Message Regarding the Coronavirus

Message from Great Plains IDEA Regarding the Novel Coronavirus

Updated January 19, 2022

The Great Plains IDEA 2022 Annual Conference will be in-person on the Plaza in Kansas City, MO. The health and safety of our members is very important to us. We know many of you are worried about the latest COVID variant and we are actively monitoring all local, state, and CDC guidelines related to hosting an event in Kansas City. Our staff continues to analyze the latest research, listen to individuals’ concerns, watch as our member universities begin the spring semester, and talk with experts. We know spikes in cases and hospitalizations at this moment are alarming, but experts predict we will be safely past this surge well in advance of our annual conference.

This interactive model illustrates how experts are forecasting the current Omicron variant. We will continue to monitor the situation and adjust our protocols as we get closer to the event.

January 10, 2022

We are keenly aware that in several areas of the country COVID-19 cases are on the rise, and we are actively monitoring all local, state, and CDC guidelines related to hosting an event in Kansas City. The management team at Great Plains IDEA will make the decision on Tuesday, January 18 as to whether the conference should remain in-person or be moved online. If you would like to share your concerns, suggestions, or hopes and dreams, please email Kathryn Harth.

November 17, 2021

In addition to a fun theme, the 2022 Annual Conference will bring together - IN PERSON - administrators, faculty, staff, and campus coordinators to collaborate, celebrate, and learn. That's right, we are returning to Kansas City! And, as much as we love the Plaza and being together, safety is the most critical focus of this year's conference.

In the spirit of care for our community, Great Plains IDEA is asking that all attendees self-certify as fully vaccinated or be able to confirm a negative PCR test within 3 days prior to the conference. We will be following all CDC and Kansas City guidelines for safety including masks, social distancing, and sanitizing efforts. 

Learn more about what to expect from the hotel and Kansas City:

October 16, 2020

While March 1st is four-and-a-half months away, plans for the Great Plains IDEA Annual Conference are already in motion. The coronavirus pandemic continues to be a major health concern for all of us. The CDC is predicting that colder weather will bring about a surge in positive cases. University leadership is still hesitant to lift travel bans. There is so much unknown about the future. We take the health and safety of our members seriously. 

With all of this in mind, we have made the tough decision to again move our conference online.

Making this decision so far in advance provides the management team time to plan an exceptional conference, gives faculty plenty of notice to modify syllabi, and allows the entire Alliance community to block off all of the time needed to give their full attention to this conference. 

We encourage you to treat this as you would an in-person conference and save the following dates for our annual meeting.

Monday, March 1
Tuesday, March 2
Wednesday, March 3

Registration will open in January and an announcement will be shared over listservs.

We know you have a lot of questions.  Check out our FAQs on the website.  Don’t see your question there?  Email Kathryn Harth at

April 27, 2020

The Great Plains IDEA Virtual Conference was a success!  Thank you to all who participated.  Your devotion to the alliance community is inspiring.  We appreciate you!

A special thank you to those creative members who joined us from near and far -- whether familiar locations like our campuses and the Plaza in Kansas City, or places we wish we were escaping to like the Golden Gate Bridge, the mountains, a safari with giraffes, or on an Italian vacation.  We were even joined by members who were in outer space and on the moon!

Save the date for the 2021 conference -- February 28-March 3 at the Kansas City Marriott on the Country Club Plaza.  Same great hotel!

March 20, 2020

While April 19 is still a month away, the CDC has confirmed that the coronavirus pandemic will continue to be a major health concern. Member universities are limiting travel and we know that social distancing is one of the best ways to flatten the curve. Therefore, we are moving our conference online. 

We encourage you to treat this as you would an in-person conference and continue to block off all the time needed to meet with your program and attend the keynote presentation.  This online version of the annual conference is free to attend. To help us prepare for this unique approach, we ask that you register for the meetings and events you will attend.  A link to the virtual conference registration form will be available after Thursday, March 26.

  • Program Meetings:  Meetings will still take place on Monday, April 20 and Tuesday, April 21.  The GP IDEA staff will work with each faculty coordinator to confirm meeting times and set-up Zoom meetings.  Be on the lookout for additional information on your program listserv.
  • Campus Coordinator and Department Chair Meetings:  All meetings will take place Monday, April 20 and Tuesday, April 21.  GP IDEA staff will share specific schedules once they are finalized.
  • EAB Presentation:  The EAB presentation will take place on Monday, April 20 from Noon-1:00 p.m. CT in a webinar format. Grab your lunch and get comfy at your computer as we learn how faculty and staff can help our programs stand out and remain competitive in today’s market.
  • Alliance Orientation:  This meeting will still happen, although the time may change.  Stay tuned for more information coming soon.

Cancelled Meetings and Events:

  • Sunday, April 19:  Faculty Learn Shop
  • Monday, April 20:  Faculty Coordinator Meeting and Breakfast, Evening Awards Reception
  • Tuesday, April 21:  Department Chair and HS Board Breakfast, Management Team & Campus Coordinator Update

Registration Refund:

If you’ve already paid for your registration, you will be refunded via the same method used for payment.  Additional details are available on the registration webpage.  If you have questions about your refund, please contact

Hotel Guest Rooms:

To cancel your hotel reservation, go to the hotel’s Manage Your Stay webpage, enter your confirmation number and last name, then select “cancel” your reservation.  You may also call the reservation number at 800-496-7621.

Frequently Asked Questions:

We know you have a lot of questions.  Check out our FAQs on the website. Don’t see your question there?  Email Kathryn Harth

This is a difficult time for all of us and our hearts and minds are with you and your communities.  In times like these, we all need to come together. Thank you for your understanding and continued support.

All for one and one for all,

The Great Plains IDEA Management Team

March 16, 2020

We know there are a lot of postponements and cancellation announcements in your inboxes recently, so in case you missed our announcement in the Alliance Insider last week, we want to assure you that Great Plains IDEA is continuously following the developments related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.  On our website we are tracking updates from our member universities and connecting students to these resources as well.

As of this morning, we are continuing to plan for the Great Plains IDEA Annual Conference next month, April 19-22.  The health and safety of our members is our highest priority as we continue to monitor developments and follow the travel restrictions of our member universities closely.  We will re-evaluate our plan on Thursday, March 19 and provide an update via listservs and our website.

Message shared March 10, 2020

We want to assure you that Great Plains IDEA is continuously following the developments related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. The health and safety of our members is our highest priority.  At this time, no federal restrictions are in place to prevent meetings and travel within the United States, including Kansas City, Missouri.  We are therefore continuing to prepare for the Great Plains IDEA Annual Conference to take place April 19-22, 2020, in Kansas City.

We are following all guidance issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).  The latest guidance from the CDC encourages preventative measures to limit the spread of any illness, whether it be the flu or COVID-19.  For more information on best practices for prevention, please visit the CDC Coronavirus (COVID-19) webpage.

Should either the CDC or WHO guidance change, Great Plains IDEA will act accordingly and immediately update you.  Be sure to regularly check your email and this website for any updates. 

If your university restricts non-essential travel that will prevent you from attending the conference, please let us know as soon as possible by emailing Chelsea Barbercheck at

Again, we want to assure you that your health and safety are of the utmost importance to us.  We are striving to react to this virus in a calm and factual manner. 

What if the conference is cancelled?

If the Annual Conference is cancelled or postponed, Great Plains IDEA will refund registration fees but cannot be held responsible for travel costs.   Visit the conference Registration webpage for the complete Cancellation and Refund Policy. 

What if I need to cancel my registration but the conference is not cancelled?

Anyone choosing to cancel their registration may request a refund by emailing  A full refund, minus a $25 administrative fee, will be made if notice of cancellation is received on or before April 10.