The BGES conducts small van and bus tours as a key component and feature of its educational programing. The interactions between historians and the members of any particular cohort are the “special sauce” that make BGES work better than others. COVID-19 restrictions and the still embryonic state of research on the virus make it impossible for us to conduct programs at this time with any degree of confidence that we can conduct them safely. Legal considerations, evolving CDC guidelines, and individual state and local restrictions that are constantly changing will keep us from conducting any programs until we get more assurance that we are not acting irresponsibly.
BGES’s 2020 program was underway when the virus struck, and in short order it caused us to reschedule our late March, April, May, and June programs. Following the recommendations of a BGES task force of five physicians and four nurses who are BGES members and tour participants, we also have cancelled and/or rescheduled five programs scheduled for July and August.
And onward from there, with rumor of a vaccine, we have adopted a rolling “Go or No Go” protocol of at least six weeks prior to each event. This means that if we are able to start up again in September (our earliest program would be “Unlimber the Guns”), we will announce this fact no later than July 5; if in October, by August 5; November by September 5; and December by October 5. If we can make an earlier call we will, but it is dependent on the public health scenario at the time. What this means is that by October 5, the 2021 Schedule will be official and final!
So we have two different schedules, a current one that anticipates we’ll be heading back out on the road sooner rather than later; and a “Plan B,” anticipating that 2020 is canceled and integrating 2021 programs with the postponed or cancelled 2020 programs.
Click here to see the current BGES Schedule.
Click here to see the Plan B BGES Schedule.
As we do not know the future yet, it would be premature to assume that 2021 will see the entire problem in our rearview mirror. All we know about 2021 is that we will know what we know; but, we assume that progress will be made. That said, if the first part of 2021 is similarly affected, we will deal with those cards as they are dealt.
We currently have approximately 130 registrations for pending programs in a mixture of deposits and full payments. That money belongs to the clients. BGES will be reaching out to them to discuss options in the coming weeks. As a rule of thumb from June 8, we will only accept deposits for programs that are on the website and open for registration. We will refuse full payment and return it, asking for the deposit only in exchange. All existing registrations are refundable, as will be all deposits made under this new policy.
Before registering, please look at the date of the program and its backup date. If you register for a program that does not have a backup date and it is canceled, your money will be refunded or, if you request, applied to a credit or new program. Our default position is to refund the deposit or payment.
This is a wild card and we do have opportunities that are being explored and will be announced, so make sure to register your interest in the programs that appeal to you. I am hopeful we will provide some online video sessions with the historians to help you have an even better experience.
BGES has been doing study tours for 26 years, and we anticipate continuing them far into the future. This interruption, as you fully appreciate, cannot be sloughed off. Our traveling public, overwhelmingly retired, has been gently described as the group most vulnerable. An abundance of caution is called for and will be observed and practiced until we get an all clear–and we will.