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Why we’re still gathering in person in cincy

Dear APPE Colleagues,

As we continue living in interesting times, we as the Board, wanted to talk with you about a challenge APPE, along with other organizations like us, is facing. As you might have guessed, we are working hard to balance the needs to meet in person in Cincinnati with the needs of our members making thoughtful choices about whether they can join us. We want to take the opportunity to sketch out our thinking so that you can better understand why we are moving forward with an in-person conference this year, along with a limited virtual conference.

Firstly, many of our colleagues have asked for an in-person conference, and registrations for this option are far outpacing requests for the scheduled virtual sessions. Members tell us that they miss seeing their friends and other interesting attendees, learning from new, interdisciplinary conversations on improving their research, teaching, and professional engagements, and having those personal interactions that are among the greatest value APPE offers to our attendees. In fact, those values have been among the organization’s strengths that have helped us survive past challenges, as well as grow to our record 236 proposals for this year’s conference and an outstanding number of teams for the APPE Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl.

Secondly, unfortunately, is our financial reality. APPE has to commit contractually to a hotel venue several years in advance of an event. We were able to shift our arrangements with the hotel from 2021 to 2022, but cannot do so again. We are contracted to provide $110,000 to the hotel from room reservations and food and beverages from our attendees, which we, generally, have no problem doing. But these are interesting times. If we fall short, then APPE is contractually obligated to cover any deficit. APPE has reserve funds, but nothing close to our overall commitment amount, we regret to say. 

Those are significant considerations, but so too are those of our colleagues who are weighing whether they will be able to attend the 2022 APPE meeting in person. Some are facing financial constraints because their institution or state will not reimburse travel to Ohio. Others are concerned with the health risks posed by travel and in-person conferences. We appreciate those concerns, which is one of the many reasons why we will take safety precautions seriously (see below for more details). Whatever your reason for not attending, we respect your choice. 

The Board will continue to do everything it can to ensure that APPE continues to be the success it has been for the last 31 years. If you are willing and able to travel to Cincinnati and book a hotel room at our conference hotel, then we would love to see you there. If you decide against travel this year, for whatever reason, then please seriously consider registering for the virtual option and donating to APPE to help us offset the costs we already committed to through our conference hotel contract.

Thank you for your continued support and interest in APPE’s mission. We look forward to interacting with you in Cincinnati or online, and in the year ahead.

-APPE Board of Directors

Covid-19 Mitigation Requirements for In-Person Conference Attendance:

APPE places the highest priority on the safety of all conference participants, the communities we will visit, and the communities in which our participants live. As a group that encourages people to be ethically-minded and thoughtful, it is a basic expectation of the APPE Annual International Conference that participants act in APPE’s standard considerate, respectful manner during all events and this includes showing a regard for the safety of one’s fellow participants. Please carefully read through our requirements for in person conference attendance: 

  • Attendees will need to show proof of vaccination status (including a booster, if eligible) by the time of the conference unless advised otherwise by their physician. Those unable to be vaccinated must test negative for coronavirus within 48 hours prior to their arrival at the conference. Further instructions on how to comply with this requirement will be provided soon. Although it is not required, we encourage pre-conference testing for fully vaccinated participants, as well.
  • APPE will require that conference participants comply with all CDC Covid-19 safety protocols in place at the time our conference is held. We expect physical distancing, whenever possible, and mask wearing, even if vaccinated. 
  • Hotel employees will be masked in APPE meeting areas for the duration of the conference.
  • We will provide a list of local locations to perform testing prior to and following the conference.
  • If a participant receives a close contact alert or begins to experience symptoms, we expect them to follow CDC guidelines.
  • If a participant receives a positive test result, we expect them to begin isolating immediately. 
  • If a participant is unable or unwilling to comply with Covid-19 prevention protocols, we encourage them to attend virtually.