Dear PPSN Participant,
You will probably have heard about rising COVID-19 numbers in most European countries in the last weeks. Large numbers of tourists and increasing numbers of big private parties have seemingly led to this increase, also in the Netherlands. We very much understand your concern if you doubt that you can safely travel to Leiden these days. However, available information suggests that in the Netherlands, the outbreaks are mainly found in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and near the Belgian border.
Of course, there are cases also in Leiden, but on a much lower level. The numbers reported for today, including the full previous week, document a slight overall decrease in the Netherlands. Case levels in Leiden and surrounding counties are now between 14 (Katwijk) and 36 (Leiden) per 100k inhabitants for the last 14 days. In other countries, including Germany, case levels are reported per 7 days, and 50 cases per 100k in 7 days (comparable to 100 cases per 100k in 14 days) are considered tolerable. Nevertheless, even if the numbers are relatively low, we are taking all possible precautions at the conference venue in order to ensure a safe meeting for all of us.
As of August 18, we are expecting about 50 on-site participants at PPSN 2020. We would like to give you the following update regarding the COVID-19 situation in the Netherlands and the measures we take for your safety:
- The conference venue, at the university and at Corpus conference center, has plenty of space, and we have made a dedicated plan for seating in the rooms as well for breaks, such that 1.5 meters distance (and above) can be assured.
- The social events take place outside and, again, with plenty of seating distance.
- For poster presentations, we have a really large room with a very high ceiling and great air conditioning and the possibility to get fresh airflow by opening the terrace doors. With 20 posters in a session and an average of 5 presenters being on-site, the on-site participants will be able to meet in front of a poster with a maximum of one other participant, at a distance of 1.5 meters.
- We encourage participants to wear a mask all the time while being inside. We will also provide you with a unique branded PPSN mask.
- Of course, the PPSN support staff will wear masks as well during the conference to ensure the safety of the participants.
General updates and advice regarding travel:
- Please take a look here https://www.government.nl/topics/coronavirus-covid-19/tackling-new-coronavirus-in-the-netherlands/travel-and-holidays/self-quarantine for the most recent update on travel restrictions to the Netherlands. Unfortunately, if you are traveling from some specific countries or regions to the Netherlands, 14 days quarantine is a must – in other words, attending PPSN will not be possible for you. In this case, you may of course change your registration to online participation.
- If you are coming from a country without restrictions and are wondering about the situation in the Netherlands, you might be interested in this information https://www.rivm.nl/en/novel-coronavirus-covid-19/current-information
Generally, the Netherlands practices mostly physical distancing (1.5 meters) in order to contain the virus, everyday life is only slightly constrained. The main conference venue, the Corpus conference center, is located in the Oegstgeest county. The university building used for Tutorials and Workshops is 300 m away in the Leiden county, but completely outside of the city center. This building will be empty on the weekend, and the conference tutorials will be the only event in the building.
- In public transportation within the Netherlands, wearing a mask is obligatory.
We are aware that you may feel wary about attending a conference in person these days. Personally, we are confident about the venue, the organization, and the COVID-19 risk management plan we have implemented. We do understand any concerns you might still have and any cancellation decision, and at the same time, we are convinced that the measures we are taking make it as safe as possible for you to attend the conference. We also see this hybrid format as a first attempt to better combine online and on-site participation for the coming years and we believe in an interesting new experience for all of us.
We are looking forward very much to meeting you at PPSN 2020!