Astronomical League Suggested Guidelines for our member societies in dealing with the Coronavirus/COVID-19

Submitted by on

3/17/2020

With the ever-changing regulation changes from various levels of government, we are suggesting the following steps in responding to the coronavirus:          

  • Be alert for information from state and local government officials.
    • In many parts of the country, limits have been placed on the amount of people allowed to congregate, sometimes as few as 10, to better control the virus. In the interests of respecting science, it is strongly suggested  you and your astronomy groups follow these local government guidelines, as much as possible, in your own area.
  • Keep current with the latest accurate, scientific information regarding the virus from reputable source such as the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention): cdc.gov.
    • If information you read regarding miracle cures, etc. sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Refer to such sources as Snopes.com or FactCheck.org to check the accuracy
  • Cancel astronomy outreach activities and meetings for at least the next month or so, in line with the trend toward suggested or required smaller group gatherings.
  • Use internet means of conducting your society’s business and staying in contact with your members—such as Skype, Zoom, etc.—during this challenging time.
  • Do the basic tasks the professionals encourage:
    • Frequent hand washing with soap and hot water
    • Cough into a tissue, then toss into the trash, or use the elbow method.
    • Stay home if you are ill.
    • Clean off table surfaces, cell phone screens, electronic device keyboards, with wipes or disinfectants s on a daily basis or more.
    • In your small group meetings, allow 6 feet space between chairs to further minimize the possibility of coming in contact with the virus.
    • Provide adequate tissues and wipes.
  • When you do resume your outreach activities again, consider expanding your use of electronics means, as much as possible, in communicating with your members and also in your outreach activities, such as sharing telescope images to a monitor, to further decrease the spread of germs from our guests looking through telescope eyepieces.

We will get through this crisis, realizing that this is drastically restricting our astronomical family of societies in their outreach and day-to-day operations. Use this downtime to plan exciting programs for your outreach programs or make plans for your upcoming personal observing activities.

Thanks for your support as we all move through this challenge.