YOUR SAFTEY IS OUR TOP PRIORITY
Please rest assured that we will continue to monitor state and federal guidelines related to COVID-19. Our top priority is to provide a safe and healthy environment for all participants at SMM2022.
A MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
Aloha to everyone considering in-person attendance to the 24th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals.
I know many of you have questions about COVID protocols for the conference, what our virtual world is going to look like, and so much more. We know that these questions and the associated uncertainty have implications on how you will participate in the conference (or not), travel planning, and more. This deep into the pandemic we are all aware of how dynamic the situation is. Guidance from government officials and disease experts are changed and updated regularly as our understanding of the disease, and the disease itself, changes.
The SMM2022 Conference Team has been closely monitoring COVID infection and vaccination trends throughout the pandemic. The global surge of infections related to the Delta-variant and the slow and inequitable rollout of vaccines compromises our ability to maximize participant safety and inclusivity. Thus, we have decided to postpone both the in-person and the virtual 24th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals until 2022. The new dates will be Monday, August 1 to Friday, August 5, 2022 with workshops being held on Saturday, July 30 and Sunday, July 31, 2022.
We know that this change will significantly impact many of you who have submitted abstracts, planned workshops, already registered, received a grant, sponsored the conference and more. We have included information below regarding some of the more obvious questions we expect to receive, and we will continue to sort out more details and share them with you over the next few weeks. Rest assured, there is no need for you to act on anything at this time; we are going to be applying maximum flexibility on all aspects of the conference (e.g., refunds, grants, sponsorship, etc.).
This conference is incredibly complex with unprecedented challenges and your conference committee is working hard for everyone and we thank you for your continued patience (and a dash of empathy).
The one thing we are certain of is that the world will look very different in August than it does today, so any protocols put in place now, will be different in the future. So, we are following the example of other professional societies and refraining from posting any protocols until closer to the conference. However, I want to be clear to you all. The Conference Committee and the SMM Board will be following CDC guidelines and navigating Federal, State and city mandates to develop protocols that create a quality scientific experience while emphasizing the safety of our marine mammal community who join us in-person. Our team of conference planners is engaging in this COVID conversation every week, and when we believe there is something concrete we can provide to you to help you with your decisions, we will. When updates are ready we will email registrants and post the news on this page and on social media.
Hope to see many of you in August online or in person.
Be safe, be well.
- Charles Littnan, SMM President
We were hoping that COVID would be a thing of the past by the time SMM2022 rolled around. Instead, it looks to be our new permanent norm. So here are some recommended guidelines to help everyone have a safe conference.
- Masks – We are not able to mandate mask wearing for this conference. However, we strongly encourage and appreciate liberal wearing of masks! If you forget your mask we can provide one for you at the conference registration desk.
- Embrace Social Distancing –
- Go slow with your hellos! We know it has been years since you have seen some of your friends, but we all have different comfort zones as we navigate the pandemic. When you see someone, ask how they want to be greeted – waves from a few feet, fist bumps, or much needed hugs.
- During sessions, sit with your pod and socially distance as possible. If you want space between you and others, please place down a piece of paper on each side of you to block off those seats. As you look for a place to sit, please be respectful of others’ need for space.
- When it isn’t too hot outside, take your conversations out to the many beautiful outdoor spaces.
- Monitor your health status.
- Morning self-check. If you have a fever, cough or any other symptoms, please stay back in your room. Much of the conference’s live content will be available to you on the conference app!
- Starting to feel off during the meeting…please duck out ASAP!
- Hand sanitizer will be located in various locations throughout the convention center. Please feel free to utilize it regularly.