AAAI Health Information

AAAI would like to express its deepest concern for all AAAI-20 participants who are affected by the current coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak in China. We want to assure you that the conference will take place, and that we are in touch with the conference venue (New York Hilton Midtown), the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and New York city and state agencies to provide you with the most up-to-date information about their recommendations regarding disease prevention and treatment.

Unfortunately, it appears that a very large number of participants based in China will be prevented from traveling to the conference. We ask the broader community to step up to help them, presenting their papers for them if possible, or helping with a remote or video presentation, if necessary. Please offer to help our Chinese colleagues.

The CDC has set up a website with valuable information to assist people with concerns about the Coronavirus, including information on transmission, symptoms, prevention, and treatment: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html

The CDC recommends the following steps to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses (including the flu — it is flu season):

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

The New York Hilton Midtown follows all CDC protocols and will take action accordingly, if the need arises. The immediate health risk to residents and visitors in New York City is considered low. The Mayor’s official statement can be found here: https://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/037-20/de-blasio-administration-outlines-preparedness-novel-coronavirus#/0

The New York Hilton Midtown has provided us with the following information:

If you are coming from China or have traveled to China in the last 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough, or have difficulty breathing to seek medical care right away. Before going to a doctor’s office or emergency room, guests are advised to call ahead and tell them about recent travel and symptoms. Guests at the New York Hilton Midtown should always call extension 5747 for security or the 66 emergency line as they can better facilitate an expedient process should someone need medical care. Security staff is all trained in first aid/CPR. Should someone call 911 first, they should notify the hotel staff afterwards to expedite the process of medical attention.

The closest emergency rooms or hospitals to the New York Hilton Midtown are:

Walk in Clinic:
City MD Urgent Care
315 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019
212-315-2330

Closest Hospital:
Mt. Sinai Roosevelt
898 10th Ave
New York, NY 10019
212-957-3692

Hospital staff will not ask you about your immigration status, and you will be seen regardless of ability to pay.

Further information is included in the New York Hilton Midtown Safety & Security Packet.

A list of pharmacies is also included in the onsite program, should you need general supplies for illness.

All information and guidelines that we have gathered pertaining to the Coronavirus outbreak and other health-related issues, as well as information related to registrant/author instructions will be posted and updated at the AAAI website (https://aaai.org/Conferences/AAAI-20/) in the next 24 hours.

We sincerely hope that this situation resolves itself soon, and that all of you remain healthy. We look forward to seeing you in New York next week.

Information for Authors in China

This information is intended only for all authors who are directly affected by the coronavirus outbreak in China, and are unable to travel to the conference. The options presented here are intended to assist those in need of special arrangements. In all other cases, authors are expected to attend the conference and present their work in person.

First of all, we would like to express our sincere sympathy to all authors under quarantine or otherwise unable to travel due to this situation. We would like to assure you that your paper will be published, and we would very much like to enable you to present your work at the conference. Therefore, we have arranged for a selection of options for you.

The best alternative is for you to find a colleague who is able to travel to the conference, and who can present your work for you. However, we realize this may not be an option for some of you. Therefore, we are also offering the following options to those authors in China who are unable to attend the conference:

  1. You can submit a video of your presentation (oral or spotlight). You will be provided with the name and email of your session chair later this week, and you should contact them directly to submit.
  2. If you are scheduled to give a full oral presentation (20 minutes), your session chair can set up a teleconference connection with you during the session so that you can deliver your talk remotely. Again, your session chair will provide the details of how this will be arranged.
  3. If you have a poster presentation in an evening poster session, please try to arrange with a colleague to have it printed and posted for you. If this is absolutely impossible, AAAI can arrange for printing in New York and have your poster hung on the appropriate night. Unfortunately, there is a $96 charge for this service.

In order for us to plan and alert session chairs about your intentions, we ask that you fill out the form at https://aaaiforms.wufoo.com/forms/q4hyoyh0qtz3qa/ NO LATER THAN THURSDAY, JANUARY 30.

All authors will be notified of their session chair name and contact information later this week.

PLEASE NOTE: Even if you present remotely or submit a video: If possible, it would be good to ask a colleague who is attending the conference in NYC to help manage the presentation, and possibly to answer questions or help if the connection is bad. You do not need to indicate this in the form.

Thank you so much for your help, and we are sincerely sorry if you are unable to join us in New York. We hope that the alternatives listed above will be of assistance to you.

Information for Registrants in China

We want to express our sincere sympathy to all Chinese residents for the current situation resulting from the coronavirus outbreak. Because we are aware that many of you will not be able to travel to the conference now, we would like to gather some information in order to make emergency plans in the next few days.

We would ask that you please fill out the form at https://aaaiforms.wufoo.com/forms/qpnla161fq86ci/ NO LATER THAN THURSDAY, JANUARY 30, to help us do that.

If you are an author, you have received a separate message outlining information about options for remote presentation (also included above), should this be necessary.

Please note the following policy regarding refunds: At least one author per paper must be registered for the conference. This ensures publication of their paper, and is intended to ensure that all work is presented in person at the conference. In the event that an author does not get their visa approved or faces other travel restrictions due to the Coronavirus, their paper will still be published, as long as one author for that paper remains registered for the conference.

We sincerely appreciate your taking the time to help us with this planning.

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