As we prepare to return to an in-person Conference for the first time in three years, we are announcing our revised COVID-19 Protocols and Practices for our 2022 Bridge Conference, which will take place in Tacoma October 24-25.
SOWA leadership and the Bridge Planning team recognize the importance of honoring multiple truths, norms, and experiences, especially when deciding about the health and safety of our community. Our Bridge Planning team includes staff from across the state, is primarily people of color, and has a wide array of experiences in the field. Their perspectives and experiences helped shape our decision-making process.
While keeping in mind our Bridge values of community, equity, belonging, nourishment, leadership, and change, we considered these factors:
- Staff input (from the full School’s Out Washington staff, via an online survey)
- Imagined impact of policies, considering everything from potential unintended harm to financial implications
- Feasibility of policy/practice implementation at a Conference of this size
- Current public health guidance (ranging from CDC’s recommendations based on transmission level to state and county guidance)
We hope these final guidelines will offer the most people possible, including those most vulnerable in our communities, the opportunity to attend Bridge with confidence this fall.
Our Access and Inclusion Guide offers a detailed description of our policies. And for a brief overview:
- Universal masking except while eating or drinking; presenters may choose to be unmasked while presenting
- Options for participants to be socially distanced while eating or drinking
- Encouraging attendees to take proactive precautions
If you’ve been on the fence about attending an event of this size, we hope our practices and policies will offer some comfort. If these guidelines don’t match your current practices, we hope the value of engaging with our community, learning from some amazing presenters from the field, and coming back together in person are benefits you won’t want to miss. If you have questions or feedback, we welcome you to contact our Customer Service team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope you’ll join us in person at Bridge this year. Register by October 17.