This weekend, I’m attending the Science Writers conference in Memphis, Tennessee. I’ve been to a few journalism conferences in 2022, along with other larger events (theater performances, concerts, etc.), and Science Writers has the best COVID-19 safety protocols I have encountered so far.
The event’s safety protocols include:
- A vaccine requirement (which includes boosters);
- Masks required indoors unless one is actively eating or drinking;
- No eating or drinking in conference rooms (in other words, masks stay on);
- Outdoor space for all meals and networking events;
- Virtual options for people who did not wish to attend in person.
I have particularly appreciated the outdoor space for meals. For me, it really takes the stress out of the networking to not worry about constantly keeping on a high-quality mask—because I know I’m in a well-ventilated, outdoor location.
From talking to a couple of people in leadership of the National Association of Science Writers and Council for the Advancement of Science Writing (which jointly organize the conference), I’ve learned that committing to these safety measures wasn’t easy—so I wanted to convey my deep appreciation. Measures like these make it possible for higher-risk people to attend the event, while also demonstrating the values of our organizations.
(For more information on COVID-safe events, see this feature story I wrote for Science News earlier in the year!)