The 2021 Michigan School Testing Conference (MSTC) will once again be held in mid-February, but this year, in a very different manner. The uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have affected all of us deeply and in very different ways. For example, how students will return to schooling (how much will be in-person or remote), whether large gatherings are permitted, and how we will need to be nimble in our responses to this ever-changing situation are all factors in this decision. In planning for the 2021 conference, the feasibility of an in-person conference became very challenging, given potential restrictions (or even bans) of large-group gatherings and the available space for “social distancing” at the hotel (Sheraton Ann Arbor), where the conference was held during the past two years. Since the safety of conference attendees and presenters remains paramount, the MSTC Planning Committee is shifting the 2021 Conference to an all-virtual one. The conference will be presented in a similar manner as in the past – multiple workshops on Day 1 (February 16, 2021), followed by conference plenaries and clinic sessions on Days 2-3 (February 17-18, 2021).
Going online, however, means that there will be changes in the format of the conference:
- The conference will begin and end somewhat earlier each day than in the past;
- There will be longer breaks between sessions throughout each day;
- A simplified approach to registration for the conference will be implemented; there will be one registration fee for the workshops and another for the two-day conference. Each will permit registrants to attend any or all of the sessions on the days selected and paid for;
- Each registrant will be able to view any session on the day(s) for which he or she is registered;
- Every session will be recorded, and attendees will be able to access recordings of any session on the day(s) on which they are registered;
- By offering the conference virtually, attendees who were unable to attend in the past might be able to attend the 2021 conference (and this capability of attending virtually may become a feature continued in the future even when an in-person conference is once again feasible).
For conference program information and registration, go to the MSTC online registration site: http://gomasa.org/mstc2021