FLNPS In-person Meetings during the Pandemic: Guidelines & Protocols

(Ver: April 26, 2022)

 FLNPS meetings held during the pandemic and through April 2022 have been held remotely, using Zoom.  Several meetings in early 2022 have been decided by the Steering Committee on a case-by-case basis, using a set of custom guidelines which in turn reference the CDC’s Covid levels framework.  For our May 2022 meeting we will base our in-person/remote decision on the most recent version of the guidelines, outlined below.

 If the required “safe-enough” threshold specified by the guidelines is met at a point approximately three weeks prior to the date of a meeting (which is about when the usual announcements for the meeting would go out), the meeting will be shifted to in-person status, and the announcements will make that clear. This will be done with the understanding that local Covid conditions might substantially change within that 3-week window, and that a reversal (shifting back to Zoom) may be required.

 If a reversal is required, that will be decided no later than 72 hours before the meeting. That reversal decision will be posted on the FLNPS website home page, and it will be emailed to all FLNPS members for whom we have email addresses, and we will make some attempt to otherwise contact (phone, etc.) the few members without known email addresses.

The current FLNPS in-person guidelines are based on the three levels defined in the CDC’s “community levels” framework, issued on February 25, 2022. Those levels are LOW, MEDIUM, and HIGH.  They are tied to three metrics for a community (i.e., county): Covid transmission rate, Covid hospital admission rate, and hospital occupancy rate.  The second and third metrics reflect the CDC's decision to now place a greater emphasis on "disease burden" within a community, and less on transmission rate.  If you'd like to learn more about how these levels are determined, and/or to see the current "community level" for Tompkins County (or any other county), please take a look at this CDC page (opens in a new tab).

The FLNPS steering committee has decided that the “safe-enough” threshold for holding in-person meetings is the MEDIUM level. *   Hence, if the level is LOW or MEDIUM the committee will seriously consider shifting the meeting to in-person status.  However, we will also factor into our decision the trend lines for the three metrics at that point in time, as well as the personal “safe-enough” threshold of our featured speaker and several other factors.

If we do hold a meeting in person, we’ll all need to observe the following Covid precautions onsite:

  • All attendees must be fully vaccinated and (if eligible) boosted. (We’ll be going on the honor system.)
  • All attendees must wear a well-fitting, multi-layer, non-woven mask (e.g., surgical, N95, KN95, KF94).  Woven cloth masks, if worn by themselves, will not be considered adequate, nor will bandannas or neck gaiters. Masks must cover both the mouth and nose at all times (except while taking a quick sip of water).
  • No food or drink (except for water, if essential) will be permitted in the venue.
  • Chairs within the meeting space will be socially distanced.
  • An attendance maximum will need to be enforced. That number is currently set at 40.  It’s likely we won’t reach that, but do keep this in mind if you’re considering traveling very far for the meeting or would otherwise be seriously inconvenienced if you were turned away.

We will make every effort to create a video recording of the presentation, which would then be available for later online viewing. (We’ve been doing this up until now for most of our pandemic Zoom-based meetings.) We may also be able to do a live Zoom session from the in-person meeting, but that is still to be determined.


*  If you are immunocompromised, at high risk of serious disease, or you need to protect others at such risk, you may wish to focus on community transmission rates when determining your personal "safe-enough" level for attending a meeting.