After a window of significant optimism, the spread of the delta variant has again raised worries about travel and in-person conference events. Here we explain the planned COVID policies for the NTA 2021 Annual Conference, and also explain the decision-making process that will take place as the situation evolves over the coming months.
The current plan is for the NTA Annual Conference to take place in person as originally scheduled. A significant portion of our community greatly prefers in-person conference activities over the online conferences of the past year. We wish to facilitate a return to such conferences if it is possible.
That said, we appreciate that an in-person conference may be rendered imprudent. Because the situation has been changing rapidly, we will continue to monitor the progress of COVID closely and will be prepared to move to a fully online format should it be necessary. This monitoring will include information on the spread and severity of COVID, on travel restrictions imposed by either governments or employers, and on guidance provided by public health agencies.
Based on this information, we will post an announcement of our COVID policies no later than October 15th. This announcement will confirm our in-person or online status; in the event that we proceed with an in-person conference, it will also confirm our final policies for mitigation of COVID risk. Some elements of these policies are already certain: in-person participation will be limited to vaccinated individuals. Policies related to masking and social distancing will be set according to best practices as viewed at the time.
We appreciate that the uncertainty introduced by the pandemic is a significant nuisance for the planning of conference participants (and we assure you it is no picnic for the organizers). We hope that being clear about the timing of decisions will help resolve some of that nuisance. To help make provisional planning easier, both conference registration and conference-hotel-block reservations will remain fully refundable until after the announcement of our intended final COVID policy.