Hackathons & The Coronavirus

  1. With news that the coronavirus (COVID-19) is starting to spreading around the world, I’m interested in seeing what actions other organizers are taking to get ahead of the virus.

  2. I also noticed a number of events getting canceled lately and I’m interested to hear the tipping point or factors at which you might start to consider postponing your event.

A mass pandemic hitting the US isn’t exactly something I was taking into account when I started organizing my events so I am very interested in hearing and learning from what everyone else is doing!

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We just ran our event. Luckily, the alert level was not very high, but generally, we made sure that people had easy access to bathrooms, tissues, etc. What was also interesting was the number of hacks that focused on or incorporated things related to COVID-19. If you are running an event in the near future, it might be a path to consider in my opinion.

Hey folks! Definitely understand the concern here. Just piping in to say we’ll have some recommendations up tomorrow that we developed based on national and international health officials. Stay tuned!

As promised, I wanted to include our recommendations for COVID-19. We developed these based on consulting guidance by national and international authorities. It includes a lot of information about how to make sure your event is safe and how to communicate with your partners and hackers. We’ll be keeping it up-to-date.

While we should definitely make sure our events are safe for those attending them it’s also important to remember that at this time the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), Public Health England (PHE), the India National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and the World Health Organization do not broadly recommend the cancelation of public events. You should work with your school or university, local, and regional health officials to make sure they’re also not recommending the cancelation of events and to check what precautions they recommend in additions to the ones that we and the CDC do.

Let me know if you have any questions or other thoughts!

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Yesterday, we made the difficult decision to require all Member Event Hackathons, Local Hack Days, and Localhost workshops to migrate to a digital format through June 2020. We’ve also updated the post I linked above. While we know it’s not the same as an in-person experience, we believe that this is the best way to create a safe environment for hackers to learn, build, and share in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. You can read the full details in the following posts:

Here’s something interesting one of the hackathon groups in Upstate NY is doing - they’re encouraging folks in the community to purchase gift cards to their favorite local restaurants and they’ll match those purchases and use those gift cards as prizes up to $1000 for their rescheduled events in the Fall. It’s an interesting way to support local restaraunts that are probably struggling right about now due to COVID-19.

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