August 2022

SEMC will continue to monitor the incidence of COVID-19 in Northwest Arkansas and follow guidance from local health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding gatherings. 

We are looking forward to a in-person gatherining this fall! To ensure that the 2022 SEMC Annual Meeting is as safe as possible, the following safety measures will be put in place:

  • We expect all in-person attendees to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Vaccination is the most effective way to protect yourself and fellow attendees. We ask unvaccinated individuals to protect themselves and reduce the risk to others by attending the conference virtually.
  • Given the size of the event, and current CDC guidelines regarding indoor masking recommendations, face masks will be optional at the Convention Center and other indoor conference activities. Masks are recommended while on SEMC2022 busses to events and tours. SEMC will continue to monitor CDC guidelines and directives. 

  • All SEMC staff attending the meeting will be fully vaccinated.

  • SEMC is working with the Rogers Convention Center on evolving safety protocols including:

    • Hand sanitizer stations will be available throughout the Convention Center.

    • Seating in the meeting rooms will be set for social distancing.

    • Masks will be available at the SEMC Registration Desk.

  • Many evening events and tour offerings will be outdoors.

These measures will help reduce the chance for transmission of the virus; however, if you are sick or feeling you are getting sick, we ask that you please stay home. Currently, older adults and persons with underlying health conditions who are unvaccinated are considered to be at increased risk of severe illness and complications from COVID-19. Examples of underlying health conditions include heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, people with weakened immune systems, and people who are pregnant.

The CDC recommends that people in high-risk groups who are not vaccinated consult with their healthcare provider about attending any large gathering.

If you plan to attend the in-person conference, please keep in mind the CDC recommendations on how to keep yourself and others healthy:

  • Complete full vaccinatation at least two weeks prior to traveling to Northwest Arkansas.

  • Wear a mask as needed in indoor locations.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

  • SEMC will provide all conference attendees information about where to get a COVID rapid test as well as locations of local walk-in clinics and hospitals close to the Rogers Convention Center.

  • Within two weeks after the conference, we urge any attendee who tests positive for COVID to alert SEMC staff. SEMC will inform attendees of any positive case without revealing identifying information about the ill person.

Exposure to COVID-19 is an inherent risk in any public location where people are present; we cannot guarantee you will not be exposed during the conference. SEMC relies on the integrity and honesty of our attendees. We will not be collecting proof of vaccination, proof of a negative test, or any other medical records. 

We will revise this policy as needed based upon local conditions and the guidance of the local health department and/or CDC.