Greetings from the XVI CercleS Conference organisers. We are getting in contact to give you an update and to thank you once again for all your support and encouragement of the past weeks. On 15 May, a Virtual Site Visit was organised for the CercleS Executive, where all the potential scenarios and ideas that could make the conference successful for everybody were discussed.
Recently, the situation regarding the corona virus has been following a seemingly optimistic path. We know that it can change one way or another in any country any day. This is why we stay vigilant with more scenarios at hand. We are ready to react swiftly when necessary, as maximum inclusiveness and everybody´s safety and comfort are our priorities.
This message is to confirm that preparations continue and inform you about the practicalities of the conference, namely about the current situation in the Czech Republic, conference fees, new web and some pre-conference activities.
1) Situation in the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic has gone through a milder version of the corona crisis compared to some countries, the State of Emergency finished on Sunday 18 May and most restrictions have been already lifted. With some restrictions related to social distancing and compulsory mask-wearing, shops, restaurants, schools, cultural and sport events as well as transport have been re-opened, events for up to 300 people are allowed. Hotels open this week. Foreigners are allowed to enter the country for working/studying purposes with a written statement of non-infectivity. Completely free access without restrictions to the country is being discussed.
Masaryk University, the venue of the conference (where teaching went fully online but research and work activities continued without major restrictions during the term), has re-opened its premises for the exam period, potential teaching (up to 15 people in a class) and to social events up to 100 people. These numbers are expected to be increased soon.
2) Conference fees. Due to the uncertainty and potential changes, in order to make the conference conditions as clear and sustainable as possible for everybody, and in order to make everybody welcome in whatever form of presence, we have decided to introduce two major changes:
2.1. The early-bird fee is going be the only fee of the conference. There will be no higher fees for those who will pay after the current early-bird date, as we understand that some institutions will allow payments only later.
2.2. There will be a special rate for those who would like to join the conference virtually. Please, see the fees for the virtual presence on: http://cercles2020.cjv.muni.cz/dates
3) New web. You may have noticed our webpages have changed – mostly, it is design, not the information. Regarding the content, we would like to remind you that the English version is the only one with complete conference information. If some info cannot be found in your preferred language version, please, check the English one, it could be found there. In the HOME section, there is a new element NEWS, where we would like to inform you about the conference preparations. By the way, all three existing addresses will lead you to the new webpages now. (www.cjv.muni.cz/cercles2020/ , http://cercles2020.cjv.muni.cz/, www.old.cjv.muni.cz/cercles2020/ )
4) Pre-conference activities. As suggested in the last email, CercleS is about community and we would like to strengthen ties among our centres and colleagues and support one another in the times when it is impossible or difficult to meet physically. We would like to create a pre-conference collection of Stories from the Corona Times in written, audio or video form, so that we all know our community is alive and healthy and strong. If you would like to share your story, experience, anecdote, best practice, thought, idea, picture (or indeed a song) you can send it to: Cercles2020@cjv.muni.cz, add it to the conference event on Facebook or Twitter (use hashtag #cercles2020 and tag @CJVMU in your post) and it will become a part of this conference. Of course, the topic of corona times will form part of the conference academic programme, however, we feel that a human touch deserves to be present as well.
We are still looking forward to having you in Brno in September!
The CercleS Conference Organisers