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March 5, 2020

I.  Travel to the Conference

The AAAS administrative staff continues to monitor how the Novel Coronavirus/COVID-19 may affect plans for the April conference. As of this writing, the AAAS annual meeting will continue as scheduled in Washington, D.C. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‘s current risk assessment, “most people in the United States will have little immediate risk of exposure to this virus. This virus is not currently spreading widely in the United States.” 

Each member must decide what is in their best interest, in terms of traveling. However, we believe that the information we currently have does not warrant the cancellation of the conference at this time. We will monitor both CDC and WHO websites, as well as local Washington, D.C. health center guidelines, and we will share information about any updates and changes as soon as we are able. For more information, please go to the CDC Information for Travel page. Please follow expert recommendations to help prevent the spread of Novel Coronavirus/COVID-19, which include the following:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. 
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. 
  • Cough into your elbow and sneeze into a tissue.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. 
  • Stay home when you are sick. 
  • Remain at home until you are fever free for 24 hours without using fever reducing medications. 

We understand that some registered participants are facing travel restrictions. Effective February 2, 2020, the United States government has barred entry to the U.S. by 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.

If your travel has been directly affected by the above travel restriction and you wish to receive a refund of your conference registration, please contact us at

II. Anti-Asian Harassment and the Novel Coronavirus/COVID-19 

The Centers for Disease Control recently announced that the Novel Coronavirus/COVID-19 may spread in the United States. As people take precautions to manage their health (the two biggest precautions are frequent handwashing and staying home if you are sick), the Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS) wants to also acknowledge the rise of anti-Asian (especially anti-Chinese) harassment that many Asian Americans (particularly those who look East Asian) are experiencing. As an organization dedicated to the study of Asian Americans, we want to be very clear that xenophobia has no place in our communities or workplaces, and that harassment of Asians due to fears of the coronavirus are not only unwarranted but sadly part of a longer history of stereotypes associating Asians, especially Chinese, with disease. We stand firm in rejecting anti-Asian bigotry in the guise of people expressing fear of Novel Coronavirus/COVID-19. We also urge people to find resources that will educate them about how to manage their health as well as why their prejudices/biases in assuming all Asians have the virus are rooted in a history of Yellow Peril rhetoric, xenophobia, ableism, and anti-Asian racism. Please encourage your colleagues and friends to explore this open-source syllabus that addresses anti-Asian bias associated with the coronavirus. And please remember: frequent handwashing, not anti-Asian stereotypes/harassment, is your best means of preventing the spread of coronavirus.

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