Covid-19 Health and Safety Policies

SICB is closely monitoring CDC guidelines for COVID safety at large meetings and will adhere to those guidelines or more conservative measures, given that conference attendees come from many home locations. Additional guidance or policies for Arizona and the conference center will also be followed.

SICB is committed to provide COVID safety policies as far in advance of the meeting as possible. Policies may be revised to be more strict if that is necessary to follow CDC guidance but decisions will not be reversed to be more lenient. We are closely monitoring news, science, and CDC guidance related to the Omicron variant and will update our policies as needed.

While SICB policies at conference events provide multiple layers of protection against COVID transmission (vaccinations, masking, air flow etc), attendee care and vigilance during and outside of the conference is critical. We strongly encourage attendees to protect themselves during their personal time in Phoenix outside of conference events and spaces as well as at the conference.

Vaccination Requirement: Vaccines are required for attendance at SICB 2022, with very few allowable exceptions. Vaccinated attendees are also strongly encouraged to get booster shots prior to attending. Anyone granted an exception must submit a negative test taken within 72 hours of the first day of the conference. Please reach out to SICB President Melina Hale ( to discuss criteria for exceptions or concerns you have about this policy. To request an exception, use this google form.

Attendees of the in-person conference are required to register their proof of vaccination or approved exception accompanied by a negative COVID test in order to enter the conference. Vaccine/test registration will occur through a third-party company, 42Chat, to protect the privacy of registrants. All registrants should have received a text or email from 42Chat on December 6 (or soon after registration, for those registering after Dec 1) inviting them to submit their proof of vaccination or apply for an exception.

Acceptable vaccinations: Vaccinations approved by the US FDA or WHO are allowed for travel into the US starting in November. SICB will accept any vaccinations on those lists in the registry. Lists and other information on travel to the US can be found here:

Masking: Indoor masking is required for all attendees (vaccinated or unvaccinated) at the SICB 2022 conference with a few exceptions. KN95 masks will be available for all SICB attendees at the registration desk. A limited number of medical-grade N95 masks will also be available. Disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer will be provided at each podium. Exceptions to the universal masking policy include:

  • Vaccinated speakers have the option to lower their masks while presenting if there is at least 10 feet of distance between the speaker and the audience. The front row of seating in each room will be at least 10 feet from the podium.
  • Attendees can momentarily shift their mask to sip a drink while inside meeting rooms, but prolonged unmasking to eat or drink is not allowed in meeting rooms.
  • Prolonged unmasking to eat or drink is allowed in the exhibit portion of the exhibit hall and other common areas of the conference venue, but NOT in the meeting rooms or poster sessions. Attendees eating or drinking in common spaces should maintain at least six feet from other attendees while unmasked. We encourage attendees to eat and drink outdoors when possible.

The decision to allow these exceptions to the SICB 2022 universal masking policy was not taken lightly. We are basing this decision primarily on (1) the SICB 2022 vaccine requirement, which ensures that virtually all attendees will be vaccinated, (2) continuing effectiveness of the vaccines and wide availability of boosters (within the US), (3) facility cleaning and airflow standards, (4) CDC guidance allowing vaccinated individuals to remove masks at non-public indoor gatherings (read HERE), and (5) concerns that masked speakers may be harder to understand, particularly for hearing-impaired attendees. SICB is grateful to the SICB members that helped shape this policy by sharing their concerns and insights via our online survey this fall.

COVID Testing: SICB strongly encourages all attendees to minimize potential exposure and be tested for COVID prior to traveling to SICB. If you need access to COVID testing in Phoenix, there are multiple opportunities for both Rapid and PCR-based COVID testing within a short UBER/Taxi from the hotel and convention center. Testing locations and options may change frequently, but these resources should serve as a starting point:

Please refer to the latest CDC guidance for up-to-date testing recommendations for people who are identified as close contacts or are symptomatic. Your home institution and/or city/state may have additional stated requirements.

COVID Illness and COVID Test Reporting: Should you become ill (with COVID or otherwise) in Phoenix, the SICB conference microsite provides information on local medical facilities. Please seek medical help and attend to your health needs first! Once you have done so, please report any positive COVID tests to the SICB COVID Safety call line (703-910-3442) or reporting form. SICB will not perform contact tracing; however, contact tracing will be performed by the Arizona Department of Public Health. SICB will post the numbers of cases reported daily during the conference and in the two weeks after the meeting.

Although attendees are responsible for their housing and other personal arrangements at the conference, SICB will try to help attendees who request staff support in Phoenix. Please reach out to the COVID Safety call line. Note that Burk Inc. does not have staff in Phoenix outside of the conference dates.
Please report positive tests to the COVID Safety call line (703-910-3442) or reporting form. You can report anonymously and privacy is strictly maintained among a small number of BAI staff, officers or other SICB members cannot access this information.

  • If you have symptoms of COVID, test positive even if you don’t have symptoms, or are made aware that you are considered a close contact (from days before the conference or time in Phoenix), follow CDC guidance linked below and any additional policies of your home institution.
  • Given the short duration of the conference, it is more likely that COVID exposure in Phoenix would lead to a positive test after the conference rather than during the conference itself. Please also report positive tests obtained after the conference that could indicate that you had COVID during your visit to Phoenix.

Current CDC guidance on quarantining and isolation:

Poster sessions: There will be increased spacing between posters with wider rows and greater separation between adjacent posters. Unmasking to eat or drink will not be allowed in poster sessions – no food or beverage may be taken into the poster area during poster sessions.

Enforcement of COVID Safety During the Conference: Burk Associates Inc. (BAI), SICB’s society management company, will have staff on the ground during the conference who will address safety issues and inform SICB attendees about our safety policies. We have established a call line for attendees to report COVID safety concerns during the meeting: 703-910-3442. BAI and members of SICB leadership will be available to respond to concerns raised in the conference center. They will also be regularly walking through conference spaces and available in-person.

Mangum award hotel rooms: Mangum awardee hotel room sharing has changed from previous years, decreasing the number of people per room to two (from four) without an increase in price to students. There is greater flexibility for Mangum-supported students to identify their own roommate (in or outside of the Mangum program). Find information about the Mangum program HERE.

Childcare: In response to concerns over COVID safety, childcare will be organized differently at SICB 2022. Attendees can apply for up to $500 in financial support for childcare that can be applied to costs associated with bringing a trusted caregiver to Phoenix, or to contracting individually with a professional caregiver in Phoenix.

SICB worked with Preferred Sitters, the same company that has provided childcare at recent SICB meetings, to connect SICB members with a list of vetted local sitters. Click HERE for a list of Phoenix approved childcare providers. Those seeking childcare support should fill out this google form.

There are a number of reasons for this decision, including the unknown timing of vaccinations for children under five and differences in parent requirements for child care during the pandemic. This approach seems like the best option to help support families who are bringing children to the annual conference while also allowing parents and other caregivers to make individual decisions around COVID safety measures for their children.

Cancellation policy: If you would like to cancel your in-person registration and/or move your presentation to SICB+, please fill out this short google form. For questions, please contact

Phoenix information: The information on the meeting microsite will be augmented with details that may be useful to you in relation to COVID and wellness such as clinics and testing locations. With good January weather, we hope there will be a range of outdoor options for dining and socializing offsite. Updated Phoenix-area COVID information can be found HERE.

SICB recognizes that individuals and institutions may have specific COVID safety standards that need to be met to consider attendance of the meeting. Please reach out if you need more information (

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