Update: Coronavirus Outbreak

3 February 2020

I wanted to let all members of our community know how, as an organisation, we’re responding to the Coronavirus Outbreak.

Events in China
We have taken the decision, together with the host schools, to postpone the Yew Chung partnership festival to May 2020 and to cancel the NearWest partnership festival until next year. All decisions are being made collaboratively after detailed conversations with the relevant teachers/schools. We will continue to monitor the situation regarding our proposed MS festival in Shanghai, in May 2020.

Events in Asia
I am working closely with the heads of schools, hosts and visiting schools for our planned MS festival in Bali and HS festival in Bangkok. In the case of the Bangkok festival, Keriann, the host and I are working to adjust the size of the festival and we will continue to monitor.

A number of you have been asked to step down from events due to the shift in size or cancellation of festivals and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your cooperation as we manage this challenging situation. Emmy is keeping a record of all artist team changes and we will keep this ‘disruption’ in mind as we begin to create teams for next year. For those of you travelling through China on your way to other events, I understand your event coordinators and/or Emmy are in touch with you to change plans. Artists based in China have been asked to cancel trips to events outside of the region (taking place in the next month) and we thank you for your cooperation in this.

The event coordinators are your first port of call should you have concerns or queries about the state of play of any given event. A number of ECs are travelling this week to Chennai, so if you receive an out of office or do not receive a reply immediately, please do feel free to email me directly on sally@ista.co.uk.

Jo, Tom and I will continue to meet regularly to ensure that decisions are made in a timely manner and that, in all cases, these decisions are taken with the safeguarding of young people at the fore. We thank you for your patience. There will inevitably be disruptions to the ISTA calendar and the nuances are plentiful; we are responding to the outbreak on a case by case basis and have been overwhelmed by the care, consideration and generosity of all those we have spoken to.

Thank you

Sally Robertson
ISTA executive director