Our 30+ virtual programs and events have been a blessing for schools wanting to educate and entertain their collegiate groups during this pandemic, but live events will be returning soon to the cheers of the higher education community. However, The nature of the COVID-19 pandemic is unpredictable – no one truly knows when it will be safe to return to live events again. Whenever that may be, we will be prepared when the time comes. That’s why we are creating a plan for the safety measures needed for a return to live events slowly and steadily. We want to ensure that our higher education partners know the steps we are taking to make our events safe when the time comes.
First things first – we are not the experts in healthcare, so we will be taking the advice of those who are. The CDC has put together Safety Protocols for event planning, and following these guidelines is the foundation of our thought process on any live events.
One of the hazards of collegiate events is the inevitable travel that comes along with bringing vendors to campus. But, while some regions of the country continue to be strongly impacted by the pandemic, there are many campuses in regions with lower impact who still benefit from gathering and connecting with one another. So our first foray into live events when the ‘all clear’ is given will be based on 2 location factors.
Locations with consistently low case counts
Locations where no one needs to travel further than they can drive for a day trip from their homes – not even our facilitators. Our facilitators are spread across the country in major cities, which will allow us to begin serving many areas where cases are low, even from the beginning. If events are planned to take place on campus where the community is already living together – even better.
We are regularly referring to data showing case counts, infection rates, and more to ensure we understand the current state of things in different parts of the country. Useful resources include the below map and this regularly updated page with visual representations of case data on a day-by-day basis.
Whenever we receive the ‘go-ahead’ to dip our toe back into the live events ocean, we know that will not mean full speed ahead right away. We plan to embrace and adhere to the CDC guidelines on attendance capacity, spacing, disinfecting, and so on that will come with the return of live events. In fact, along with any official recommendations, we will plan to do the following:
Continue to encourage holding events outdoors as much as climate and location will allow
Recommend any indoor or outdoor space used for an event we deliver will allow for 6 ft of social distancing for all attendees
Verify with the school that their campus safety guidelines include that hand sanitizer, wipes, and masks will be readily available for attendees in the event space
Sanitize all event materials prior to each event, and again upon return to our headquarters following the event
Utilize a color-coded marking system to identify each set of tools & supplies to decrease the possibility of cross-sharing items.
Encourage any food service to occur at a separate time from activities to promote clean food consumption space
Require our staff and attendees to wear face coverings at the event at any point where they are unable to keep 6 feet of distance between themselves and others
Post signage at the event outlining safety measures to inform attendees what we have done, and what they should be doing, to ensure a safe and fulfilling event
Where possible, offer remote attendance options for any attendees who have chosen not to participate in person
Team building and collegiate events come in lots of shapes and sizes. We offer a wide variety of programs but know that some will be more well suited to be delivered safely within CDC guidelines than others. A limited selection of our live events will be evaluated for how well we can ensure both optimal social distancing and delivery of the program at our high-quality standards. This may include selecting programs that are compatible with hybrid solutions like virtual facilitation, and tailoring of delivery to match campus procedures. We will also continue to offer and expand our line up of Virtual Entertainment and Virtual Workshop programs as a way to gather that most effectively ensures the health and safety of all attendees.
Just as the circumstances of the pandemic are ever-changing, we will continue to monitor the situation and adjust our plan as the conditions change over time. Even though this challenging time may continue for a while, we remain committed to doing the best we can to serve our higher education clients and their communities with high-quality events that are safe end fulfilling for all.