning the San Diego Conference?
  A. 

All deadlines such as “Early Bird Registration” have been “suspended” pending our decision about if and how this IAJGS 2020 Conference can still occur under the circumstances.

Q.  3. Will the In-person Conference be cancelled or postponed?
  A. 

As of this writing (April 30, 2020), the IAJGS has not cancelled nor postponed the In-Person IAJGS 2020 San Diego Conference on Jewish Genealogy.

Q.  4. When and How will the decision be made to cancel or postpone the In-person Conference?
  A. 

The conference organizers will make the decision about the future of the San Diego Conference when we have enough information from the appropriate California government and health authorities.

Q.  5. How will IAJGS notify us when the decision has been made?
  A. 

When the IAJGS can make a decision about the future of the conference, it will be publicly posted on the IAJGS2020.org website and on the conference Facebook groups. Various other constituent groups such as Speakers, Registrants and JGS presidents will be notified by email.

Q.  6. If the In-person Conference is cancelled, will there be a Virtual Conference instead?
  A. 

The conference organizers are working on the plans for a potential Virtual Conference. Whether a Virtual Conference is feasible or not has not yet been determined and depends upon financial costs and effort/volunteerism needed for it to be successful.

Q.  7. Where will next year’s In-person Conference be held and when will that decision be announced?
  A. 

The IAJGS is in negotiation for a potential 2021 conference site in a location which is not San Diego, California. It is not yet known if a 2021 IAJGS In-person conference could held until there is a COVID-19 vaccine or whether that vaccine would be widely available by Summer 2021.

Q.  8. How will refunds be handled if/when the In-person Conference is cancelled?
  A. 

If the In-person Conference is cancelled, the conference organizers will conduct a methodical project to refund all registration funds for attendance, meals and recordings, including the $50 cancellation fee charged to those who cancelled prior to the conference being cancelled by the organizers.

Q.  9. How do I cancel my San Diego Sheraton Hotel Reservations and other travel arrangements?
  A. 

To cancel or modify your Hotel Reservations at the San Diego Sheraton Hotel & Marina, please contact Sheraton directly at: 619-291-2900. Other travel arrangements must be cancelled through your original contacts for those purchases or reservations.

Q.  10. Should I change my San Diego airplane tickets to dates in 2021 now while they offer free travel date changes?
  A. 

It is not yet known whether a 2021 IAJGS In-person conference could confidently held before there is a COVID-19 vaccine or whether that vaccine would be widely available by Summer 2021. The IAJGS is in negotiation for a potential 2021 conference in a location which is not San Diego, California. Therefore, IF the IAJGS were to reschedule in San Diego, it is more likely to be for the Summer of 2022 or 2023. The conference organizers are aware that registrants are asking this question because of the alternatives that their airline ticket and travel agents are presenting to them currently.

Q.  11. When should I contact my Travel Insurance Agent about my purchased insurance?
  A. 

The conference organizers are not experts in Travel Insurance. Our knowledge is only anecdotal. Therefore, you should contact your Travel Insurance Agent and learn what options and significant dates to be aware of if you intend to initiate an insurance claim in the event that the San Diego In-person Conference is officially cancelled or postponed.

Q.  12. Will Cancellation Certificates/Documentation be provided by the IAJGS 2020 Conference?
  A. 

As of this writing (April 30, 2020) the conference organizers are not knowledgeable about what a cancellation certificate/document would be used for - or what it should include in order to successfully serve such a specific purpose. However, we would be willing to learn what our registrants need in assistance from us in documentation and for whom it would be intended, when the time potentially comes for such documentation for our registrants.

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Answers to IAJGS 2020 Potential Virtual Conference Plans

Q.  1. Will there be a Virtual Conference if the San Diego Conference is cancelled or postponed?
  A. 

The conference organizers are working on the plans for a potential Virtual Conference. Whether a Virtual Conference is feasible or not has not yet been determined and depends upon financial costs and effort/volunteerism needed for it to be successful.

Q.  2. When would the Virtual Conference be scheduled for?
  A. 

The hope and intention of the organizers is to hold some reduced version of the In-person conference as a Virtual Conference and schedule it during the week of August 9–14, 2020 which is the timeslot scheduled for the In-Person San Diego Conference.

Q.  3. How many days would the Virtual Conference be scheduled for?
  A. 

It is most likely that a Virtual Conference would be scheduled sometime during the weekdays of Monday, August 10 through Thursday, August 13, 2020 and therefore be for a maximum of 4 days, but it still To Be Determined.

Q.  4. How long will the sessions be and how many sessions will there be each conference day?
  A. 

To Be Determined

Q.  5. What technology will be used to deliver a conference?<
  A. 

To Be Determined

Q.  6. Will there be charges for attending a Virtual Conference?
  A. 

Yes. The specifics of how much and what the offering will be remains To Be Determined.

Q.  7. Will there be interactive Question & Answer periods during the sessions?
  A. 

We do not yet know; however, we are investigating options including some interactive Q&A sessions in a potential Virtual Conference.

Q.  8. Will there be a library function to allow delayed viewing of any live or recorded presentations?
  A. 

We do not yet know; however, we are investigating options for providing delayed viewing considering the many Time Zones that our potential audience lives in.

Q.  9. Will it be possible to purchase the records of a Virtual Conference after the scheduled event if I didn't register and pay for the Virtual Conference?
  A. 

The Conference Organizers are looking into the possibility of marketing a recording with synced PowerPoint slides from a Virtual Conference after the scheduled event happens. This potential opportunity has not yet been determined.

Q.  10. Will there be special events like films, SIG/RD annual meetings or game show nights?
  A. 

We are investigating including some special events; however, it is unlikely that we will be replicating a typical “IAJGS Conference” format. There may be some surprises as well as some familiar things.

Q.  11. Will Special Interest Group (SIG) and Birds-of-a-Feather (BOF) meetings appear on the schedule?
  A. 

The Conference Organizers are considering hosting SIG/RD and BOF meetings at a specifically designated time which may be the week before or the evenings of a scheduled Virtual Conference.

Q.  12. How will topics and lectures be chosen for a Virtual Conference?
  A. 

The Conference Organizers, particularly the Conference Chair and the Program Chair, will recommend a program to the IAJGS president and schedule the Virtual Conference if the IAJGS decides to hold a Virtual Conference.

Q.  13. How will a Virtual Conference handle different time zone issues?
  A. 

We anticipate that a potential Virtual Conference would primarily consist of pre-recorded lectures and those could be viewed both during a scheduled time and on-demand for those in other time zones or for repeat viewings. The conference lectures would be open only to paying registrants and the on-demand feature would be available for a defined period of time — To Be Determined.

Q.  14. Will Vendors/Sponsors be able to participate somehow in a Virtual Conference?
  A. 

Yes! We are reviewing offerings that will potentially include an Exhibitor/Sponsor Module and expect to provide marketing opportunities as well as the opportunity to thank our sponsors in our potential Virtual Conference.

Q.  15. How will speakers be chosen for a Virtual Conference?
  A. 

Speakers will be selected from the large pool of speakers who signed acceptance agreements with us for the San Diego In-Person Conference in the event of a Virtual Conference. The conference organizers reserve the right to invite additional speakers at our own discretion - in the unlikely event that an overview of the Virtual Conference schedule appears to have a thematic or expertise "hole" in it. However, we do not anticipate re-opening the abstract submission process again in 2020 for a Virtual Conference.

Q.  16. Will speakers be given the option to change their “Opt Out” answers from their initial agreement responses?
  A. 

If a speaker’s accepted proposal is selected for a potential Virtual Conference and they have somehow “opted out” already in terms of providing PowerPoint Slides and/or permission to record them, then the conference organizers will contact the presenter to ask if they would consider changing their “opt out” choices. We will only select presentations for which we can provide synced PowerPoint slides and from speakers who agree to be recorded and to make those recordings available to our paying audience during the time period that we specify.

Q.  17. Who will choose which lectures or topics a speaker might present?
  A. 

Lecture, topics, format and schedule will be determined by the Conference Organizers, chiefly the Conference Chair and the Program Chair.

Q.  18. Who owns the rights to the recordings of a lecture in a Virtual Conference?
  A. 

Typically, the conference owns the recording rights and would be restricted from sub-licensing those rights. However, in this case, we are still reviewing our options. It is most likely, that the IAJGS would retain the rights.

Q.  19. How will speakers be compensated for participating in this Virtual Conference?
  A. 

In the event of a Virtual Conference, speakers would most likely be offered “free registration” for the Virtual Conference in return for their participation as speakers in it.

Q.  20. How does speaker compensation agreements in this Virtual Conference apply to future IAJGS conferences?
  A. 

Any arrangement between the IAJGS and conference speakers in a potential Virtual Conference will have no bearing on future In-person conferences. The IAJGS Speaker Policies are currently under review as part of an Ad Hoc Committee and will remain a separate IAJGS decision.

Q.  21. Can new speakers apply to be considered for the Virtual Conference?
  A. 

No. The Conference Organizers will not be accepting applications for any new offerings whether from currently accepted speakers or from outside that speaker pool. A potential Virtual Conference would have fewer speakers and presentations than already accepted for the San Diego In-person conference.

Q.  22. What types of volunteers will IAJGS need for a Virtual Conference?
  A. 

The Conference Organizers are still determining the resources needed for a successful Virtual Conference given our audience's particular interests and needs. At this point, we believe that we will need: people to train our speakers; people to train our registrants; moderators/hosts for live interaction while waiting for a session to begin and for moderating and consolidating the questions that come in during live Q&A sessions; and, finally, a HelpDesk volunteer staff to handle real time technical problems during the scheduled Virtual Conference.

Q.  23. How can I volunteer to help with planning the Virtual Conference?
  A. 

To be determined. Thank you for your interest! Please write to Volunteers@iajgs2020.org

Q.  24. How can I volunteer to help on the day of the Virtual Conference?
  A. 

To be determined. Thank you for your interest! Please write to Volunteers@iajgs2020.org

Q.  25. What is the Expiry Date for a Virtual Conference Subscription?
  A. 

To Be Determined; however, the anticipated Expiry Date for a Virtual Conference Subscription is expected to be in the range of less than one year from August 2020 and longer than a couple of weeks from August 2020.

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Answers to General Questions Given Eventual Conference Plans

Q.  1. Will the IAJGS Annual Meeting of the Members Take Place given any eventuality?
  A. 

Yes, the IAJGS Annual Meeting of the Members will take place according to the IAJGS By-Laws given any eventual conference plans or postponements.

Q.  2. Will the IAJGS 2020 Awards still be conferred, and if so, when?
  A. 

There is a committee working to select award winners and those presentations are expected to be announced at the IAJGS Annual Meeting of the Members. Tangible certificates or plaques would be mailed directly to recipients after the Annual Meeting and media publicity would follow.

Q.  3. Will the IAJGS 2020 Grants still be conferred, and if so, when?
  A. 

There is a committee working to select grant winners based upon criteria tailored to our world situation. These grants, the Rabbi Malcolm Stern Grant and the John Stedman Memorial Grant will most likely be awarded independent of and prior to any Virtual Conference in order to allow the funds to support projects that might be able to be propelled by the Shelter-at-Home experience the world currently faces.

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