LPC’s goal for the 2024 Library Publishing Forum is to encourage the safest possible in-person conference environment through careful planning and mutual care.
Although public concern has waned, COVID-19 is still a serious health risk. Even otherwise healthy individuals are at risk for complications and for long COVID, and those risks increase with repeated infections. For individuals with weakened immune systems or other vulnerabilities, the risks are heightened significantly.
We acknowledge that an in-person event will inevitably carry a higher level of risk than a virtual one, and that even the most careful precautions may not reduce the risk enough for some community members to attend safely. For that and other reasons, we will continue to alternate in-person events with fully virtual ones.
Our planning team is working to create the safest possible conference environment through attention to the following areas:
Ventilation and air filtration
McNamara Alumni Center was built to meet the codes that prevailed at that time. The original design of the system dictates maximum MERV capabilities, which currently is use of a MERV 13 air filter. Air changes depend on the number of people and the pressure in the building. Spring and fall typically have the highest percentage of outside air in comparison to the coldest or hottest days of the year that the minimum air requirements were designed for.
Spaces within the venue
Because we are planning for a lower number of attendees than the space typically accommodates, we can have fewer tables and ask to have them spread out. Boxed lunches will be provided on both days, so attendees can choose to take their lunch elsewhere. There are about 12-15 small tables located outside the Alumni Center on a first-come first-served basis. Because meals will take place in the same location as the main conference session, risk of transmission will be heightened at sessions immediately following meal and snack times
Provision of masks and tests
We will provide masks and rapid COVID self-tests for all attendees.
Reliable information and clear communication
- CDC COVID-19 website
- Minnesota Department of Health Institutions of Higher Education (IHE): COVID-19 website
We encourage attendees and potential attendees to reach out to us with questions and concerns by emailing email@example.com
Mutual care will help provide a safer conference environment. Below, we have laid out a number of strategies for mutual care and we encourage attendees to utilize as many of them as possible. We aren’t mandating particular strategies across the board, because there will be community members for whom any particular intervention isn’t possible (e.g., individuals who cannot be vaccinated or who cannot wear a mask for an extended period of time). However, attendees are encouraged to do as many of these things as they are able and to do their best to care for their fellow conference-goers. Individuals are expected to isolate from other attendees if they are sick.
We will strongly encourage all attendees to receive up-to-date vaccines against COVID at least two weeks prior to the event. According to the CDC (at the time this policy was written), you’re up to date on your COVID vaccine if you received an updated vaccine after September 12, 2023.
We strongly encourage attendees to wear masks whenever possible. We will make medical-grade masks (KN95 or similar) available throughout the event, and we encourage all attendees who are able to wear them whenever they aren’t eating, drinking, or presenting.
The venue is part of the UMN campus, and it will include staff, attendees of other events, and potentially members of the public who may or may not be masked.
Although rapid COVID self-tests are not currently a reliable indicator of whether someone is infected (because of the prevalence of false negative results), they are a fairly reliable indicator of whether an individual is contagious on the day they take the test.(1) We will make tests available (one per attendee per day of the conference) and encourage all attendees to test each morning before coming to the venue. Further information will be posted and/or sent to attendees when available.
Individuals who test positive or who are experiencing any moderate or severe symptoms of COVID are expected to isolate from other attendees. This means not attending conference sessions in person, and not gathering for social events with other attendees during the conference.
This policy was designed based on conditions during early 2024. We are posting it in advance of the conference so that attendees can make an informed decision about their attendance, and we won’t make changes to it lightly. However, this policy is subject to change based on national trends and/or in accordance with CDC updates to guidelines and regulations. We will notify attendees of any changes as soon as possible.
Questions about this policy? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(1) Lopera TJ, Alzate-Ángel JC, Díaz FJ, Rugeles MT, Aguilar-Jiménez W. The Usefulness of Antigen Testing in Predicting Contagiousness in COVID-19. Microbiol Spectr. 2022 Apr 27;10(2):e0196221. doi: 10.1128/spectrum.01962-21. Epub 2022 Mar 29. PMID: 35348350; PMCID: PMC9045251. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35348350/