ISS 2021: University of Pittsburgh RSTCE Retracts September Dates

Citing scheduling conflicts, the University of Pittsburgh RSTCE has retracted its September 2021 rescheduling for the 2021 International Seating Symposium (ISS).

In a Sept. 21 e-mail, Mark Schmeler, Ph.D., OTR/L, ATP, notified the Complex Rehab Technology (CRT) industry that the symposium, traditionally held in mid-March when it’s hosted in the United States, would be moved to mid September.

On Sept. 22, Schmeler sent out a follow-up e-mail saying the September dates wouldn’t work due to conflicts with Yom Kippur, and with the NMEDA/ADED conference, an event for professionals in the accessible vehicle and driver rehabilitation industries. The NMEDA/ADED event, also traditionally held in March, will next take place in September 2021 in Columbus, Ohio.

In his latest e-mail, Schmeler said the RSTCE team was looking at different dates and would release further information “within the next few weeks.”

Schmeler is the ISS Director when the conference is in the United States. In even-numbered years, the ISS is held in Vancouver, B.C.

In August, the University of Pittsburgh RSTCE sent out a survey to ask the CRT industry about its willingness and ability to travel to in-person events in the near future. The university’s e-mail on Monday indicated that the survey received about 700 responses.

“Most prefer an in-person conference and would want to attend in March,” Schmeler said, referring to the original 2021 ISS date. But though the majority of respondents wanted to attend in March, a number of factors would make their attendance difficult. Those factors included the likelihood that a COVID-19 vaccine would not be widely distributed by March; that some employers have already banned 2021 travel through June; that some national and international travel bans would likely still be in place in March 2021; and that potential attendees are concerned about contracting the virus while traveling and then endangering others, including the seating and wheeled mobility clients they serve.

The University of Pittsburgh RSTCE has been considering hosting a virtual ISS or a hybrid version of the ISS that would include both in-person attendance and a virtual option.

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at

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