I cannot believe I am writing these words. We have just made the decision, after much heartfelt discussion in a meeting of SWOG’s Executive Advisory Committee, to make our fall group meeting an entirely virtual meeting. There will be no in-person sessions; all will be done remotely, as in our last two group meetings.

While the numbers and the curves were looking good in early summer as we made plans for a hybrid meeting, including a mostly face-to-face component, developments in recent weeks have raised growing concerns about new risks from indoor gatherings. We have heard from a number of committee members, leaders, and speakers, that they would not be able to travel to Chicago. Many, but not all, had young, unvaccinated children at home. Some were still forbidden from attending because of institutional travel bans.  

The opening of registration for the group meeting, which had been planned for August 10, will need to be postponed. Watch the banner on the SWOG website for further information on when registration will open. If you have already made travel arrangements, please contact tzgeniry/ng/fjbt/qbg/bet.

Certainly we’ve gotten good at making the virtual meeting model work for us, and our highly adaptable meetings team continues to improve on it.

We will hold a full slate of high-value sessions come October, including memorable plenary lineups, an impressive roster of NCORP-focused events, and our standard complement of committee meetings. We will simply attend these sessions, once again, from various places around the country (and beyond!) rather than across the room from each other. We will do our best to accommodate the varying time zones.

I wish I had inspirational words to close with. I wanted to see your smiling faces, and to feel the worst of COVID was behind us. I can tell you the group as a whole is doing well. We are opening new trials of major scientific interest and are accruing to the ones activated. Our leaders and members are more engaged than ever. Keeping you and your families and your patients safe is a major concern, right up there with our mission to help our patients. So, I won’t “see” you in Chicago. But I hope we’ll all be there one way or another. And SWOG will carry on with its essential work!

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