BESS 2020 COVID-19 UPDATE
1 May 2020
I write to inform you that as Director of the program I have made the decision to CANCEL the 13th Annual Black Europe Summer School that is scheduled for June 21-July 3, 2020 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. I have made this decision in the interests of all participants, after considering the major factors involved and after extensive discussions with faculty and other members of the BESS team.
This decision has been made after careful considerations of the following:
The Dutch government has started to relax some of the restrictions on the COVID-19 shutdowns. The shutdown is still in force but Primary Schools (up to 12 years of age) will be opened from 11 May 2020 (after school and public holidays at the third week of April and first week of May). Middle Schools (12-18 years of age) will be opened from 1 June 2020. The shutdown for bars, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, and museums is still in force through 20 May 2020. The shutdown for concerts, sport events and festivals has been extended through 1 September 2020. These are important factors but I don’t believe they go far enough or offer us enough confidence to proceed with the BESS program.
It is likely that more restrictions will be lifted by 1 June 2020 that would theoretically make it possible for higher education institutions to hold some form of classes. But even if the restrictions on universities and some businesses are relaxed, the measures on social distancing and international travel restrictions would almost certainly remain.
For these reasons I think the best thing to do is to CANCEL the BESS 2020 program and to move the 13th Annual Black Europe Summer School to June 20-July 2, 2021 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. I think this will give applicants the kind of information and clarity that will enable them to make decisions about their plans for summer and beyond.
We are sorry that we would not be able to welcome you to Amsterdam this year, but we hope to welcome you next year. We thank you for your interest and commitment to the program, and we wish you the best health and safety going forward for you and your families.
Stay safe, and thank you in advance.
Director, Black Europe Summer School