COVID-19 Preparedness Plan FEEcon 2021

Providing a safe conference experience with an emphasis on participant welfare is FEE’s top priority.

FEEcon’s health and safety policies are based on guidelines put forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Additionally, FEE has consulted guidance published by the American Camp Association and established conference policies in accordance with the policies of AmericasMart Atlanta and The Westin Peachtree Plaza.

FEE will continue to stay updated with all local, state, and federal guidelines and adjust conference policies as needed.

FEEcon Health and Safety Policies and Protocol for COVID-19

According to guidelines for Maintaining Healthy Environments (CDC), “SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is thought to be mostly spread by respiratory droplets released when people talk, cough, or sneeze. It is thought that the virus may also spread to hands from a contaminated surface and then to the nose, mouth or eyes, causing infection. Therefore, personal prevention practices (such as handwashing, staying home when sick, maintaining 6 feet of distance, and wearing a mask) and environmental prevention practices (such as cleaning and disinfection) are important ways to prevent the virus’s spread.”

FEE is exercising best practices for prevention of virus transmission, but it is  recommended that parents/guardians of higher risk conference attendees consult their medical provider to assess their risk and determine if attendance is acceptable. FEE will protect the privacy of people at higher risk for severe illness regarding their underlying medical conditions.

In accordance with state and local laws and regulations, FEE staff will notify local health officials, and attendees of any case of COVID-19 while maintaining confidentiality in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Personal Prevention Measures

All FEEcon conference attendees are expected to practice personal prevention measures, including:

  • Staying home when sick. Seek medical attention, self-isolate and do not attend FEEcon if you are experiencing any of the following COVID-19 symptoms:
    • Fever (defined as a temperature greater than 100.4 F)
    • Shortness of breath
    • New loss of taste of smell
    • Chills, muscle pain, or sore throat
    • New or worsened cough
    • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
    • Runny nose or congestion
  • Staying at home when at risk for having or transmitting COVID-19. Individuals should not attend FEEcon if they have symptoms of, a positive test for, or were recently exposed (within 14 days) to COVID-19. Close contact means: 
    • You were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more.
    • You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19.
    • You had direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them).
    • You shared eating or drinking utensils.
    • They sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you.
  • Handwashing. Wash your hands with soap frequently. Use the available hand sanitizer regularly throughout the conference. 
  • Maintaining 6 feet of distance. Be mindful of social distancing, and maintain a space of 6 feet between yourself and others whenever possible during the conference.
  • Wearing a mask. Wear a cloth face covering at all times when in public areas. All attendees are expected  to bring and use masks at FEEcon. Transmission is slowed by wearing a cloth face covering. Masks are meant to protect other people in case the wearer is unknowingly infected but does not have symptoms. Masks should not be placed on:
    • Babies or children younger than 2 years old
    • Anyone who has trouble breathing
    • Anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance
  • Practicing proper hygiene. Take appropriate steps to maintain a healthy conference environment through cleanliness and proper cough/sneeze etiquette.

Environmental Prevention Practices

FEE will enact sanitation measures and environmental prevention practices at FEEcon, including:  

  • Temperature screening upon arrival. All conference attendees and staff will undergo a thermal scanning to check for fever at event registration and upon daily entrance to the conference. 
  • Self-reporting and health affirmation requirements. All conference attendees will be required to affirm in writing they are not currently experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, they have not experienced symptoms within the past 14 days, and they have not been in close contact with someone known to have COVID-19 within the past 14 days. Attendees shall disclose any international travel within the past 14 days. Individuals who become sick during FEEcon should isolate, contact your healthcare provider, and notify the designated COVID-19 conference contact. 
  • Providing hand sanitizer. Attendees will be provided with hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol when they register at the event and/or have access to designated sanitation sites stocked with hand sanitizer.
  • Cleaning and disinfection. FEEcon surfaces that are touched regularly will be disinfected throughout the day. We will maintain a schedule for cleaning and disinfection using EPA-approved disinfectants against COVID-19 that includes:
    • Cleaning and disinfecting shared objects between uses—for example, microphones, tables, and countertops.
    • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces within the venue at least daily or between uses as much as possible.
    • Ensuring safe and correct use and storage of cleaners and disinfectants to avoid harm to employees and other individuals.
    • Ensuring restrooms are adequately stocked with supplies for handwashing, including soap and water or hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol (for staff and older children who can safely use hand sanitizer), paper towels, tissues, and no-touch trash cans.
  • Messaging reminders of personal prevention measures. We will remind attendees of hygiene best practices through signage and over email, social media, or push notifications through the FEEcon event app. We will display signs in highly visible locations (e.g., at entrances, in restrooms) that promote everyday protective measures and describe how to stop the spread of germs by properly washing hands, avoiding physical contact, and properly wearing a mask.
  • Social distancing. The conference will be set up with the appropriate distancing required at the time. Room layouts will be designed in a way for people to get to their seats while maintaining appropriate distance, including: 
    • Physical guides, such as tape on floors or sidewalks and signs on walls, will mark appropriate distancing and routing.
  • Partitions in areas where it is difficult for individuals to remain at least 6 feet apart. 
  • Avoid offering any self-serve food or drink options.  There is no evidence that COVID-19 is spread by food. However, people sharing utensils and congregating around food service areas can pose a risk. FEEcon will avoid buffets, salad bars, and drink stations in favor of pre-packaged boxes or bags for attendees . Sharing of food, tools, equipment, or supplies by staff members is discouraged.
  • Providing COVID-19 point of contact. FEEcon will have a medical professional onsite and all conference attendees will receive the contact information for the primary FEEcon point of contact should COVID-19 concerns arise during the conference. 

Identifying and isolating attendees with elevated risk.

As part of the FEEcon community we all have a responsibility to help protect each other at all times. FEEcon participants and staff agree to: 

  • Self-reporting sickness during the conference. Staff and attendees should self-report the FEEcon COVID-19 point of contact if they have symptoms of COVID-19, a positive test for COVID-19, or were exposed to someone with COVID-19 within the last 14 days, in accordance with health information sharing regulations for COVID-19. 
    • All individuals shall be protected under applicable privacy and confidentiality laws and regulations.
  • Separating and isolating individual(s) with COVID-19 symptoms from others.
    • Immediately separate staff and attendees with COVID-19 symptoms (e.g., fever, cough, shortness of breath) at the event. 
    • Individuals who are sick should go home or to a healthcare facility, depending on how severe their symptoms are, and follow CDC guidance for caring for themselves.
    • Individuals who have had close contact with a person who has symptoms should be separated, sent home, and advised to follow CDC guidance for community-related exposure (see “Notify Health Officials and Close Contacts” below). If symptoms develop, individuals should follow CDC guidance for caring for themselves.
    • FEEcon staff will notify AmericasMart Atlanta and The Westin Peachtree Plaza in accordance with CDC’s Guidance for Shared or Congregate Housing.
    • FEEcon staff will work directly with venue administrators, local officials, and healthcare providers to identify an isolation area to separate anyone who has COVID-like symptoms or who has tested positive but does not have symptoms. Event healthcare providers should use Standard and Transmission-Based Precautions when caring for sick people. 
    • Individuals that they should not return to the venue until they have met CDC’s criteria to discontinue home isolation.
  • Closing, Cleaning, and Disinfecting. FEEcon staff will close off areas used by a sick person and not use these areas until after cleaning and disinfecting them. Staff will wait at least 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting.
  • Notifying Health Officials and Close Contacts. In accordance with state and local laws and regulations, FEEcon staff will notify local health officials, staff, and families of a person with COVID-19 while maintaining the individual’s confidentiality in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other applicable laws and regulations.

Traveling to Georgia

  • At this time the CDC assesses the COVID-19 risk in Georgia is high at Warning – Level 3.
  • CDC recommends travelers avoid all nonessential international travel to Georgia. Travelers at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should consider postponing all travel, including essential travel, to Georgia.

Refunds in case of COVID-19

  • Anyone prohibited from attending FEEcon due to COVID-19 concerns is entitled to a full refund of their registration cost. 
  • Should FEEcon experience interruptions or cancellation during the conference, a partial, prorated refund will be issued.

Situation Monitoring

FEE is actively monitoring the situation and will provide conference participants with updates to the FEEcon COVID-19 preparedness plan leading up to and after the event.

The primary criteria FEE will use during evaluation are:

  • CDC risk assessment for the state of Georgia.
  • New COVID-19 case counts in the surrounding Atlanta area.
  • Incidence rate (new cases per 100,000 people) in the surrounding Atlanta area.
  • New case trajectory (whether the number of new cases is going up, going down, or staying the same over time) in the surrounding Atlanta area.