Re: Ethical Responsibilities of Genealogical Organizations during the Global COVID-19 Pandemic #guidelines #education

Judy Petersen

I appreciate this discussion very much.
I personally, am not planning any travel for 2021 and maybe even 2022.  Out of respect for both those who are willing to travel, and those who are not, I wo think planning a hybrid conference from the outset makes the most sense.

One thing that has not yet been mentioned--the virus has mutated.  There are at least 2 known mutations, and we do not yet know whether the vaccines available provide protection, either short term, long term or partial protection from these mutations, or for how long.  I think we will be playing catch-up trying to stave off this disease for a quite awhile, which is basically why I'm not getting my hopes up that large, in-person gatherings will be feasible in the near to mid-term future.

As many of us have, I have been attending virtual conferences, webinars, lectures, etc. all year.  As much as I would like to see people in person, I find that virtual learning is a very satisfactory platform, for several reasons:
1) Cost: With my budget, I can attend more sessions, as many virtual sessions as either free, or have a much reduced cost.
2) Flexibility: Most sessions are recorded, and I can watch them at my leisure.
3) Access: I have been attended webinars taking place all over the world; this has allowed me to experience a greater variety of topics than previously.

Of course, the major disadvantage is for a) the vendors, who rely on in-person contacts and sales, and b) networking/social activities amongst participants.  I think many providers are getting better at meeting the social needs, whether through "schmooze time" before and after lectures, breakout rooms where like-minded people can get together, virtual cocktail parties, etc. Meeting the needs of vendors may require some more creative problem solving, but I think is do-able.

I'd also like to address Dr. Blumsohn's concern of slipping into a totalitarian mindset--while I share your concern about the vaccine's efficacy over the long term, etc., once that has been established, how would showing evidence of vaccination be any different than schools requiring evidence of vaccination before they allow children to attend, which is the current standard?  I guess I just don't see it as that big of a deal.

Thank you to all,

Judy Petersen
Fort Collins, CO, USA

MODERATOR NOTE: Moderna states that their vaccine works against two of the mutant viruses: Moderna is Making a Mutant-Proof Vaccine, Just in Case It’s Needed ( 

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