COVID Policies for the 2022 Annual Meeting

Updated COVID-19 Policies for the 2022 Annual Meeting of the Rural Sociological Society in Westminster, CO

As rural sociologists, we prioritize the welfare and protection of the individuals and groups with whom we work. By extension, we also have a responsibility to protect each other – and particularly the most vulnerable among us. In response to concerns raised by multiple RSS members, as well as the continued rise of covid cases linked to Omicron variants, we have revised our covid policy to *require* masking, distancing, vaccination, and testing. We ask all conference attendees to follow the new policy in good faith, and with the knowledge that even if you personally do not feel yourself to be at high risk for covid or its complications, your compliance with the covid policy will help to protect those who are more vulnerable to serious disease and complications. Thank you in advance for your understanding.

As we prepare for our first in-person meeting since the beginning of the pandemic, we ask and expect that all attendees follow these recommendations and protocols so that we can minimize risk and keep everyone safe and comfortable: 

  • COVID-19 vaccination and updated boosters are the first line of defense against COVID-19, and we expect all attendees who are able to receive them to be fully vaccinated and up to date on boosters.
  • All conference attendees must test themselves within 72 hours prior to attending the conference. Stay home if you are positive, even if you are asymptomatic.
  • Masks are required for all indoor activities and venues. We expect everyone to wear a quality mask (such as a N-95, KN-95, etc.) for the health and safety of all present. All attendees should wear proper-fitting high-quality masks over their nose and mouth at all indoor conference events. We will have masks available for anyone who needs one. Exceptions to the masking rule include for active speakers during their presentations, but we ask speakers who opt to remove their mask to immediately replace it when finished speaking. Similarly, if you remove your mask for eating and drinking, we ask you to replace it as soon as possible afterwards. We also welcome you to take food outside or to your room to enjoy without the need to mask.
  • We ask you to follow safety protocols while interacting with others. This includes keeping a safe distance from others, even when engaged in conversation. We also ask all attendees to refrain from interpersonal contact including handshakes, hugging, etc. in order to minimize opportunities for transmission.
  • Rapid COVID tests are available. We request that all attendees who are feeling ill in any way test immediately to ensure that they are not carrying or spreading the virus. Please keep in mind that current variants often present as mild colds. If you or anyone you are staying with presents with even mild cold symptoms, please ask at registration for a home test and test yourself. If you prefer to get a PCR test, information about local testing can be found here
  • If you are feeling ill and/or have tested positive for COVID-19, please quarantine and do not attend the conference events or sessions in person. Please do NOT attend your session if you are sick, even if you have tested negative. We will have an option for recording a video of your presentation at a later date to share after the conference. We will also ask panelists to step in and moderate their own sessions if moderators are absent due to illness. 

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding, and for your efforts to keep everyone healthy and safe as we return to in-person professional meetings. The local organizers have been working with the hotel conference site to ensure adequate ventilation and social distancing for all conference events to the extent possible. We are also exploring ways to make all plenary sessions online-accessible and will be working with session chairs to do the same, with the possibility of digitally archiving much of the conference. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we try our best to adapt to what has been an unpredictable and uncertain set of circumstances. With your help, we can ensure a safe and successful meeting!


The RSS Executive Committee

Dreamal Worthen, President

John Green, President-Elect

Jennifer Sherman, Vice President 

Kai Schafft, Past President

Deborah Tootle, Secretary

Scott Sanders, Executive Co-Director

Michael Cope, Executive Co-Director