2024 National Planning Conference

COVID-19 Action Plan

Updated March 18, 2020

We are very disappointed to announce that the 2020 National Planning Conference, originally scheduled for April 25–28 in Houston, is canceled in line with recommendations by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to limit effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Registered attendees have the option of receiving a full refund or maintaining a credit with APA that can be applied to other programs, services, or membership renewal through September 30, 2021. We'll follow up shortly with additional information on future online learning opportunities that will facilitate the same high level of professional development for planners and the planning community that you've come to expect from APA.

As you focus on meeting the needs of your communities, we will turn our attention to the substantial challenge of keeping APA and the planning community strong in a rapidly changing world. We'll have more to say about this in the coming days.

We know this is a trying time for everyone — not just professionally, but also personally. On behalf of the APA Board of Directors and staff, we thank all of you for your patience and support as we navigate the complexities of this unprecedented event. We are especially grateful to the NPC Planning Committee and our local partners in Houston; please know we share your disappointment and honor your contributions.


Kurt Christiansen, FAICP, APA President
Joel Albizo, FASAE, APA CEO


Following is additional information about our overall approach to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and what you can expect from us in the weeks to come.


  • The well-being of our staff, members, and partners is a top priority.
  • We honor our commitments to members and partners by managing risk and adapting to rapidly evolving circumstances.
  • We stay informed and share verified, accurate information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Houston authorities.
  • We commit to communicating clearly and consistently.
  • Supporting planners across the country with empathy as they deal with uncertainty in their own lives and their communities is part of this shared experience.

REFUNDS for npc20

All attendees registered for NPC20 will have the option of receiving a full refund of registration fees, or maintaining a credit with APA that can be applied to other programs, services, or membership renewal through September 30, 2021. Refunds include fees for mobile workshops or ticketed events, if applicable.

If you wish to obtain a refund, please e-mail us at registrationchanges@planning.org for assistance by no later than April 30, 2020. If you would prefer to apply a credit on your account toward attendance at NPC21 in Boston, another program or service, or towards renewal of your membership before September 30, 2021, no further action is needed on your part.

Certification Maintenance

We understand that many AICP members plan on the CM earned at NPC to meet their reporting period requirements. We encourage members to explore distance learning opportunities to meet their CM requirements.

  • The grace period for those in the 2018–2019 reporting period ends May 29, 2020, which is an extension of one month beyond the typical four-month grace period. Additional reporting period and grace period extensions are not planned at this time.
  • NPC registration refunds may be applied to other APA programs, services, or membership renewal through September 30, 2021. This includes using your credit to purchase courses on APA Learn, our online education platform, to fulfill your remaining credit requirements.
  • APA Learn has nearly 400 courses including Law and Ethics, all of which are eligible for CM credit and available at a low per-credit cost.
  • Many other CM providers also offer live online and on-demand education. Members can use the CM search and the Live Online and On Demand event type filter to find distance learning courses that fit their needs.
  • APA is working on future online learning opportunities that will facilitate the same high level of professional development for planners and the planning community that you've come to expect from APA. We will communicate these opportunities to AICP members as they become available.

AICP Certification Exam

APA is exploring options for the May 2020 AICP Certification Exam testing window. We will communicate with all eligible and registered examinees with updates as they are available.

AICP College of Fellows Class of 2020

We are looking into ways to celebrate the Class of 2020 College of Fellows inductees in lieu of the FAICP induction ceremony and reception at NPC20. All inductees may begin using their new FAICP designation. Congratulations!


With the health and well-being of our staff and members a priority, APA is also taking the following measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities:

  • Transitioning all face-to-face committee and working group meetings to virtual formats, or postponing them.
  • Canceling all in-person meetings at the American Planning Association offices in Chicago and Washington, D.C., and substituting virtual meetings whenever possible.
  • Transitioning to an all-virtual work environment for all employees.
  • Suspending all international business travel and non-essential domestic travel.

While these circumstances are challenging and present learning opportunities for all of us, we expect that access to APA staff and key member services will go uninterrupted.


We will communicate via e-mail with all registered NPC20 attendees, speakers, exhibitors, and sponsors regarding our evolving future plans. We will also update this page regularly as circumstances continue to evolve.


  • Be aware of racism and xenophobia. With uncertainty comes fear and anxiety. When we're fearful, we're prone to making hasty decisions that cause harm. Anti-Asian/Chinese racism is on the rise globally as well as in biased media coverage and narratives. Please be vigilant about harmful and biased narratives regarding COVID-19.
  • How we discuss the situation matters. Using statements intended to comfort others — such as "only old and sick people need to worry" or "you're young and healthy, you're fine" — can have an unintended consequence of further marginalizing those who are most vulnerable. Please encourage everyone to prioritize the most marginalized by taking the issue seriously, ensuring equitable resource and supplies allocation.
  • Consider the impact of the situation on people who are caregivers to the elderly, infants, and/or immunocompromised individuals, who experts have determined are most prone to risk.
  • Mitigate dissemination of false information designed to spread fear and hysteria. Share only verified information by trusted sources to fight against misinformation.
  • Continue to exercise proper hand and cough hygiene, and stay home if you are feeling sick or are caring for a sick member of your household.