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Pandemic Convention Policy

Masking and other requirements

Policy Statement

The Broad Universe Motherboard is committed to helping mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic during Broad Universe-sponsored activities at in-person conventions. Broad Universe and fandom is a community and we all have a duty to protect each other and to protect our friends, families, and peers. While the Motherboard can't protect Broads from every danger at conventions caused by this virus, we can do our best to mitigate infectious conditions that are lessened by effective vaccination programs. 

We encourage Broads to make decisions about attending conventions in-person and to prioritize the health of themselves, friends and family (whether found or by blood) in consultation with a physician. 

The Broad Universe Motherboard supports a return to normal in-person convention activities providing volunteers at Broad Universe-sponsored activities take actions to protect themselves and others. 

The Broad Universe Motherboard acknowledges that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact Broads’ ability to market their work and make professional connections at conventions. 

The Pandemic Convention Policy is intended to comply with all applicable laws and based on guidance provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for face coverings, which prevent the spread of the COVID-19 and other viruses, as well as helping mitigate health risks to Broads and the people they interact with at in-person conventions. 

The Motherboard wishes that this policy was unnecessary, but the safety of Broads, our volunteers, convention volunteers and hotel staff, as well as the safety of our loved ones, is our responsibility.  Thank you for understanding why we have felt compelled to make these difficult decisions, and thank you for doing your part to keep our community and those around us safe.

Application:

Volunteers who officially represent Broad Universe at in-person conventions MUST follow the requirements of the convention regarding vaccines and wearing masks AND they MUST follow most-stringent of current pandemic guidelines, whether they are set by the local, state or federal agencies over health, regardless of the volunteer’s vaccine status. Examples of health agencies include the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the state or county health department or health district. (In other words, if the CDC requires masking, wear a mask even if the convention, city or state doesn’t recommend or require masking.) 

If masking regulations aren’t in effect at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention level for vaccinated people, the Motherboard encourages the correct wearing of masks during times that the volunteers are representing the Broad Universe, regardless of the volunteer’s vaccine status, and regardless of whether mask-wearing has been made optional under state and local law. 

This policy shall remain in force until an announcement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the pandemic is under control AND states/provinces and localities make official declarations concerning mask-wearing policies within their respective jurisdictions.  

Officially representing Broad Universe at conventions includes but is not limited to managing or participating in the following:

  • Fan and or Dealers’ Room Tables

  • Rapid Fire Readings, (even when reading or acting as the mistress of ceremonies because the reading itself represents Broad Universe), and/or 

  • Representing the organization in another way to the convention that requires gathering in a group and being unable to keep a safe social distance or in rooms with poor ventilation. 

Broad Universe Socials are paused: The Motherboard will not sponsor in-person Broad Universe Socials with funds or use of the Broad Universe name until the CDC and/or WHO announce the pandemic is controlled. The nature of gathering in small, poorly ventilated hotel rooms to eat and drink increases the risk of infection or vaccinated people becoming unknowing carriers of the COVID-19 virus or its variants. If possible and a notification at least 6 weeks in advance, the Motherboard can help facilitate an online social by providing a Zoom room.  

The Motherboard also recommends downloading and using any COVID-19 exposure apps available in where the convention is taking place. 

Exposure to COVID-19:

Broads acting in an official volunteer capacity at a convention -- such as participating or organizing a sales or fan table or Rapid Fire Reading -- who have been exposed to at or before the convention or tested positive for COVID-19 within 2 weeks following the convention MUST notify the convention AND Motherboard in a timely fashion or at least within seven (7) days of learning of the exposure or infection. 

The Motherboard will maintain confidentiality of the Broad reporting exposure or a positive test and will notify other Broads who the exposed Broad was in contact with during the convention. 

The Motherboard understands that COVID-19 symptoms can be severe, result in hospitalization and impair a person’s ability to function, and understands that these circumstances can make it impossible to notify the convention or Broad Universe. However, in all other instances, Broads exposed to or ill with COVID-19 must communicate with the Motherboard or the convention. The Motherboard can be reached at officers@broaduniverse.org.

The Motherboard would then notify Broads who attended the convention. This notification is not the same as contact tracing. 

Definitions


Health departments or agencies: The local, state and federal departments, districts and agencies that are tasked with monitoring and managing the pandemic. Examples include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a county or city health department or district, a state health department. Be mindful that some regions within a state may have stricter requirements than the state does or some regions may have more permissive attitudes than the CDC. Always follow the strictest recommendations. 


Masks: A covering for the nose and mouth, such as a surgical, N95, or reusable cloth mask made of woven materials. Please see CDC guidelines on effective types of facial coverings and how to optimize fit. Ideally the masks have either a nose wire or are tailored to prevent air from leaking from the top of the mask. (See Your Guide to Masks: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/about-face-coverings.html.

Pandemic: Event in which a disease spreads across several countries and affects a large number of people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (See https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/science/about-epidemiology/identifying-source-outbreak.html.)

Representing Broad Universe: Broads who are volunteer on tables, who read, organize, and/or emcee Rapid Fire Readings

Vaccines: At this time, there are three types of vaccines that have been approved in the United States to help prevent the illness associated with the COVID-19 virus and people who have chosen to be vaccinated are fully vaccinated 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series or 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine. While these vaccines protect against becoming sick with COVID-19, the vaccines do not prevent the spread of the virus. A vaccinated person can spread the virus, especially the highly contagious variants, according to the CDC. Vaccines and booster shots combined with wearing masks correctly are the best way to prevent becoming ill with COVID-19, according to the CDC (See https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated.html and https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/your-vaccination.html

Responsibilities and Expectations:

Broad Universe is a non-profit, volunteer organization that is composed of unpaid staff and layperson volunteers. Nothing within this policy should be construed as giving an affected person a right or legal cause of action against Broad Universe for any harm. The Broad Universe Motherboard’s adaption of this policy is to help mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus at conventions as guided by this Policy and Broad Universe’s By-Laws, which can be found online at: http://broaduniverse.org/broad-universe-by-laws/

Broad Universe Motherboard is responsible for but not limited to:

  • Supporting table managers and RFR organizers with enforcing this policy by providing talking points and direct intervention with non-compliant Broads participating in tables or RFRs. 

  • Providing alcohol or other wipes to clean the iPad used at Dealers’ Room tables between uses.

  • Encouraging wearing of masks during the pandemic regardless of the volunteers vaccine status. 

  • Contacting any Broads who have been in contact with another Broad who reported exposure or a positive COVID-19 test or an illness with similar symptoms. 

  • Support of reasonable lowering of masks for short periods of time for special circumstances. For example, if a convention requires vaccines and a table customer is deaf or hard of hearing and reads lips, it is acceptable for the volunteer to lower their mask to facilitate communication. However, using Microsoft Translate and Google Translate apps is preferable to exposure. Lowering masks should only happen in the rarest of instances and follow the venue/convention guidelines. 

  • Taking appropriate action in cases if masking requirements are not followed by Broads. 

Broad Universe Event Organizers are responsible for but not limited to:

  • Reminding other volunteers about the masking requirements prior to the event.

  • Ensuring that all volunteers have agreed to the requirement, (which will be part of the registration process for the event.) 

  • Tell volunteers who show up without masks to obtain a mask or leave the event.  

  • Limiting the number of Broads working the table to two at a time.

  • Turning the table schedule and any changes into the Treasurer with other paperwork to be used if contact tracing among Broads is required. 

  • Informing the Motherboard about issues with compliance.

  • In the case of table managers, managers are responsible for communicating to participating Broads that if there are not enough Broads who wear masks at the table, Broad Universe will be unable to support a Dealers’ Room table. 

Broad Universe event volunteers are responsible for but not limited to:

  • Following the most-stringent guidelines and/or regulations aimed at preventing the spread of the virus, whether the guidelines and/or regulations are issued by the convention organizers, convention facility management or local, state or federal government agencies. 

  • Following convention requirements.

  • Following the directions of the event organizer. 

  • Manage the queue at Broad Universe-sponsored fan and sales tables by encouraging customers and interested parties to keep a social distance.

  • As appropriate, cleaning iPad and other appropriate surfaces between uses.

  • Reporting exposure to the Motherboard and to convention organizers. Exposure could include receiving a positive COVID-19 test or experiencing any symptoms similar to the illness caused by COVID-19, and/or exposure to a person with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

  • Correctly wearing masks (over noses and mouths) as required by current pandemic guidelines under local, state or federal health agencies and/or convention organizers or convention facility managers and following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. CDC mask guidelines are at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/about-face-coverings.html

Privacy and Confidentiality:

The identity of a Broad who contracts COVID-19 or is exposed to COVID-19 and who in turn potentially exposes other Broad Universe volunteers to the virus will be kept confidential, as much as possible. The Motherboard will contact the Broads who may have been exposed. There may be instances, such as a roomshare situation, where the identity may need to be shared. 

Complaints:     

Complaints about Broad Universe volunteers or event organizers, including table managers, Rapid Fire Reading organizers and participants of either who are not following the Broad Universe Pandemic Convention Policy or who encourage and/or permit others to violate this policy may be directed to the Broad Universe Motherboard. 

Complaints must include dates, locations and names and if possible witnesses, and can be sent to any of the Motherboard members who will bring the complaint to the attention of the entire Motherboard for investigation. 

The Motherboard will investigate by communicating with all involved parties and take appropriate action, notifying the person who filed the complaint within 60 days. 

Action could range from determining the complaint is unfounded to issuing a warning to restricting participation in Broad Universe-sponsored activities for a set period of time. Repeated violations or a single extreme violation could result in separation from the Broad Universe organization without a refund of dues. 

Limitation of Legal Liability: 

Broad Universe is a non-profit, volunteer-run organization who has adopted this Pandemic Convention Policy to set a standard for its supporters to follow. However, Broad Universe's adoption of this policy does not grant any supporter or non-supporter a legal cause of action against Broad Universe or any supporter beyond that which may already exist under current state or federal law.

Applicable Law & Forum

Broad Universe is incorporated as a non-profit organization under the laws of Wisconsin. Any ambiguity not heretofore spelled out shall be resolved using a choice of Wisconsin law. Should any person wish to initiate a cause of action based on this Policy, the legal forum shall likewise be designated in Wisconsin.

Review

Broad Universe Motherboard will review this policy on an annual basis, or as required, and will make necessary adjustments to ensure that it meets the needs of all employees and volunteers.

Accepted

Accepted by the Broad Universe Motherboard October 24, 2021

Talking points:

When the public asks:

  • We’re wearing masks because we are thinking of everyone’s health and that includes people who are immunocompromised or who can’t be or are too young to be vaccinated. 

  • We’re wearing masks because the Broad Universe Motherboard is doing what we can to help end the pandemic.

  • We’re wearing masks because even vaccinated people can spread the highly contagious  variants and many of us have loved ones who are too young to be vaccinated or are immunocompromised. 

  • I’m wearing a mask because I have young children at home and want to be very careful of their health.

    • I’m wearing a mask because I work with children too young to be vaccinated and it’s important for me to be careful. 

Broad-to-Broad:

  • Your mask has slipped off your nose. Could you fix that? 

  • Did you forget your mask? The Motherboard provided disposable masks and you can have one. We have a limited supply; so I really need you to bring a mask for your next time slot on the table. 

Table managers and RFR organizers to Broads:

  • I need everyone to wear their masks during the reading. That’s because this room is too small for social distancing and has poor ventilation.

  • Only the reader will be permitted to unmask, if they choose. We’d like to thank the convention for providing a room that permits social distancing and offers great ventilation. 

  • We need at least [NUMBER] Broads who are willing to wear masks to ensure this table can operate correctly. Will you commit or not? 

  • I’m sorry you don’t want to wear a mask (or follow the convention guidelines.) We won’t be able to place your books on the table until you correctly wear a mask.

  • [DEALING WITH PLASTIC FACE SHIELDS, PLASTIC MASKS, OR BANDANAS] Unfortunately, [XXX] doesn’t meet the CDC guidelines. I’ve got a disposable mask you can use. We have a limited supply so I really need you to bring a mask for your next time slot on the table. 

  • I understand that you don’t believe in COVID-19; however, the Motherboard wants all Broads volunteering at Broad Universe convention activities to follow the most-current science and guidelines. 

  • I’m sorry you are struggling with [ISSUE PREVENTING WEARING OF A MASK.] It sounds very frustrating. When you volunteered to participate in the table and the RFR, you checked YES that you would follow the most-restrictive guidelines, which is wearing a mask correctly. 

  • Yes, wearing a mask can be very annoying when your glasses fog up. There are a number of different hacks you can try to prevent that problem. Here’s a couple:



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