Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic is still with us and is very much a fluid situation with information/guidance being regularly updated. That said, in my view we are fortunate to live in an area where fully vaccinated rates are at a high enough level that we can cautiously move to resume in-person meetings for those members who are fully vaccinated and feel comfortable in doing so, acknowledging that there is still some personal risk to “break-through” infection.
Please carefully read each of these bullet points, in conjunction with the meeting-venue-specific actions published in that section, to better understand our decision to begin in-person meetings. Quite frankly, we simply don’t know what to expect yet in terms of how many members will choose to attend a physical meeting, but our surveys and conversations with members seem to indicate that there is a demand for careful/thoughtful resumption of physical meetings. We’re going to need to get some meetings under our belts to see what may need to change.
Finally, I know that some of our members will not agree with these protocols, or the virtual alternatives that we are able to offer, but I believe that the science supports these steps. If you do not feel that you can comply with these requirements, we will gladly refund your dues if you have prepaid, and welcome you back as a member at any point in the future when such requirements are no longer necessary.
- The WPW will comply with CDC, Pennsylvania, Allegheny County, and/or Back Channel School guidance/requirements with respect to in-person meetings of non-related people. If such meetings again become prohibited by law (or venue requirement), we will immediately comply. If such meetings are allowed with suggested/required guidelines regarding numbers in attendance, masking, etc., we will follow such guidance to the best of our ability.
- My foremost concern is for the safety of our members and their families. This is especially concerning since our membership tends to skew older, where the risks of severe and/or prolonged illness, or death, are factually greater.
- It is the WPW’s current commitment to always make the content of our physical meetings available, in real-timevia our virtual meeting WebEx platform, to all members, but especially to those who do not wish to, or are not allowed to, attend physical meetings at this time.
- For those members who do wish to attend a physical meeting, we require that you be fully vaccinated for the protection of others, and that you wear at least a 3-ply surgical mask at all times while indoors. Bandanas, gators, and other single-ply cloth masks are not acceptable — We will have 3-ply surgical masks available for those members who need one.
- For now, we think it will be most responsible to NOT have coffee and donuts at the physical meeting because of the impossibility of consuming them without removing one’s mask. Yes, I understand that restaurants allow for food consumption without a mask, but generally not in the crowded conditions that I expect at our meetings. And, yes, I understand that this is an integral part of our social time, but for now, let’s just enjoy each other’s company. We will, however, explore the possibility of purchasing a pop-up canopy that would allow us to put the coffee and donuts outside.
As always, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or other comments.