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TEXPERS reschedules Annual Conference to Aug. 16-18 in San Antonio due to coronavirus social distancing requirements

The Texas Association of Public Employee Retirement Systems is rescheduling its Annual Conference, originally scheduled for May 3-6 on Galveston Island, due to state efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the new coronavirus that is causing an outbreak of respiratory illness worldwide. Out of an abundance of caution, TEXPERS is also rescheduling Basic and Advanced Trustee Training originally scheduled on May 2, the day before the conference, also in Galveston.
 

The Annual Conference is now scheduled to be held Aug. 16-18 at the Grand Hyatt in San Antonio. Basic and Advanced Trustee Training is moving to Aug. 15, also at the San Antonio venue. The Conference is being held in place of TEXPERS' Summer Educational Forum, which was previously planned for that date and location.
 
COVID-19 Action
The World Health Organization classified the novel coronavirus as a pandemic on March 11, and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared March 13 that the new coronavirus is a statewide public health disaster. Last week, the Texas Legislature canceled all public meetings at the Capitol as part of social distancing efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
 
In addition, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that for the next eight weeks, organizers cancel or postpone events that consist of 50 or more people throughout the U.S. And, on March 16, President Donald Trump's administration recommended that no one attend gatherings of 10 people or more.
 
According to the CDC, there is currently no vaccine to prevent the new coronavirus disease. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus, as it is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. 
 
Because of federal and state recommendations, TEXPERS' board of directors gathered for a conference call March 18 and voted to reschedule the association's annual conference and trustee training. As TEXPERS staff and board of directors monitored the rapidly changing events surrounding COVID-19 and considering the obvious need for urgent steps to contain its spread, the board felt it couldn't move forward with the conference and trustee training as scheduled.
 
Conference Registration
The decision to reschedule training and the conference did not come easy. We are grateful to those of you who have inquired about maintaining your conference attendance registration to our rescheduled event and new location. Your current registration will be valid for the Annual Conference on its new date and location. If you have scheduling conflicts or would prefer a refund, let us know by emailing us at texpers@texpers.org. Please note that credit card refunds can be done fairly quickly but check refunds will take a little more time, especially in light of social distancing practices taking place worldwide.

 
Conference Sponsorships
We are also thankful to our dedicated conference sponsors who are offering to extend their support to our members by transferring their contributions to our rescheduled event. Those who have questions about sponsorship may also email texpers@texpers.org.
 
Hotel Reservations
If you've already reserved your room for the Annual Conference originally scheduled in May at Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa & Convention Center on Galveston Island, please note that the venue will automatically cancel and refund reservations. Refund notices will be emailed to whoever made your individual reservation. If you have additional questions regarding your reservation, please contact the hotel by calling 409-741-8484.
 
We are grateful to those who have reached out to our office staff inquiring about our plans and who support the mission of TEXPERS, “To strengthen Texas by expanding awareness of public pension issues, providing high-quality training to retirement systems' decision makers and working to assure the promised benefits of public employees.”
 
TEXPERS staff are currently working remotely to comply with social distancing recommendations. You can still reach us by emailing or calling our offices at the following:
 
  • Art Alfaro, Executive Director - art@texpers.org, 713-622-8018, ext. 215
  • Carolyn Butterworth, CMP, Director of Conferences & Member Relations – carolyn@texpers.org, 713-622,8018, ext. 112
  • Lena Terrell, CAP, Membership & Finance Supervisor – lena@texpers.org, 713-622-8018, ext. 210
  • Allen Jones, Communications & Public Relations Manager – allen@texpers.org, 713-622-8018, ext. 114
  • Samantha Polsgrove, Member Services Specialist – samantha@texpers.org, 713-622-8018, ext. 213
 
These are trying times. We urge you to stay healthy. Please, keep these coronavirus resources handy:
As the impact of the coronavirus evolves, TEXPERS will share information and updates as it impacts the public pension industry in Texas. In the meantime, I encourage our members to practice good health habits - frequently wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, cover your coughs in the pit of your elbow, and refrain from shaking hands.

Our members can also click here to access our communication resources regarding the novel coronavirus and COVID-19.

All of us at TEXPERS hope healthcare professionals will find a way to end this epidemic so we can return to focusing on the health of our public pensions to ensure Texas public servants have access to secure retirements. We appreciate the work of our dedicated firefighters, law enforcement, nurses, and other state and local government employees who are working through this pandemic.

If you have any questions or would like to share what your pension system or financial institution is doing to manage the situation, please contact us at texpers@texpers.org.
 
Art Alfaro,
Executive Director

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