2021 Virtual Annual Water Resources Conference: COVID-19 Protocols

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We are excited to announce that AWRA will hold its 2021 Annual Water Resources Conference as planned this November, virtually. This decision was made due to the ongoing cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant and AWRA Board of Directors’ commitment to keep AWRA attendees, members, and staff safe.

This was not an easy decision. The AWRA Board and the Florida Planning Committee worked together to assess the pros and cons of pivoting to a virtual meeting -- taking into account health experts' projections, state and federal guidelines, news reports, the myriad travel restrictions still facing many water resources professionals, and a poll of the 2021 confirmed annual conference presenters. Given our number one priority is the health and safety of all AWRA conference attendees, our staff, and the surrounding community, we have decided to play it safe and go virtual again for 2021. However, we will continue to plan for future in-person conferences and adjust our sails as needed.

To date, AWRA has hosted five successful national virtual conferences, and the 2021 Annual Conference will highlight our usual high-energy offerings for the excellent exchange of cutting-edge technical information and Community, Conversation, and Connections. We aim to continue our nearly 60-year track record of bringing you outstanding opportunities for learning, sharing your knowledge, and experiencing the professional development benefits you've come to know and expect.

In the meantime, please be patient as we update our website, registration, instructions, and communications. Before emailing AWRA, please check back later in the week for updates to the conference website.

COVID-19 Health and Safety Standards at the 2021 Annual Water Resources Conferences

UPDATED: August 5, 2021

At the AWRA 2021 Annual Water Resources Conference, the health and safety of our attendees is a top priority to the AWRA Board of Directors and staff, the 2021 Annual Conference Planning Committee, and the hotel host team at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Orlando - Lake Buena Vista South. Phase Three (3) of the Plan for Florida’s Recovery took effect September 25, 2020, for all Florida counties. This document will be updated if changes occur.

AWRA is closely monitoring the COVID-19 Delta variant in Florida and will update this page should any changes occur to the conference, in general, or the conference COVID-19 protocols. We recognize that this is a fluid situation and ask that you check this page often for updates. As of now, we do plan on holding this conference in-person.

Although Florida is under Phase Three (3), our host hotel follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and standards; therefore, their health and safety standards are more rigorous and strict. As we move closer to the Annual Conference, the hotel will update us if any of their restrictions change. Please note that AWRA reserves the right to mandate COVID-19 related restrictions during the Annual Conference meeting space, such as wearing a mask and social distancing.

Below are the host hotel's current precautions and restrictions policies, Embassy Suites by Hilton Orlando - Lake Buena Vista South.

The health and safety of our guests and associates has been our top priority throughout the pandemic. Based on the CDC’s updated guidance, we are requiring face coverings for all associates working indoors regardless of vaccination status and we strongly recommend face coverings for all guests in public areas of the hotel regardless of their vaccination status. AWRA reserves the right to establish their own policies in the meeting space of the hotel during the event. The hotel will continue to monitor guidance from the CDC, AHLA, and Governmental officials closely. The hotel reserves the right to change or amend this statement at any time if further guidance is received from the CDC, AHLA, or any Governmental Entity that has jurisdiction over the hotel. 

The Hotel strongly recommends face masks in public areas of the hotel regardless of vaccination status.

Meeting Space:
  • Provide touchless sanitizer stations in the convention space foyer.
  • Sanitize all meeting room door handles.
  • Sanitize thermostats.
  • Sanitize the upper part of the meeting chair frames.
  • Sanitize light controls.
  • Sanitize podiums.
  • Set all rooms with reasonable social distancing parameters.
  • Sanitizing occurs at the very beginning of each day and continues all day in between sessions.
  • There are no water stations, pens, and pads at this time.
Plated & Buffet Service Standards:
  • Dishware, glassware, flatware & utensils sanitized in a commercial dishwasher.
  • Hand Sanitizer will be provided in Pre-Function Areas.
  • Use of rolled up silverware instead so that it is not exposed on the table before meal service.
  • Butter service will consist of individually wrapped butter portions.
  • Individually wrapped rolls.
  • Individual salad dressing packets.
  • Use of sanitized stainless plate covering on all plated food before service (hot & cold).
  • Use of paper lids on all pre-set glasses of water and/or iced tea.
  • Buffet service is still served double-sided, with face coverings required for all guests as they go through the line. Guests are required to sanitize their hands (sanitizer stands provided), wear gloves (gloves provided), then proceed through the buffet line.
  • Seating is six (6) per table instead of the traditional 10 per table.
Once a meal is served, guests can sit at their table and take off their masks to eat.

Team Member Consideration Checklist:
  • Team Members conduct daily wellness screenings before entering the hotel. These include temperature checks.
  • Team Members must wear face coverings, except where superseded medical or local law.
  • Servers must use face coverings and wear gloves during meal service.
  • Team Members must wash their hands regularly and frequently.
  • Hand sanitizer is available for Team Members.


Register for Conference

Before registering, click here to read the COVID-19 Liability Waiver and Affirmation of Conduct Restrictions.

All conference participants (presenters, moderators, panelists, etc.) must register at the appropriate registration rate. AWRA Gateway members are not eligible for discounted conference rates. The registration fees are the major source of funding for the Conference, and the sharing of registrations is prohibited - every person attending the conference must register. For presenters, if two or more individuals will be presenting, each individual must register for the conference. This includes: all technical session presenters; all panel session presenters; and all poster session presenters.

Speaker Registration Forgiveness Application. AWRA staff and the conference planning committee know that certain presenters may need registration forgiveness to participate in an AWRA event. The 2021 Annual Water Resources Conference Planning Committee has a limited number of registrations they can offer and have the right to accept or deny a forgiveness request. Requests must be submitted by June 21, 2021. Click here for application details.

Cancelations must be made in writing. Refunds are not allowed for Super Saver Rates. We can transfer your registration to someone else by October 12, 2021. Those cancelations received by October 12, 2021 will be subject to a processing fee of 25% of total fees. No refunds will be given after October 12, 2021 - no exceptions! Abstract submission fees are nonrefundable. Refunds will be processed after the conclusion of the conference.



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