I write this update regarding our 2021 Symposium with mixed emotions. The Board of Directors and Executive committee have unanimously decided that due to the ongoing COVID circumstances we will move the 2021 ESS Symposium to a virtual format. We remain fully committed to working with the local Texas A&M organizing committee on an in-person symposium in 2023.
This decision was made after extensive data gathering, communication, and discussion. Feedback from ESS members and discussions in the Executive, Local Arrangements, and Program committees all contributed to our final decision. Contributing factors included inability of members to travel, challenges completing research, and uncertainty regarding the safety and capabilities of in-person gatherings at the 2021 Symposium.
I expect that the Virtual 2021 ESS Symposium will occur at the beginning of June. Members should look for further communication with specific details from the Program Committee over the coming months. Pat Harris, our Vice-President and Symposium Program Chair, has communicated plans for a robust and valuable virtual symposium with oral and poster presentations, invited speakers, networking opportunities, and our traditional general business meeting. Pat will be coordinating the efforts of many ESS members who have already communicated their support in making the 2021 Symposium a success. I am particularly excited about the opportunity this virtual symposium may present to individuals who have previously not participated in ESS. We hope to see a larger national and international participation this coming year!
I am confident that many of our members share my desire for a face-to-face ESS symposium. I'm disappointed that I have to wait a bit longer for what is sure to be bigger and better in Texas! But, I've also seen and heard the enthusiasm from our Program Committee and Board of Directors for conducting a high quality virtual symposium, and I am confident there are opportunities for ESS in this new venture.
My best regards to all of you over the coming Holiday Season!
President of the Equine Science Society