Health & Safety Notice

Personalization 2020 Messaging Related to COVID-19

Updated March 11, 2020


Personalization 2020 scheduled to take place April 2-4, 2020 has been canceled. Please read the statement from Highlander Institute's Executive Director Dana Borrelli-Murray for more information.

Potential Virtual Learning Opportunities:

As we regroup, we are considering how to design a virtual learning opportunity that honors the time, energy, and expertise of presenters and participants. We would love to hear your thoughts. Please take a few moments to complete this brief form to share your feedback, interest, and ideas.

Updated March 6, 2020. The health of the Providence community and those who visit our city is our highest priority. Regarding the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak: The Personalization 2020 team is communicating with and receiving daily updates from state and federal agencies to plan for a safe event. 

At this time, the RI health department has not requested the cancellation of any gatherings as the current risk of person-to-person spread in Rhode Island remains low. RI restaurants, bars, clubs, theaters, stadiums, and other businesses that people patronize are still open and people continue to attend. At the World Health Organization press conference, Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated, “Our greatest enemy right now is not the virus itself. It’s fear, rumours and stigma. And our greatest assets are facts, reason and solidarity.”

This being said, information and practices are changing during this rapidly evolving situation and we will continue to follow state and national guidelines. 

Currently, there are no imminent plans to postpone or cancel Personalization 2020 events.

What is the latest status of COVID-19 in RI? 

The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) and federal public health officials continue to respond to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). On March 1, 2020, the Rhode Island Department of Health announced the first presumptive positive COVID-19 case in Rhode Island, involving a person who had traveled to Europe. Later that day, RIDOH announced a second presumptive positive case and third person is being tested. All three individuals were on the same European trip. The risk to RI residents remains low. The Department of Health has created a website that is updated regularly with the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

  • Number of Rhode Island COVID-19 positive (including presumptive positive) cases: 2
  • Number of people who had negative test results at RIDOH's State Health Laboratories: 17
  • Number of people for whom tests are pending: 8
  • Number of people who are currently instructed to self-quarantine in Rhode Island because they had direct contact with a person with COVID-19: approximately 200 (RIDOH is sharing an approximate number because this number is subject to change regularly)
  • Testing in Rhode Island is being done at RIDOH's State Health Laboratories. Confirmatory testing is being done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Positive results are considered 'presumptive' if they still need to be confirmed by the CDC.

What are your expectations of Personalization 2020 participants?

There is a lot about COVID-19 that is still unknown, but what we do know is that personal hygiene is of critical importance. We expect that Personalization 2020 participants will follow the science, implement the recommendations of public health agencies, and continue to participate in the activities that make our world connected. 

We expect participants to comply with The World Health Organization’s suggested safety precautions, which include:

  • Washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water 
  • Using alcohol based hand sanitizer
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – discard tissue immediately into a closed bin
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Stay home or in your hotel if you have a fever to help maintain the health of all event participants

What are the current preparedness plans?

Safety is a top priority for Personalization 2020. Currently, we are taking the following actions on-site: provision of tissues, disinfectant wipes and spray, and hand sanitizer for common area spaces and activity spaces; signs in all restrooms stating how to wash hands with prevention in mind; microphone wipe downs; special attention to social distancing within meeting rooms; the elimination of buffet meals; designated spaces for participants who are not feeling well; a "no-handshake" policy, and noticeable signs warning attendees away from those greeting styles. 

Under what circumstances should I cancel my plans to attend Personalization 2020?

Participants who are sick with symptoms related to COVID-19 between March 25 - 29, 2020 should not attend Personalization 2020.

Participants can read more about special high-risk groups here. Individuals over the age of 65, pregnant women, people with pre-existing conditions and/or weakened immune systems should take necessary precautions when considering their Personalization 2020 plans. 

What are the Personalization 2020 attendee demographics?

Personalization 2020 expects to welcome 600 participants to the conference this year. This cohort includes a handful of travelers from Canada and Australia, and attendees from 25 states. 

Where can we find updates?

We are regularly updating this page with new information. Please check back frequently. If you have a question not answered here, please email