Special Message: Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

UPDATE: March 9, 2020

AAS2020 Boston Conference Cancellation

It is with deep regret that we inform you of the cancellation of the AAS 2020 Annual Conference in Boston, Massachusetts.  Over the past few weeks, the AAS leadership and staff have been monitoring worldwide developments related to COVID-19. With many countries and regions recommending self-quarantine and many institutions strongly advising staff, faculty and students to restrict travel, we know it is no longer practical nor ethical to continue with our annual conference.

The AAS is committed to refunding the registration of all participants and exhibitor fees. Please view the refund policy. We also recognize that the AAS will experience a significant financial setback due to cancellation fees levied by the hotels and convention center as well as a loss in conference revenue. Many of our registered attendees have expressed a desire to donate their registration fees to the AAS in lieu of receiving a refund. We greatly appreciate such generosity and support. If you are interested in donating your registration fee, please fill out this form by Thursday, March 19.

We have set up an FAQ page for additional information and to provide regular updates to keep you informed. Please check this page regularly for additional information and important updates.

Attendees do not need to contact the AAS directly to request a refund of conference registration fees.

UPDATE: March 3, 2020

Due to increased concerns regarding COVID-19, we are extending the ability to cancel registration and receive a full refund to any registered individual who will find it difficult to attend the AAS Annual Conference in Boston, March 19-22.

All requests for refunds or requests to present remotely must be submitted by Wednesday, March 11. We will begin processing reimbursements after March 11. 

The AAS continues to stay abreast of new information posted by WHO and the CDC. As the situation changes, we will continue to update our information and notifications. The CDC currently recommends that the public follow everyday preventative actions that include hand washing, covering your cough, and staying home if you are ill. In preparation for the conference, the AAS is preparing for the distribution of hand sanitizer on site as well as arranging for EMS health services at the conference. We will not distribute facemasks at the conference. The CDC does not recommend that healthy individuals wear a facemask to protect themselves from COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases.

We ask that if you are ill and/or have health concerns that you not take the risk of traveling and please stay home and take care of yourself.

Please contact Angie Bermudez at AASregistration@asianstudies.org if you need to cancel your registration. (See most recent message above)

As a reminder, we are offering the option of remote presentation to those participants unable to travel. The AAS will provide internet connections in presentation rooms to ensure that remote presentations will go smoothly. If you would prefer to participate remotely, please contact the Chair of your session first, and, second, contact AASconference@asianstudies.org to arrange for the remote presentation. For those presenting remotely, the following applies:

  • Please arrange with fellow presenters to use a computer. Due to limited resources, the AAS and the Convention Center/Sheraton are not able to provide notebook computers for all sessions. The session Chair should work with remote participants regarding the use of a session laptop computer.
  • The AAS will cancel a session if none of the participants will be present. At least one session participant must be on site to allow for remote participation.

We will continue to monitor the situation and will post updates with any new information for attendees as it becomes available.

UPDATE: February 26, 2020

We are extending the registration refund request deadline to March 11 for those affected by airline, government or university travel restrictions. We will not process reimbursements until after March 11, as restrictions may change. We will continue to monitor the situation day-to-day and will update attendees should this affect the annual conference in any way.

If the travel bans hold into the month of March, affected participants (traveling from China, Hong Kong or out of Incheon, South Korea) will need to choose one of the options as listed below in the original announcement.

Please refer to this page for future updates.

UPDATE: February 20, 2020

The AAS continues to receive updates on the escalating global impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on people’s lives and academic conferences around the world. The tragic loss of lives has been quite sobering, and our deepest condolences go to those who have been impacted directly by the coronavirus outbreak.  We are encouraged to see that, out of the thousands who have contracted the virus many more have survived than perished from it. This gives us much hope.

Health concerns remain a priority for the AAS. We also know that we will overcome this outbreak more easily if we stay rational and focused. For this reason, the AAS is monitoring daily updates from the World Health Organization (WHO) as well as the advice and updates released daily from the PCMA (Professional Conference Managers Association). According to the CDC’s latest situation summary, the health risk from the coronavirus for the general American public is low at this time. The consensus among PCMA member associations is that cancellation of conferences in the Americas is currently premature. We encourage all members and attendees who have concerns about the novel coronavirus and traveling to refer to the CDC or World Health Organization websites and not rely solely on news sources. 

Because the risk of the contagion is low in the US, particularly given that on average 80% of our attendees are from the continental US, we are moving ahead with the annual conference in Boston. At the same time, we are offering concessions for those affected by travel restrictions and those who are traveling from affected areas. To the few members and attendees who have inquired about the status of attendance cancellations, the AAS has received a minimal number of cancellations with nearly 99% related to travel restrictions challenges. We fully support our colleagues and exhibitors in mainland China and other heavily affected areas, and we will continue to take care of their needs in light of this health crisis.

The CDC currently recommends that the general public follow everyday preventative actions that include hand washing, covering your cough, and staying home if you are ill.  The AAS is also taking measures to assist with ensuring good hygiene practices; these include providing hand sanitizers to attendees and including EMS health services on-site at the conference (always a standard service option available to groups in convention centers).

We will continue to monitor the situation and will post updates with any new information for attendees as it becomes available.

As of February 5, 2020, 11:00 a.m. Eastern

The AAS is aware of the current developments regarding the novel Coronavirus including travel restrictions currently in place as countries try to control the spread of the virus (see https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories/china-travel-advisory.html).

Please be advised that the AAS Annual Conference will continue as scheduled, March 19-22, 2020 in Boston.

We understand that some registered participants are now facing travel restrictions beyond their control. The U.S. has temporarily barred entry to foreign nationals who have visited China and pose a risk of spreading the illness, unless they are immediate relatives of U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Only seven U.S. airports are currently taking flights from China. Delta Air Lines Inc. and American Airlines Group Inc. have suspended all flights to China for the time being, and United Airlines will suspend service to Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu from Feb. 6. This means that presenters from China and other international travelers may have to face a decision to either cancel their participation or continue with their presentations via remote access.

Our current registration cancellation deadline is February 18th. We are extending this deadline to March 1. We will not process reimbursements until after March 1, as restrictions may change. We will continue to monitor the situation day to day and will update attendees should this affect the annual conference in any way.

If the travel bans holds into the months of March, affected participants will need to choose either to:

A. Cancel registration and request a refund in writing via email.


B. Maintain registrant status and arrange to continue with scheduled presentation via teleconferencing (SKYPE, ZOOM, etc.). The option to do remote presentations is offered only to those affected directly by the travel ban. To do so, participants must:

1. Verify they are unable to travel due to a travel ban
2. Notify the Conference Manager of the intent to present via remote connection
3. Coordinate the effort with the Chair of the panel

Please send all cancellations and refund requests to Angie Bermudez at AASregistration@asianstudies.org

Please email AASconference@asianstudies.org regarding your requests to participate remotely.

Important Note: The policy remains in effect regarding number of presentations per panel. As a result of limited participation on one particular panel, the panel may be subject to cancellation.

AAS Secretariat staff are working remotely due to CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19. Please contact staff by email rather than phone. Staff directory