Next week the ICANN Board of Directors is convening for our second Board Workshop of 2022. It had been planned as our first face-to-face meeting since January of 2020. In addition to this meeting, the Supporting Organization and Advisory Committee (SO/AC) chairs have been working with ICANN Org to hold an in-person Roundtable session three days before the workshop.
These meetings were planned to be held in Los Angeles. However, in the past few days, COVID cases in Los Angeles County have risen significantly, and as a result the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) increased its risk rating for community transmission of COVID to High. We rely on the CDC risk ratings for our decision-making. We also reviewed estimates of the trajectory of this latest surge over the coming weeks and all factual information available.
The Board discussed the rising cases, the change in the CDC risk level, the trajectory, and the collective responsibility we have to ensure the health and safety of all of the participants, including ICANN Org staff who would support the events – and we recognized the additional risk of bringing all of ICANN leadership together in one place, under these circumstances – only six weeks before ICANN74.
The Board therefore decided to cancel the in-person component of our workshop and revert to a virtual-only meeting. We also discussed the situation with the SO/AC leadership, and I want to extend my appreciation and thanks for their input and support – we share the disappointment of not being able to meet in person at this time, but in a virtual setting instead.
The ICANN Org Executive Team had planned to meet in-person just ahead of the workshop but have now reverted to a virtual-only meeting as well.
This is disappointing, as we were truly looking forward to meeting together – and all travel arrangements had been made. In addition, it was an opportunity for us to test the safety protocols before we arrive at The Hague for the ICANN74 Policy Forum. We will continue to monitor the level of risk in The Hague, and the Board will discuss any potential adjustments to the rules to accommodate the changing circumstances during the coming workshop, and beyond. We are aware of the importance for the Community to meet again in person. Together we will do what we can to ensure a safe and welcoming environment for those who choose to participate in person in The Hague and those who choose to participate remotely.
We will share updates, and as always, I will provide a preview of the upcoming workshop before it begins.