2022 In-Person Event Protocols

February 1, 2022 / Comments Off on 2022 In-Person Event Protocols

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UPDATED: 9/22/2022

Team MNA is ready to get back to in-person events. While there are many benefits to going virtual, we miss seeing our fantastic nonprofit people in-person. That’s why we have created COVID-19 Event Protocols to help ensure the health and safety of our team, attendees, and Montana. 

We have spent a lot of time researching and reviewing expert advice and guidance for in-person gatherings and feel confident our Event Protocols will help keep our communities safe. Please feel free to use and modify these protocols for your own events. 

Here’s a more in-depth explanation of our reasoning and process for developing these protocols and, as always, please feel free to reach out to us directly with questions. Thanks and here’s to seeing you in-person soon!

The why

Montana Nonprofit Association (MNA) has developed COVID-19 protocol guidelines for MNA hosted events to help ensure the health and safety of our team, event attendees, and Montana. These protocols were written based on our knowledge of COVID-19 and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There are currently no restrictions on holding group gatherings in Montana, but the CDC recommends that if people do gather, layered prevention strategies, like masking, significantly help reduce the spread of COVID-19.  

Decision making resources

One tool we are using to maximize safety, is the CDC’s COVID-19 County Check Tool which provides up-to-date county-level transmission information. Transmission rates are defined by the CDC based on the number of total new cases per 100,000 people and the percent of COVID-19 tests that are positive in the county over the past seven days. These criteria determine the risk of transmission, which are categorized as low, moderate, substantial, or high. When a county’s levels are low or moderate, the CDC recommends that unvaccinated people wear a mask in public, indoor settings. When transmission levels are substantial or high, the CDC advises that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask in public, indoor settings. MNA is following the CDC guidelines regarding masking in an abundance of care for our attendees and community.  

We have also decided to take into account hospital occupancy as part of our safety protocols as the pandemic has caused a substantial strain on our healthcare system. Montana’s hospital occupancy report is updated weekly by the Department of Public Health and Human Services and is based on data reported from the hospitals. Bed capacity has fluctuated throughout the pandemic, as COVID-19 cases have increased the need for in-hospital care. Because COVID-19 patients are most often sent to the larger regional hospitals, we look at the bed capacity of the closest, large regional hospital when making our decision about event safety. By cancelling in-person events when transmission levels and bed capacity are high, we hope to alleviate the spread of COVID-19 and lessen the burden on the healthcare system. 

Testing & wellness check before events

The CDC also encourages testing for COVID-19 three to five days prior to attending an event as well as rapid testing immediately before the event. This testing provides the most thorough chances to detect if a participant has COVID-19. We understand that there are many barriers to testing and we will work with participants to navigate the recommended testing protocol. Because symptoms and a positive test result may not develop for five days, we also suggest that participants practice safe social distancing before the event. Participants who recently tested positive will be allowed to attend if it has been 10 days since their positive test, they are no longer symptomatic, and have been released from their isolation orders by their county public health department. 

Event attendees are encouraged to fill out our wellness check or self-evaluate using the wellness check questions we provide. If a participant answers that they have COVID-19, are symptomatic, or was exposed to COVID-19 recently, MNA will provide a full refund for the event. If an individual tests positive after attending the event, we ask that you contact MNA immediately so that we can advise others of a possible exposure. Together, we can keep each other and our communities safe.