COVID-19 FAQ

Sigma Tau Delta is committed to keeping its members as safe from the spread of COVID-19 as possible. Absent any COVID-19 protocol updates from the Atlanta-based CDC, masks will be required for all convention participants during all sessions, all events, and in all common areas regardless of vaccination status. Masks and hand sanitizer will be available in designated areas throughout the hotel and convention center, and seating in all events will be adjusted to allow for social distancing. Further safety measures may be implemented based upon the status of the pandemic in Atlanta in March.

The Sigma Tau Delta Central Office in conjunction with the Board of Directors have created a COVID-19 FAQ that will be revised and updated as the situation evolves over the coming months. If you have questions or concerns that are not addressed by the FAQ, please send those to englishconvention@niu.edu.

These questions and answers are current as of 1/12/22. Please check back for potential updates.

What if I’m registered and can’t attend?

1. Can I present virtually?

Unfortunately, no. If you are scheduled to present and are unable to attend, please email englishconvention@niu.edu as soon as possible.

2. What is the refund policy if I cancel my registration?

If I submit proof of positive COVID-19 test?

    • You will receive a refund less a $20 processing fee for a positive test dated 10 or fewer days prior to the start of the Convention.
    • Please email a copy of your positive COVID-19 test to englishconvention@niu.edu.

If I’ve been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19?

    • You will receive a refund less a $20 processing fee.
    • Please email verification of your close contact to englishconvention@niu.edu.

If my school imposes travel restrictions?

    • You will receive a refund less a $20 processing fee.
    • Please email verification of your school’s travel restrictions to englishconvention@niu.edu.

If my school pulls their financial support?

    • You will receive a refund less a $20 processing fee.
    • Please email a copy of the university’s policy to englishconvention@niu.edu.

If I’m canceling by choice (I don’t feel safe, etc.)?

    • You will receive a refund less the following processing fee, to be determined based on date of cancellation:
        • Through February 1: $20
        • February  2 – March 29: $40
        • After March 29: No Refund

3. What is the hotel’s policy on room cancellation?

Rooms can be canceled without penalty up to 72 hours before arrival. For further information, please visit the hotel’s website.

4. What happens if someone orders a convention shirt(s) and then has to cancel their registration?

The shirt will be mailed to the address provided in your registration. Your registration refund will be reduced by $4 to partially cover the mailing fees.

What if the Convention is forced to cancel?

1. When will a determination be made about the Convention going forward?

The convention will be held in person barring federal, state, or local restrictions.

2. Will there be a virtual convention if we can’t meet face-to-face?

There will not be a virtual convention.

3. What is the refund policy?

You will receive a refund less a $20 processing fee.

4. What is the hotel’s policy on room cancellation?

Rooms can be canceled without penalty up to 72 hours before arrival. For further information, please visit the hotel’s website.

5. What happens if someone orders a convention shirt(s) and the convention is canceled?

The shirt will be mailed to the address provided in your registration. Your registration refund will be reduced by $4 to partially cover the mailing fees.

Testing positive during the Convention

1. What if someone tests positive for COVID-19 during the Convention?

They would quarantine in their room and would have the ability to order food from the hotel or a delivery service. The hotel would make sure the food makes it to their door. Clean linens, etc. will be provided to their door. Registration will not be reimbursed for any participants after they are in attendance.

2. What if someone you know tests positive for COVID-19 during the Convention and doesn’t want to tell anyone?

Contact their Faculty Advisor. In the event that is not possible, please email englishconvention@niu.edu, providing as much information as you know about the student’s name, school, how you know they’re positive. Your email will be kept confidential.

3. What is the hotel’s policy on room cancellation?

Rooms can be canceled without penalty up to 72 hours before arrival. For further information, please visit the hotel’s website.

4. What if someone gets very sick while there?

In the event someone gets very sick while at the convention, arrangements should be made with their Faculty Advisor. There are numerous high quality hospitals in the immediate vicinity. Please plan ahead by checking with your insurance to see which hospital might be in-network for your individual insurance plan. In the event the student does not have a Faculty Advisor present, please email englishconvention@niu.edu.

Safety Protocols

1. Am I required to be vaccinated prior to attending?

No, but you are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated and, where possible, “boosted” prior to attending.

2. Am I required to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test prior to attending?

No, but you are strongly encouraged to do so.

3. Are masks required?

By a mandate from the City of Atlanta, masks must be worn at all times while in indoor public places.

4. Am I required to have a specific type of mask to attend?

An N95 or KN95 is preferred. Here is an article explaining the difference between N95/KN95 and cloth masks.

5. Will there be extra masks on hand?

We will provide each participant with an N95 or KN95 mask during check in.

6. What types of safety protocols will be adhered to during the convention?

Visit the hotel’s website for up-to-date information on cleaning and safety protocols. Additionally, masks are required in all event spaces and social distancing will be adhered to during all official convention sessions and events.

7. Will there be COVID-19 tests on hand (at the gift shop)?

There are no tests at the gift shop.

8. Where is the closest COVID-19 testing site?

There is a Walgreens and a CVS within a couple blocks of the hotel. The hotel will provide a list of nearby sites as we get closer to the date of the convention.

9. Can I be paired with a vaccinated roommate?

Yes; we will work with you as we get closer to the date of the Convention.

10. What’s happening with COVID-19 in Atlanta?

Transportation

1. What if my flight is late or canceled due to COVID-19 complications?

  • Plan ahead with snacks, a charging cord/battery pack, etc.
  • If your flight is canceled, contact your airline or travel agent as soon as possible to see if you can be scheduled on a later flight.
  • If it will impact the day of your check in, contact the hotel to let them know.
  • If you are in the program and the delay/cancellation will cause you to miss your presentation time, please email englishconvention@niu.edu as soon as possible.

2. How do I get to the hotel?

Visit the Hotel page on our website for maps and transportation from the airport.

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