Preparing for a Safe and Meaningful National Conference

January 12, 2022
stock photo KN95 mask

We are excited for the opportunity to gather together in Portland, Oregon, next month. More than 900 camp professionals, consultants, vendors, thought leaders, innovative speakers, and industry leaders have registered to attend the ACA National Conference in person as we plan ahead for summer 2022 and beyond. Camp professionals have demonstrated what safe and healthy events look like, in person, for two summers now — so if any group of individuals can plan a safe event, it’s camp professionals. ACA continues to consult with public health experts, the City of Portland, and the Oregon Convention Center regarding COVID-19 and the current Omicron variant to ensure the most effective safety protocols for the event.

As a result of this review, we are strengthening our requirements for attendance at the conference to incorporate the latest practices into our health and safety procedures.

Before the Conference

ACA encourages all national conference participants to modify their behavior for the seven days before the ACA National Conference, reducing high-risk activities such as gathering indoors without masks, eating in public spaces, attending sporting events or other crowded venues, etc.

Vaccination Requirements

ACA strongly recommends that all attendees have an up to date COVID vaccination status as defined by the CDC.  Vaccinated participants will be required to submit a facsimile of their CDC-issued vaccination cards before gaining admittance to the conference.  An Up to date COVID vaccination status is  described as follows:

  • A two-dose series of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), or a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine (Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine)
  • And a booster dose, if eligible

The ACA will be following the CDC Isolation and Quarantine Guidelines. It is impracticable to contact trace given the various daily breakout sessions within the conference, therefore, if ACA becomes aware that a conference participant has tested positive for COVID, we will notify participants and proceed as if all participants had potential close contact to the case. Per CDC guidance, exposed participants who are not up to date on COVID vaccination should quarantine and not attend the conference any further until their quarantine period is over. Per CDC guidelines, exposed participants who are up to date on COVID vaccination and asymptomatic do not have to quarantine, but they will need to continue to mask at all times and eat apart from others.

Testing Requirements

All participants and exhibitors will be required to test within 72 hours of their first day at the ACA National Conference and show evidence of a negative test before admission to the conference. Acceptable tests for attendance are an FDA-authorized viral COVID-19 test, including a Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (such as a PCR/molecular test) or an antigen test that is collected and performed in a healthcare setting or certified testing site (i.e., not a home test). If you are unable to schedule your test in time, please contact us at the email below. Participants with a positive COVID test between November 10, 2021, and February 5, 2022, are exempt from this requirement but must provide detailed information regarding the positive test to ACA.

During the Conference

Participants and exhibitors will be required to wear face masks while indoors or when they are unable to distance outdoors. Participants are asked to only remove their masks to eat and, when doing so, distance from others by six feet or as much as possible given the situation. Appropriate masks include surgical masks, N95 masks, and KN95 masks worn over the mouth and nose. Cloth masks and gaiters will not be acceptable. ACA will have masks available for participants who do not have an appropriate type of mask.

ACA will encourage all participants and exhibitors to do a self-check for coronavirus symptoms each day of the conference. If participants develop symptoms consistent with COVID, they should not attend the conference until they test negative. An on-site testing facility adjacent to the Oregon Convention Center is available for this situation. 

ACA will also provide participants with color tags (wristbands) to visually communicate with other attendees their comfort level in distancing from one another. Green tags indicate that an individual is comfortable shaking hands and with less distancing. Yellow will indicate that a participant is more comfortable touching elbows or fist bumping while keeping some distancing. Red indicates that a participant would rather not directly interact with others and would prefer maximum distancing.

In addition, ACA is working with the hotel and the Oregon Convention Center to ensure proper cleaning and sanitation. The Oregon Convention Center has earned a GBAC Star Accreditation which requires a comprehensive system of cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention for staff and the venue. You can learn more about Hyatt’s impressive cleaning and safety protocols here.

ACA will provide details about the collection of vaccine status and testing results in the near future. If you have questions or are not able to schedule your pre-conference test in time, please reach out to us at customerservice@acacamps.org.