ESA Updates Related to COVID-19

Updated as of May 25, 2020

ESA continues normal operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The information below answers frequently asked questions we’ve received about operations, meetings, and programs. If you have a specific question that is not answered here, please contact the ESA staff.

 

OPERATIONS

What is ESA doing to help members during the COVID-19 pandemic?

ESA continues to serve as the primary source for many of the professional needs of entomologists. Through our journals, blog, ESA eNews, Twitter and Facebook, and other online resources, we are seeking to maintain as much stability as possible and to continue to provide members with high-quality information. Additionally, we are seeking ways to help members adapt to these uncertain times. As an example, ESA recently organized two webinars to assist with the transition to distance learning: “Helping Educators Adapt to Online Entomology Education” and “Helping Students Adapt to Online Learning.”

The ESA Governing Board also voted on April 9 to reallocate funds budgeted for strategic initiatives to help establish a fund to support members who are unable to pay some or all of their dues due to COVID-19. Member donations will be accepted for this fund, and ESA will match member donations dollar for dollar up to $10,000.

Staff are working now to set up ESA’s financial systems to accept donations to this fund and to draft guidelines for how the funds will be disbursed to members in need. Full details will be announced to the membership in the near future.

What is being done to maintain operations at headquarters?

Annapolis declared a state of emergency on March 13 and the following Monday, March 16, ESA quickly transitioned to remote operations, with all staff working from home. If staff must visit the office, only one staff person may be in the office at a time.

We are grateful that ESA already had extensive experience with telework and had systems in place that made for an easy transition. Staff will continue to work remotely until the state of emergency in Annapolis ends and national, state, and local guidance indicates that it is safe to return.

Daily operations are largely unaffected, though some slowdown of response is to be expected due to some staff needing to coordinate childcare with their professional responsibilities. To reach anyone on staff, please consult the staff directory.

Are the ESA journals still publishing during the coronavirus outbreak?

Journal submissions are still being received, reviewed, edited, and published as normal, and the ESA editorial office remains open.

Our publishers at Oxford University Press are experiencing some slowdowns in production due to stay-home orders affecting their copyeditors and typesetters in India; we ask authors for patience as our typesetters work as quickly as they can.

Oxford has also ceased mailing print journals to institutional addresses, as most institutions are not able to receive mail at this time. Back issues will be mailed as soon as institutions move back to normal operations.

Is the ESA annual awards program affected by COVID-19?

ESA’s annual call for awards nominations is moving forward. The deadline for submissions for ESA professional, early career, and student awards, as well as the ESA Certification Corporation Awards, is June 1.

The deadline for the Founders’ Memorial Award and the ESA Fellows was extended to April 16 to allow extra time for nominators who might have been affected by the pandemic. Unfortunately, the deadline for nominations for Honorary Member awards could not be extended due to the timing of the Society’s summer elections.

How is the pandemic affecting the ESA Science Policy program?

ESA continues to focus on its top policy priorities. ESA has responded to inquiries about funding priorities related to the COVID-19 stimulus bills, in addition to the regular appropriations requests ESA and its coalition partners all have submitted for fiscal year 2021. Since Congress is not currently in Washington D.C. due to the pandemic, the Spring 2020 Science Policy Fellows visit to Capitol Hill was canceled.

We are also continuing to respond to requests for information from federal funding agencies on a range of topics and helping to disseminate information agencies are sharing as guidance and deadlines change during this challenging time. 

How can individuals interested in the ACE, BCE, or PHE exam take the test while social distancing rules are in place?

ESA is offering vouchers for a remote proctoring service that can work with test takers. To request a voucher, contact ESA’s certification programs manager, Willet Hossfeld, at whossfeld@entsoc.org.

Alternatively, prospective ACEs and BCEs whose deadline for testing is approaching who wish to wait and take the test with a live proctor once social distancing is no longer in force may request an extension.

 

ANNUAL MEETING

Will ESA hold its Annual Meeting this year?

ESA is currently planning to hold its Annual Meeting in Orlando in November. However, the COVID-19 pandemic is an inherently unpredictable situation, and we will watch developments as well as national, state, and local guidance on travel and gatherings closely.

The Program Committee is working now to develop virtual content to ensure that entomologists whose health or personal circumstances would increase their risk can participate in the meeting without traveling to Orlando.

Anyone who wishes to cancel their registration for Entomology 2020 due to concerns about health or travel will receive a 100 percent refund, to give members and attendees peace of mind leading up to the conference.

Will the Grand Challenges summit occur this year at the Annual Meeting?

The Grand Challenges planning committee has decided to postpone the summit focused on pre-border prevention of invasive species until the 2021 Annual Meeting in Denver.

How will ESA decide whether or not to hold its Annual Meeting?

ESA is closely watching the development of the COVID-19 pandemic and guidance shared by national, state, and local authorities. If the decision is made to cancel Entomology 2020, this will be shared with members and registrants as quickly as possible, along with information about next steps.

Have submission deadlines for the Annual Meeting changed?

Paper and poster submissions for Entomology 2020 are open now. The deadline for submission has been extended to June 22 to accommodate those who need extra time to complete their submissions. Learn more about paper and poster submissions.

 

BRANCH MEETINGS

How were the ESA Branch meetings affected by the coronavirus?

All in-person ESA Branch meetings planned for 2020 were canceled or postponed due to the impacts of the coronavirus. All registrants will receive a full refund. Read more on specific Branch meeting cancellations and postponements.

ESA’s International Branch held its Virtual Symposium as scheduled from April 27-29. The International Branch reopened submissions to its symposium to allow poster submissions from members who were unable to present at the in-person Branch meetings this year; ESA is grateful to the International Branch for its flexibility.

How will the Linnaean Games competition move forward this year, since no competitions were held at the Branch level?

The national Linnaean Games Committee is currently discussing how to move Branch-level competition forward this year. They have surveyed teams at the Branch level and, based on the feedback received, are planning to host Branch competitions at the start of the Annual Meeting in November.

 

LEADERSHIP AND ELECTIONS

Will ESA’s leadership and elections be affected by the pandemic?

The rotation of Branch officers is unaffected by the canceled and postponed Branch meetings. Each Branch has held a business meeting webinar to inform members about Branch business and to transition to the next set of leaders.

At the national level, the Society will hold its elections this summer as it usually does, and elected leaders’ terms will not change. Nominations are open for the summer Society elections through June 1.