239th meeting

Health & Safety Information Center

239
Salt Lake City, UT
239th meeting of the American Astronomical Society
Salt Lake City, UT
9 – 13 January 2022

#AAS239: COVID-19 Update

The AAS Board of Trustees voted in October 2021 to move forward with an in-person 239th AAS meeting considering all information, medical advice, and public health guidance available at the time. The appearance of the omicron variant of the coronavirus and its subsequent spread in the past few weeks has many in our community concerned about #AAS239, despite the requirement for vaccination, mandatory masking, and other safety measures.

AAS President Paula Szkody has therefore called a special meeting of the Board for no later than Monday, 27 December, and possibly as early as Wednesday, 22 December, to discuss the situation and consider what to do. Your input is welcome as the Board of Trustees undertake this discussion; please submit your comments to AAS239feedback@aas.org. At the current time, we anticipate that the virtual portion of the meeting may go forward.

In addition to listening to our community, the Board will also be gathering advice from medical and public health experts as well as other organizations who have recently met or will be meeting shortly after AAS 239. 

Any decisions made by the Board will be widely disseminated shortly after the special meeting concludes. Thank you for your patience and support.


This page has up-to-date information about our plans to protect the health and safety of our attendees, exhibitors, and on-site staff at the 239th AAS meeting in Salt Lake City. We plan to have an in-person conference but to provide some meeting content virtually as well.

Society leaders and staff are monitoring the ongoing pandemic as well as both national and local public health guidance for large gatherings. The AAS encourages everyone to stay informed about safety measures for travel and gatherings as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For current information on Salt Lake City, visit the Salt Lake City website.

The AAS has been unable to hold an in-person meeting since AAS 235 in January 2020 in Honolulu. We want our members to come together in January 2022 to share progress in the astronomical sciences, but our top priority is health and safety. This means we must have special protocols in place for AAS 239 to ensure everyone’s well-being. 

The Board of Trustees has decided to require full COVID-19 vaccination for all AAS 239 on-site attendees, staff, and support contractors without exception. Furthermore, we are working with the conference venue to ensure that local staff supporting our meeting will be uniformly masked.

Those who are not vaccinated and/or who opt not to travel are encouraged to register for the limited virtual meeting platform, which will enable remote participation — at a reduced registration rate — in key aspects of the conference such as plenary talks, iPosters, town halls, and press conferences.


Mask Requirement for All Conference Participants

Consistent with CDC guidance for large gatherings and local guidance from the Utah Department of Public Health, all participants in our upcoming conference will be required to wear a facemask while attending AAS 239. This includes staff, exhibitors, supporting contractors, and attendees. Guidance on mask selection and usage is available on the CDC website. The AAS Board of Trustees has approved this requirement to help limit the spread of the virus in its variant forms and as an additional way to limit the chance of conference attendees becoming infected. This step, in addition to our 100% vaccination requirement, should provide the highest level of safety possible for a large gathering.

Also, a designated eating area will be established in a separated portion of the well-ventilated exhibit hall that will provide for social distancing while eating. At the opening reception and any other receptions where food is available, it will be served in individual portions facilitating easy and quick access, which will limit exposure to others while getting food.

Attendees are strongly encouraged to bring their own masks (the AAS will have a supply of basic surgical masks on hand for use for attendees) and participants should consider bringing along one or more rapid COVID tests for their own use. In addition to providing information on where to get testing locally or where to purchase rapid tests, the AAS will have a limited supply of rapid tests available for any attendee who may be showing symptoms of infection by the coronavirus.

Exposure Notifications
One of the best tools to help slow the spread of COVID-19 is your phone. UT Exposure Notifications is a free and voluntary service developed to help users know of possible exposure to COVID-19.

This service is a partnership with Google and Apple. By opting in, your Android or iPhone will share anonymous information with other UT Exposure Notification users using your phone's Bluetooth.

Knowing about potential exposure allows you to self-quarantine immediately and reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 to your colleagues and others. Learn more

How to add notifications to your phone

On an Apple device

  • Go to settings
  • Select “Exposure Notifications”
  • Select “Turn on Exposure Notifications”
  • Select “United States”
  • Select “Utah”
  • Read and agree to terms of use

On an Android device

  • Visit the Google Play store
  • Download the UT Exposure Notifications app
  • Complete in app set up

Finding Testing Locations
This map shows locations where COVID-19 testing is available. Testing requirements and availability can vary by location. Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or if you’ve been exposed to COVID-19. View map

PLEASE NOTE: UPDATES ADDED DAILY

Housing

AAS selects a wide variety of hotels and negotiates the best possible rates at varying price points. All of our Salt Lake City hotels are walkable from the convention center; public transportation will also be available.

Visit www.rideuta.com or call (801) RIDE-UTA for the latest schedules and fares.

To reserve a room at any AAS hotels, the housing policies, and transportation/travel information, can be found here: https://aas.org/meetings/aas239/plan-your-trip

You do not need to be registered to reserve a hotel room.

Registration

How to Register

  • Registration must be completed online.
  • If registering for the in-person event, verify your vaccination first. We recommend that you do this the day before you register, as the verification process may take up to 12 hours during busy times. Most will receive their confirmation within a couple of hours. We do not have a cap on registration.

More information coming soon on how to verify your vaccination status.

  • For those unable to be vaccinated due to disability or sincerely-held religious belief, we encourage you to register for virtual participation. 

Registration Information

Please email reg-help@aas.org if you have any questions about registration.

 

Two Registration Options For 2021

The 239th meeting of the AAS (with the Historical Astronomy and High Energy Astrophysics Divisions) will be pairing an in-person meeting with limited virtual participation in select sessions. You have the choice of either attending the in-person meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah, or registering at a discounted rate to gain access just to the plenaries, select town halls, Slack.

Option 1: Register for the In-Person Event

The 239th meeting of the AAS (with the Historical Astronomy and High Energy Astrophysics Divisions) held at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, from 9-13 January, will be a traditional, though smaller, convention experience featuring in-person learning and a vibrant exhibit hall, plus access to the Virtual Library.

Some modifications and requirements will be in place to create a comfortable, safety-conscious environment for everyone. Proof of vaccination is required to register and masks will be encouraged for all participants onsite. Other safety measures may be implemented as needed, such as a cap on the number of people allowed in rooms, social distancing, onsite, etc. The situation is continuing to evolve, the AAS encourages everyone to stay informed about safety measures for travel and gatherings as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For current information on Salt Lake City, visit the Salt Lake City website.

Your in-person registration includes:

  • Attendance at your choice of Plenary talks, Oral scientific sessions, Town halls,  Splinters and Workshops
  • Admittance to the Exhibit Hall.
  • Attendance at the Opening and Closing Reception.
  • Access to the AAS 239 Slack Workspace, where you will find hundreds of channels discussing the robust science.

Option 2: Register for Virtual Participation

The 239th meeting of the AAS, will feature a limited virtual meeting platform, which will enable remote participation — at a reduced registration rate — in key aspects of the conference such as plenary talks, iPosters, town halls, and press conferences. 

Your virtual registration includes:

  • Live Plenary talks
  • Live Town Halls
  • Live Press Conferences
  • iPoster Gallery
  • Pre-recorded exhibitor webinars
  • Access to the AAS 239 Slack Workspace, where you will find hundreds of channels discussing the robust science.

Vaccination Verification Requirement

All participants at the in-person 239th meeting of the AAS (with the Historical Astronomy and High Energy Astrophysics Divisions) held at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah., whether a presenter, attendee, exhibitor, staff, guest, or vendor, will be required to be fully vaccinated.

You must provide proof of vaccination to register for the in-person event.

The AAS strongly recommends that everyone eligible for a booster vaccination get one prior to attending the conference. Immunity received from the initial vaccine dose declines over time. The CDC recommends that everyone 18 and older who has been vaccinated to receive a booster vaccination six months later. More information is available here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/booster-shot.html 

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