Despite the current coronavirus pandemic, the National Drowning Prevention Alliance is moving forward with its conference as scheduled next week.

To make that possible, organizers did a quick pivot, converting the traditionally in-person conference into a virtual one.

The event runs Monday through Thursday, April 6-9. While some of the sessions originally planned for the in-person version have been cancelled, others have been added to leave a full conference schedule.

“We’re trying to make the best out of a bad situation,” said Adam Katchmarchi, Ph.D., executive director of the organization.

Sessions will be recorded, allowing attendees to view as many as they’d like, for up to three months after the conference. General sessions will be both livestreamed and recorded, so attendees can view them in real time or later. Breakout sessions are recorded and loaded into a library, to be viewed on the attendee’s schedule.

“A lot of attendees have said this isn’t going to be the same as face to face, but if you go to a conference, you can only attend about 30% of the sessions,” Katchmarchi said. “With this model, you can get all of the education.”

In addition to the more than 60 sessions, each day will kick off with a virtual networking event. Highlights will include a town hall discussion with Peter Feldman, commissioner of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Another town hall, with the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance, will address the organization’s entrapment standard and the International Swimming Pool and Spa Code. Another panel will address how drowning prevention and water safety will change in the age of Covid-19.

With the mechanisms in place to hold a virtual conference, Katchmarchi says, NDPA may look to continue integrating those capabilities in the future. While next year’s spring conference is still planned to take place in-person in San Diego, NDPA may make parts of it available virtually. They also will consider holding a virtual conference in fall, in addition to the main spring event.

“For a couple years now, I’ve wanted to do something like this – not a full virtual conference, but mixing in virtual elements, where people who can’t be at the conference can still get something out of it,” Katchmarchi said.

Attendees can sign up for all-access passes until the end of the first day, Monday. Day passes can be purchased up to the day you’d like the pass. Click here for more information and registration.