WEAI Conference Safety During the Pandemic
As the COVID-19 Global Pandemic continues, WEAI is both cautiously optimistic and prepared to manage our conferences with the health, safety, and well-being of our attendees, staff, presenters, exhibitors, sponsors, and speakers in mind. All participants, including, but not limited to, attendees, speakers, sponsors, volunteers, WEAI staff, service providers, and others are expected to review, and abide by, our code of conduct and all polices in effect for any in-person event run by WEAI.
We will continue to monitor and update safety precautions for our conferences regularly and coordinate with trusted national authorities, state and local public health agencies, and the hotels/venues hosting our events.
These policies and procedures are subject to change at any time given the rapidly evolving nature of the current global pandemic. Updates when posted will be clearly marked. WEAI retains the discretion to change these policies at any time, without prior notice.
In keeping with WEAI’s duty to care and act responsibly as a host, WEAI leadership expects that all participants at WEAI conferences (whether a presenter, attendee, exhibitor, staff, guest, or vendor) will be “Up to Date” on their COVID-19 vaccinations.
To be “Up to Date”, a person must have received both doses of a two-dose vaccine (or one dose of a single-dose vaccine) and all recommended boosters. For more information, please review the guidelines published by the CDC here.
For those individuals who are unable to get vaccinated, you will be expected to have performed and received a negative PCR test no more than 72 hours prior to arrival at the conference. WEAI recognizes and respects all legitimate legal reasons for vaccination exemptions.
WEAI strongly encourages individuals to be tested for COVID-19 prior to traveling to any WEAI event. Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 should stay home and cancel your registration. In such case, we will refund your registration fee. If you are on-site during a WEAI event and test positive for COVID-19, please seek appropriate medical attention and contact WEAI staff by emailing [email protected].
Individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19 (as detailed further below) should not attend an in-person event with WEAI.
At this time, Oregon does not require masking in indoor settings. However, due to the resurgence of COVID-19 in recent weeks, as well as characteristics of the Omicron variant, all participants at WEAI events are expected to wear procedure (a.k.a. surgical) masks with at least 3 layers of fabric, KN95, KF94s, or N95 masks during WEAI events. To help evaluate your mask purchase, please use the CDC website on evaluating purchases of KN95, N95, and other masks. KN95 masks will be available at the WEAI registration desk as well as in meeting rooms, free of charge.
WEAI expects participants at WEAI events to always wear masks indoors except while presenting and while actively eating/drinking. This includes any venue that is considered a WEAI event space (both on-site and off-site). Masks should cover both the mouth and nose. We ask that participants honor the requests of others to mask up and/or maintain physical distancing.
WEAI will aim to provide physically distant seating and space set-up to allow individuals who wish to physically distance while in sessions to do so comfortably. Additionally, to help attendees communicate their level of comfort in interacting with one another, WEAI will provide color-coded stickers for badges to all onsite attendees:
- Red = Physical distancing - greet from six feet
- Yellow = Elbow bumps only
- Green = Handshakes and hi-fives welcome
WEAI will require registrants to acknowledge that in-person conferences are taking place during the COVID-19 global pandemic. On-site registrants will be asked to sign and date a waiver with the following information at check-in onsite:
COVID-19 has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization and is extremely contagious. WEAI has put in place preventative measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 at our conferences; however, WEAI cannot guarantee that attendees will not become infected with COVID-19. By attending the WEAI conference, I,
- acknowledge the contagious nature of COVID-19;
- voluntarily assume the risk that I may be exposed to or infected by COVID-19 by attending the WEAI conference which exposure or infection may come from the actions, omissions, or negligence of myself or others, including, but not limited to, WEAI employees, volunteers, and program participants and their families;
- acknowledge that such exposure or infection may result in personal injury, illness, permanent disability, and/or death; and
- hereby release, covenant not to sue, discharge, and hold harmless WEAI, its employees, agents, and representatives, of and from any injury, illness, or damages to me resulting from being exposed to or infected by COVID-19 in connection with my attendance at any WEAI event (including claims based on the actions, omissions, or negligence of WEAI, its employees, agents, and/or representatives).
Venue and Location COVID-19 Safety Information
WEAI is contracting event space from third parties and therefore has limited ability to maintain rules and regulations for areas that adjoin the conference space. WEAI is not able to require masks or vaccination for the other spaces or areas near where the conference is being held. Also, WEAI is not able to require vaccinations of the venue’s staff, but we can require masking of staff at WEAI contracted space.
Health Screening and Reducing the Spread
WEAI recommends that all participants screen themselves daily for symptoms of COVID-19. Symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. The following symptoms are outlined on the CDC website indicating an individual may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Individuals who have these symptoms should not attend an in-person event, including our event. Any attendee who begins to experience symptoms during the conference should leave the conference and seek appropriate medical attention. Additionally, if the person is onsite, affected individuals should notify event organizers to allow for additional communication to participants.
Reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 by:
- Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If water is not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Personnel must be able to wash their hands after touching any surface/tool suspected of being contaminated, before and after eating or using the restroom, and before touching their face.
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
- Practicing physical distancing
- Wearing a mask when indoors
- Avoiding contact with people who are sick
- Staying home while sick and avoiding close contact with others
- Covering your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and immediately disposing of the used tissue
The CDC provides detailed information on when and how to wash your hands. When to wash your hands:
Key times to wash your hands (or use hand sanitizer if you don’t have access to soap and water) include:
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- Before and after treating a wound
- Before and after removing gloves or other personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Before exiting a laboratory
- After using the toilet
- After contact with frequently touched surfaces (e.g., elevators, lobby areas, reception desks)
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching an animal or animal waste
- After touching garbage
For further information, please visit the following websites: