COVID-19 Policy and Information

COVID-19 Policy and Information

Updated June 28, 2022

Subject to change.

The following policies apply to all onsite conference attendees and speakers.

 

This COVID-19 health and safety policy and overall plans for the in-person portion of ScienceWriters2022 will be updated as necessary, as organizers monitor the ever-shifting conditions of this pandemic. As conference organizers, we are striving to set transparent policies that prioritize each participant’s health and safety — and help everyone make informed choices regarding their travel and registration. Nevertheless, we encourage all attendees and speakers to make travel plans with an eye toward creating personal flexibility if you become sick or are otherwise unable to attend. 

Conference registration will run from mid-August through October 6. Registrants will have the opportunity to choose virtual attendance only or to register for both virtual and in-person attendance. Registrants will be able to change your choices any time during this registration period. Conference registration cancellation windows will provide ample time to cancel for both medical or non-medical reasons. 

The majority of the ScienceWriters2022 conference will take place at the Renasant Convention Center in Memphis, Tennessee. This newly modernized facility features 15 foot and higher ceilings in the conference areas (see venue 360 tour), and indoor air is ventilated and filtered with a MERV rating of 10 (visit USEPA explainer on MERV ratings). Session rooms will not be filled to capacity, and tables and seating will be arranged to allow for physical distancing. Additionally, our own conference policy is that consumption of food and drink will NOT be permitted inside session rooms. 

The meeting program, available in mid-August, will provide additional location details for each session or event, including whether it is indoors or outdoors. Where possible, the organizers will provide access to outdoor spaces for anything that involves eating or drinking. 

 

COVID-19 PARTICIPANT POLICY 

Note: While the ScienceWriters2022 meeting will occupy ~80% of an entire floor and is currently the only event scheduled for the first floor, we are unable to apply and enforce our policies on non-participants who may be in the building, including staff and attendees at other events.

As organizers of ScienceWriters2022, we recognize that conditions are evolving. As such, this policy will closely follow current federal, state, local, and event venue public health guidelines and policies as applicable. Onsite attendees should be aware that attending ScienceWriters2022 in person increases their risk of contracting COVID-19.

In order to minimize risks, all attendees and speakers at the onsite portion of ScienceWriters2022 will be subject to the following requirements:

Vaccination: At the time of registration, attendees and speakers will be required to certify that they are up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations, per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations and definitions. Currently, you are considered up to date with COVID-19 vaccines if you have received all doses in the primary series as well as all CDC-recommended boosters for which you are eligible. 

Masking: Masks worn over mouth and nose will be required at all times during conference events for registered attendees and speakers. Session speakers may have the option of removing their mask — permitted ONLY while they are speaking at a session podium. Masks may only be removed when outdoors or when between bites and sips when actively eating or drinking. Consumption of food and drink will not be permitted inside session rooms. 

Mask Type: Participants should bring and wear the highest-quality, well-fitting masks available to them. We will stock a limited number of masks onsite for anyone needing a replacement. The following will NOT be permitted and considered as masks:

  • Bandanas, scarves, or neck gaiters
  • Mesh face coverings
  • Face coverings with exhalation valves
  • Damaged/torn face coverings

Exposure and Illness: Participants should NOT travel nor attend any portion of ScienceWriters2022 if they are sick; have been exposed to anyone with a documented or suspected case of COVID-19 within 10 days; or exhibit any symptoms of COVID-19, including:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea.

Anyone who cancels for health-related reasons will receive a refund for the in-person portion of the registration fee.

Testing and Reporting: Participants will be required to follow all applicable federal, state, local, site, venue, vendor, and ScienceWriters2022 guidelines and policies at the time of the event. Given the changing nature of such policies and guidelines, the most up-to-date requirements will be posted to this page (https://www.sciencewriters2022.org/COVID19). These requirements may include completing a daily health screening before joining ScienceWriters 2022 events and gatherings; cooperating with any arrangements for physical distancing; and abiding by other instructions and precautionary measures such as testing. Guidance to come.

Health and Safety While Traveling: During your travels and conference stay, we encourage you to adhere to all applicable guidelines and make informed personal choices about travel, accommodation, and engagement outside of our conference event spaces. 

Thank You for Doing Your Part: We are grateful for your attention and your community spirit in helping create a healthy and safe conference gathering. Thank you for helping to protect our community and the communities of our host institution and the people and city of Memphis.

 

If you cannot or choose not to comply with the above requirements for ScienceWriters2022 onsite attendance, please register for the virtual-only portion of the conference, which features content tailored for online experiences.