From AAUW: Updated September 2021
Given the current state of COVID-19, we wanted to provide additional guidance to branch and state leaders regarding in-person meetings. Safety continues to be our most important concern, and we continue to strongly encourage that states and branches hold events virtually. This is the easiest and best way to keep all members and other event attendees safe.
Holding any in-person event presents a level of risk that must be considered. If you are thinking of holding an in-person or hybrid (some people attend in person while the event is also held virtually) event, you should consider the potential legal and health risks that holding in-person events may hold.
Given the myriad of state and local guidelines, AAUW cannot provide legal advice to state or branch affiliates, but here are some suggestions you may wish to consider before holding an in-person event:
- Observe all local and state guidelines. Require (and enforce!) masking even if your state/locality doesn’t require it and observe social distancing.
- Require vaccination for in-person attendance unless your branch is prohibited from enforcing a vaccination requirement by applicable state and local law.
- Communicate clearly in event invitations if vaccinations are required and provide a virtual option for those not comfortable attending or are unvaccinated (including those who are unvaccinated because of a disability or their religious beliefs).
- Understand meeting cancellation charges. If you sign a contract to hold an event at a venue, you may encounter significant cancellation challenges. This was the case in spring 2020 when many AAUW affiliates cancelled state conventions only to have challenges in cancelling their contracts without penalty. If you are set on holding an in-person event at a venue, understand the conditions under which you and the venue can cancel and any associated cancellation charges. AAUW National cannot cover cancellation penalty fees for affiliates.
We understand the community that AAUW provides and that many want to see each other in-person, while we also recognize that this unique situation calls for changes to how we normally do our work. Please join us in ensuring the safety of our members while we continue to fight for equity for women and girls!
For more information see AAUW National Gathering Guidelines HERE.