NHSMUN 2021: ONLINE and IN-PERSON Selection

Since March, we have been closely monitoring the developments of COVID-19 in conjunction with local, state, and federal health authorities. Like the entire global community, we continue to hope for progress so that we may all soon return to a world unburdened by uncertainty, fear, and disease.

 

We have spoken with countless partners and stakeholders, including schools both old and new. The resounding consensus is that while we are collectively optimistic that the coming months will bring a resolution to many COVID-19 concerns, the fact remains that the future is rather uncertain. Understandably, this presents challenges for our participants when making their plans. Many schools have restricted field trips until further notice, have paused extracurricular activities, or are otherwise not able to travel. Others do not want to make commitments that they fear they will have to cancel, and some simply need more time beyond October to evaluate their plans for the academic year. While each stakeholder is operating under unique circumstances, all have indicated the need for significant flexibility in planning and preparation for the months ahead.

 

The challenge, above all, is that the rapidly-changing environment with COVID-19 makes it nearly impossible for schools to know with certainty, today, that they can attend an in-person event in March. The months ahead could bring substantial improvements such that an in-person event is realistic. Alternatively, things could get worse and make an in-person event impossible. The severity and dangers of COVID-19 cannot be overstated. Yet, six months into the pandemic, we must also acknowledge that another six months from now could potentially bring an entirely different landscape. As such, we will add additional flexibility to NHSMUN 2021.

 

Specifically, NHSMUN 2021 will be offered in two formats: ONLINE and IN-PERSON. Schools can choose whether to participate online (virtually) or in-person, and you may change your decision at any time until December. Ultimately, no one is able to predict what December will entail. However, by leaving this option open until then, we are able to accommodate all stakeholders: those unable or not wishing to plan for an in-person conference can join the online format, and those desiring an in-person conference can begin planning yet also retain the ability to switch to the online option should conditions not be favorable in December. Regardless of which format you choose, our entire team is dedicated to providing a highly engaging and dynamic experience for all students.

 

Please note that an in-person conference is contingent upon the State of New York changing its event-based protocols, which currently do not allow events like NHSMUN to take place. New York has not yet released its 2021 protocols. If you enroll in our in-person conference and it cannot be held, our flexible refund policy will continue to apply. Alternatively, you can move to our virtual conference, which is guaranteed.

 

To deliver the best possible experience, you will notice some changes specific to NHSMUN 2021. Committees will be capped at small sizes to guarantee the highest level of engagement, especially online, as well as to comply with social distancing protocols for in-person events. Since many schools are currently conducting online classes, it may not be possible for teachers or group leaders to offer the same degree of pre-conference preparation as they would during ordinary times. As a result, we will be introducing an array of online training sessions and activities during the preparation period that will help students practice the skills needed to succeed at the conference. Additionally, we will provide private, interactive workshops, customized for each school or team, in order to assist students in reviewing and practicing for the conference. For those who select the in-person format, our venues have introduced elaborate new standards that range from cleanliness and disinfection to meeting room capacities and restructuring of high-traffic areas, as well as a series of other social distancing precautions. We will provide additional details as well as extensive resources on all of the above for both conference formats. We encourage you to choose the option that makes sense for your school, keeping in mind that flexibility exists until December should you desire the additional time to decide on your participation format.

 

It is widely accepted that health guidelines and state/local regulations will continue to evolve in the days and weeks ahead. We will continue to monitor all of these guidelines and regulations in conjunction with local authorities. The health and safety of our students, teachers, chaperones, and staff will always remain our top priority.

 

In the midst of the unprecedented challenges facing the world, the importance of Model UN is greater than ever in order to help shape our future leaders. There are few activities that can match the ability of Model UN to bring educational perspective to current events and global issues. NHSMUN is proud to be a part of this community, and in spite of the significant changes Model UN conferences are facing as a result of COVID-19, we are as enthusiastic as ever to host NHSMUN 2021 and work with our valued schools.

 

Should you have any questions, please contact us at registration.nhsmun@imuna.org.