We are at a time of heightened awareness with regards to the coronavirus outbreak. Yesterday the news highlighted Sony and Facebook withdrawing from GDC, and similar announcements are expected to come. Tourist-filled institutions like the Apple Store have put hand sanitizer front and center, and I believe as an organization that caters to kids we owe it to our kids, parents, and mentors to exercise an abundance of caution.
Let's start with one of the least controversial proposals: Can we ensure that we provide hand sanitizer available at every table, i.e. at least 20 dispensers? If someone already has these supplies to bring, great. Otherwise, we'll add it to the shopping Costco list.
Food serving: I think we've been freeform in the past, but at other institutions it's not abnormal to serve pizza with latex gloves. Let's bring some disposable gloves and borrow some volunteers at lunchtime to serve. A few serving spatulas and a pizza cutter may also prove valuable if anyone has these in their kitchens.
Third, a few spray-disinfectant bottles on hand, ideally used transferring laptops such as loaner laptops.
Coronavirus aside, we are at the tail end of the flu season, and generally some kids do end up sick from our events or any similar event where you put 100 kids in one room running about. Better hygiene practices stand to benefit everyone at any Hack the Future event.
Now for something that probably has more details to work out: I believe we should have a column at signup to ask every guardian and child: "Have you, or anyone in your immediate household, traveled to China in the last 14 days?" To which the guardian may answer no, decline to answer, or worst case: yes.
My hope is that the answer for every single family will be "no", which will result in the question coming off as positive that we care about each participant's health, rather than be seen as an invasion of privacy. If by chance one or more family has traveled to high-risk areas, I think they should still be invited to participate in Hack the Future 25, and we'll just note it down for our records and accountability.