Two major national pupil transportation associations are making changes to their annual conference plans this year as the COVID-19 pandemic, despite lessening in severity, continues to have an impact.
The National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) had initially planned to hold its 2021 annual conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan, from Nov. 6 to 10.
Pat Schofill, NASDPTS’s conference chair and president elect, wrote in a message to members on Thursday that the association’s board of directors decided in a meeting on May 17 that the 2021 conference will not be held in Grand Rapids this year. The decision is based in large part on survey results from state directors on their preferences on how the conference should be held and ability to travel.
The NASDPTS conference may still be held from Nov. 6 to 10, but whether that will be in person, virtual, or a hybrid of both, is still to be determined by the board. The board will meet in June on a date still to be determined to consider various options and make a final decision on conference dates, location, and whether there will be a virtual component.
In the meantime, Schofill said in the message, the board is sending out another survey to members to assess conference preferences and ability to travel.
“The board recognizes that much has changed on the COVID-19 front in the past two weeks and we wanted to be inclusive of those changes as we look to the future and hopefully being able to gather in person again soon,” he added in the email message. “We appreciate your patience as we work to take everything into consideration.”
Meanwhile, the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) has also changed its 2021 annual conference and trade show plans.
According to the NAPT website, instead of holding the conference in Grand Rapids from Nov. 5 to 9, it will feature NAPT ACTS! The Road Show.
The ACTS! The Road Show is described on NAPT’s website as “a series of issue-focused events,” and the first is set for Houston, Texas, from Oct. 18 to 20.
In 2020, due to the pandemic, NASDPTS held all-virtual workshops in place of its in-person annual conference (read coverage of sessions on the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse and special-needs student transporters partnering with educators.) The NAPT co-launched NAPT ACTS!, the school transportation component of a streaming service it created in partnership with the Center for Effective School Operations.