The Board of the WY-TWS is committed to offering an in-person conference that helps ensure the health, safety and comfort of all participants. Ultimately, the decision to attend an in-person, indoor gathering during an on-going pandemic is your personal decision and depends upon your comfort and acceptable level of risk. Moreover, the risk landscape is continuously evolving. Given the current COVID situation, our current plan is therefore as follows, with the potential for updates and amendments prior to the meeting depending on the latest trends, and updates to CDC and/or other scientific recommendations:
- Participants will be required to wear a mask during indoor conference activities including workshops, the poster session, talk sessions, and round tables. The mask requirement will be relaxed during times in which beverages or food are being consumed (e.g., coffee breaks, lunches, banquet). Oral presenters may remove their mask to deliver their presentation and answer questions. Individuals that need to take extra precautions can temporarily space themselves away from unmasked individuals while eating or drinking. This policy will help ensure that folks at higher risk from the virus can participate, feel comfortable, and not feel singled out.
- We will provide an N95 or KN95-type face mask for every participant at the registration desk for those that may not have one.
- Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the venue.
- We encourage all participants to get vaccinated in advance if not already, and take a Covid-19 test within 48 hours of the conference. We will not be requiring proof of vaccination for participation, however. Wyoming residents can order free at-home, mail-in PCR tests from VAULT and/or two free at-home tests from Covidtests.gov. Information also is available at the Wyoming Department of Health website.
- All official conference activities including the Quiz Bowl evening will be held on site in the conference center to help contain interactions to within participants.
Please carefully consider your comfort level prior to registering for the conference, and we pledge to do all that we reasonably can to have a successful, safe, and long overdue gathering. You may cancel your registration and receive a full refund (minus the Eventbrite fees) up to 7 days before the conference. You may cancel your hotel room booking at the Lodge at Jackson Hole up to 14 days before your check-in and receive a full refund. Anyone experiencing Covid-19 symptoms or having a positive test result should not attend the conference. If this occurs after the cancellation deadlines, we will work with you to issue you registration and hotel room refunds. We will continue to update the conference webpage about our Covid-19 planning.
The following additional information comes from Critical Care Specialist Dr. Loren Nelson in Jackson, WY:
Currently, the large numbers of positive Covid-19 cases in the West is expected to peak in mid-February. The newest sub-variant of Omicron (BA.2) is behaving similarly to the first Omicron and does not appear to be significantly more infectious or virulent. The good news from the data thus far is that individuals who are fully vaccinated are highly protected against severe disease. Individuals who have already contracted the virus appear to produce neutralizing antibodies that last approximately 90 days. Such neutralizing antibodies also are greatly increased with a booster shot. The production of T cells and memory lymphocytes also result from infection and booster shots, and can quickly reactivate an immune response. Most virologists now anticipate that into the future, the virus will linger as a seasonal, endemic infection like the common cold or flu that may necessitate future boosters if new, more resistant variants emerge.
If you have any questions, concerns, or feedback, please contact Anna Chalfoun, President-Elect at firstname.lastname@example.org.