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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidelines for NIST Conferences and Meetings

NIST is committed to protecting the health and safety of participants attending NIST conferences and meetings by implementing measures consistent with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to mitigate COVID-19 exposure.

NIST Conference and Meeting Sponsors are required to provide the following information to conference and meeting attendees prior to their arrival. Please visit NIST Visitor, Associate and Contractor Protocols for Mitigating COVID-19 Exposure on NIST Campuses for further requirements and details.

Guidelines for NIST Hosted Conferences and meetings

Daily Health Screening

Conference and meeting participants must conduct the following self-screening, COVID-19 Screening Questionnaire (subject to change based on community level), prior to arriving to the NIST conference/meeting location. Self-screening must be conducted daily for multi-day conferences and meetings. Participants that do not meet all the screening criteria may not attend the NIST conference/meeting and should immediately notify the NIST Conference and Meeting Sponsor.  NIST is not collecting this data by any means (hard copy or electronic).

Mask Use

  • Masks are optional for all conference and meeting participants at LOW or MEDIUM Community Levels.  Persons at high risk for severe illness should consult with their primary care physician regarding mask use. If wearing a mask, CDC recommends properly wearing a well-fitting mask or face covering over the nose and mouth. 
    • Please respect others’ decisions to wear or not wear a mask during LOW or MEDIUM Community Levels.
  • For HIGH Community Levels, all conference and meeting participants, regardless of COVID vaccination status, are required to wear a face covering or mask. They are required when indoors in common areas, in shared spaces when others are present, and when unable to maintain social distancing outdoors. When wearing a mask, CDC recommends properly wearing a well-fitting mask or face covering over the nose and mouth. 
  • However, masks are required for those who are recovering from COVID, who tested positive for COVID or following close contact with someone who has COVID. 

Please note:

  • When face coverings or masks are required, NIST recommends the use of a 3-ply mask or on a voluntary basis use of a KN95 or N95 mask for optimum protection.
  • NIST does not permit use of face coverings or masks (including respirators) that have exhalation valves as these defeat the purpose by allowing unfiltered air to be released. 
  • Gaiters are acceptable provided they have two or more layers of material.

Social Distancing

NIST's Office of Safety, Health and Environmental (OSHE) office recommends all participants social distance to the extent feasible at LOW or MEDIUM Community Levels. 

At HIGH Community Levels, social distancing is required to the maximum extent practical. 

Please respect others’ decisions to distance while interacting with them.

frequently asked questions (FAQs)


What if I have been in close contact with someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 or is experiencing COVID-like symptoms?

If you are NOT up-to-date with the recommended COVID-19 vaccines, you must NOT attend the conference/meeting.  It is recommended you quarantine and consult with your health care provider.

If you are up-to-date with the recommended COVID-19 vaccines, you MAY attend the conference/meeting BUT are required to wear a better performing mask (e.g., 3-ply mask surgical mask or KN95 or N95 mask) and refrain from close contact with others at the conference/meeting (being within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes).

What if I test positive for COVID-19 or begin to exhibit COVID-like symptoms?

If you begin to exhibit COVID-like symptoms or test positive for COVID, you must NOT attend the conference/meeting.  It is recommended you quarantine/isolate and consult your health care provider.  Please notify the NIST Conference and Meeting Sponsor if you were at the conference/meeting in the 48 hours prior to experiencing COVID-like symptoms or testing positive for COVID.

Who is responsible for the costs associated with COVID-19 isolation?

We are aware that the COVID-19 variants may affect travel to the event. You will be responsible for travel and/or lodging costs associated with isolation. You are encouraged to have up-to-date travel insurance in place for such an eventuality, as regulations may change at any point.

What are my responsibilities if I receive a courtesy email regarding someone who attended the conference/meeting and tested positive for COVID-19?  

Check with your employer for guidelines and/or visit the CDC website page for guidelines and information regarding quarantine/isolation calculator.

Created June 28, 2022, Updated August 23, 2022