Please know that our thoughts are with those affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The health and safety of our IEEE communities is of paramount importance. We understand that some communities may be greatly impacted, and others not at all, we have drafted the following best practices to help you plan for and manage your event.
First and foremost, in deciding to host your meeting, follow the guidance of local, regional, national and international government and health authorities. (see links below)
Steps to Minimize Risk at Your In-Person Meeting
If you opt to hold your in-person meeting, we recommend taking the following precautions for the safety and well-being of participants to further minimize risk:
- Ensure attendees are aware of the safety guidelines you have followed as set out by the following organizations:
- World Health Organization (WHO): https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
- Provide an onsite point of contact for individual concerns and publish contact information widely through communication channels for the meeting.
- Advise participants with pre-existing medical conditions to consult with a doctor before traveling.
- Ensure participants know the signs of infection and ask that those who are not feeling well to remain home: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/symptoms.html
- Ensure you have a list of contact information for the nearest hospital or other medical facility near your meeting.
- Ask the hotel to properly clean and sanitize public areas. Please do not be concerned about the additional expense. Keep detailed records of the effort.
- Institute a no handshake policy at the meeting to alleviate fears of spreading germs.
- Provide access to basic supplies like hand sanitizer.
- Ask your A/V provider to change out microphones for each speaker. Sanitize the microphones thoroughly after each speaker.
- Work together with the hotel or venue to develop an isolation plan for any symptomatic individuals, as well as a communication and action plan. The hotel will likely already have a plan in place. Solidify the protocol with the venue.
- If you have over 250 people, Consider hiring a local Emergency Medical Technician to be onsite at the meeting. This will enable you to respond quickly if the need arises.
- Keep in mind that volunteers and members do not have any medical or health authority and should not participate in delivering medical care or making diagnoses, or acting beyond their authority.
For AdCom, ExCom, FinCom, OpCom and Region Meetings, it is acceptable to err on the side of safety and the personal comfort of our volunteers. If needed, prioritize your agenda to handle any time-sensitive items or motions via WebEx (or similar), then postpone the face-to-face meeting until later in the year.
IEEE references recognized public health organizations for fact-based resources and updates on the virus to help guide planning and response. Primary agencies both within the U.S. and globally include:
- World Health Organization’s website on the Coronavirus: https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus
- Centers for Disease Control’s reference materials: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
- National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China: http://en.nhc.gov.cn/
- Any official local public health organizations
If you have questions or are in need of additional guidance on how to prepare for your local in person meeting, please reach out at email@example.com
If you have questions or in need of additional information on remote conferencing, please email firstname.lastname@example.org