IEEE SoutheastCon 2020 COVID-19 FAQ

 How is IEEE SoutheastCon management addressing the Coronavirus?

The co-sponsors of IEEE SoutheastCon, IEEE Region 3 and IEEE Eastern NC Section, understand the Coronavirus has raised concerns among some exhibitors, presenters and attendees, and in response, have adopted measures to minimize any potential impact on IEEE SoutheastCon 2020. Similar measures have been implemented at other major events taking place throughout the U.S. with a significant number of attendees to protect the health of individuals. Those events are also proceeding as planned.

 IEEE SoutheastCon Management has said attendees and exhibitors should be confident in the health/safety safeguards put in place. Why is that?

The U.S. Government has taken steps to mitigate the concerns regarding COVID-19. Individuals and companies will still be in a position to come to IEEE SoutheastCon as long as they are not in the U.S. government-mandated quarantine window. Much like individuals who are still going to sporting events, concerts, museums, and other events with large crowds, there is minimal risk for IEEE SoutheastCon attendees and exhibitors. While there have been large event cancellations in Europe and Asia, that has not been suggested or advised by U.S. government and health officials given the extremely low risk. Nonetheless, IEEE SoutheastCon Management is taking precautions to prevent the spread of any germs, to help put participants’ minds at ease.

 What measures are being implemented to provide a safe and healthy environment for attendees?

We strongly urge exhibitors and attendees to implement appropriate guidelines and protocols as suggested by the WHO and other health authorities to contain and mitigate against any further spread of the virus. Up-to-date WHO advice can be found here.

A “no-handshake policy” at IEEE SoutheastCon is among the measures being implemented to protect the health of attendees. Additional onsite tools for registrants, exhibitors and onsite personnel include the following:

  • Increased availability of Hand Sanitizing Stations
  • Increased Facility-Wide Cleaning and Disinfecting
  • Sanitizing/Cleaning Materials Available for Exhibitors
  • Increased On-Site Medical Support
  • Reduced Transfer of Physical Materials at Registration
  • Modified Catering/Food Service Practices for optimal food safety
  • Continuous Air Handling in Facility
  • Create an environment to promote a ‘touch-free’ exhibition and conference:

 What about temperature scanning at the entrances?

While that is a measure being utilized at US ports of entry, it is not a requirement nor a suggestion by any government or healthcare body. The limited effectiveness of any temperature scans would not outweigh the inconvenience to attendees and exhibitors.

 What if someone is not feeling well but is planning to attend IEEE SoutheastCon 2020?

Regardless of any other circumstances, it is still cold and flu season. We would ask that all participants exercise discretion in attending IEEE SoutheastCon 2020. If you are feeling feverish, please exercise common sense and do not come to IEEE SoutheastCon that day. If appropriate, get medical attention for an appropriate diagnosis. As always, cover your coughs and sneezes. Hand sanitizers are helpful, but the best prevention for spread of germs and viruses are thorough washing of hands, and cleaning of surfaces.

 In the event an IEEE SoutheastCon attendee develops flu-like symptoms, what measures will be taken?

Any attendee who develops symptoms will be taken to our First Aid/EMT area in the convention center and escorted to the local hospital if it is determined that is the safest and appropriate course of action to protect the health of the individual and other attendees.

 What is the response of Raleigh, NC, USA health officials to the Coronavirus?

IEEE SoutheastCon Management is following the recommendations of the local government and city officials.

GRCVB Response to COVID-19:

As the official destination organization for Raleigh, N.C., we have the wellbeing of all visitors and residents of Wake County as our highest priority. We have been and will continue to gather information working with local, state and national agencies. 

 We appreciate the aggressive response to COVID-19 (coronavirus) by federal, state and local officials and are hopeful the collective effort will continue to keep the risk of COVID-19 in Wake County to a minimum, enabling quality of life and commerce to go on unimpeded—as health experts have repeatedly emphasized should currently be the case.

 At this time federal public health officials have issued NO warnings or restrictions on travel anywhere in the U.S. We encourage the traveling public to follow any guidance offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local and state public health authorities. Travelers are encouraged to always practice healthy travel habits and follow guidance issued by official sources of public health information. According to the CDC, the chances of contracting the virus, for the majority of people, are very remote if they travel responsibly and observe simple hygiene measures.

We will continue to monitor updates from Wake County Public Health in partnership with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and following the guidance of the CDC. For more information regarding travel and the meetings and events industry, please review the U.S. Travel Association’s Emergency Preparedness and Response Coronavirus (COVID-19) Toolkit.

 What options are available for speakers who are unable to attend the conference in-person?

All registered speakers will have the opportunity to submit their pre-recorded presentation regardless of geography or travel restrictions but we continue to encourage speakers to participate in-person to allow for greater interaction with attendees. Speakers who provide a video for presentation in their session will still have their paper published. Speakers can also recruit a colleague to act as a proxy to deliver their presentation. Selected sessions will also have live speaker participation via video-conferencing. For more details, contact parag.upadhyay@ieee.org.

 Will technical content be made available to registrants who are unable to participate in-person?

All of the speaker papers and slides (if provided) and made available to technical registrants within 24 hours via the mobile app.

 How will IEEE SoutheastCon management handle poster presentations for authors unable to attend IEEE SoutheastCon in-person?

For poster presenters, special measures have been adopted to better facilitate their continued participation in IEEE SoutheastCon 2020. They have the ability to submit their PDF poster electronically or have an academic or industry colleague who is still eligible to attend IEEE SoutheastCon present their findings on their behalf. IEEE SoutheastCon Management will print the poster for display and make it available for attendees for viewing on the IEEE SoutheastCon app.

 For awardees of the IEEE SoutheastCon co-sponsors who are not able to attend the conference in-person, how will they be recognized?

All awardees will be recognized during the awards ceremony and luncheon including those who are unable to attend in-person due to U.S. Government imposed travel or quarantine restrictions.

Links and Resources:

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) technical guidance (WHO)

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/technical-guidance

 Novel Coronavirus in Hubei Province, China (U.S. State Dept)

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/novel-coronavirus-hubei-province–china.html