Frequently Asked Questions

Updated November 29, 2021


SBM is committed to hosting a safe and engaging 2022 Annual Meeting. Attendance at any event now comes with some risk of contracting COVID-19, and everyone has different comfort levels and personal situations. This FAQ will help you understand which COVID-19 protocols will be in place at SBM’s meeting and why, so you know exactly what to expect.

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Will SBM require attendees to be vaccinated against COVID-19?

Yes. All attendees and adult guests are required to be fully vaccinated or to have an approved vaccination exemption under applicable law. Registered attendees will receive details closer to the meeting about how to provide proof of vaccination or exemption. Attendees still have time to get vaccinated and to consult with their medical professional. SBM has updated our meeting’s vaccination protocols based on scientific evidence about vaccine safety and efficacy, as well as a July SBM survey that showed 97% of likely Annual Meeting attendees were fully vaccinated. We will continue to survey attendees about vaccination; please look for the survey link at the end of our Annual Meeting registration form. SBM’s meeting remains family-friendly: Any minors attending the meeting are encouraged to be vaccinated if eligible.


Attendees will be vaccinated, but what about others I may interact with in Baltimore?

70% of Baltimore residents age 12 and older have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose. For the latest data on Baltimore’s rates of vaccination, cases, test positivity, and deaths, please check out the city’s user-friendly dashboard. Details are also available from the CDC.


Will SBM require COVID-19 vaccine boosters?

Not at this time. Boosters are highly recommended but not currently required for SBM’s Annual Meeting. SBM leaders will re-evaluate this decision as the Annual Meeting approaches and as more individuals become eligible for boosters.


Will SBM require a negative COVID-19 test from meeting attendees?

Not at this time. SBM leaders will re-evaluate this as the Annual Meeting approaches.


Will there be daily temperature or symptom checks for attendees?

Not at this time. All attendees will be strongly encouraged to monitor themselves for any COVID-19 symptoms and to immediately isolate and notify SBM staff if they develop symptoms.


Will rapid testing be available at the meeting?

Not at this time. The city of Baltimore has a list of nearby locations for obtaining COVID-19 testing if needed. SBM also encourages use of the NIH’s online When To Test Calculator


What if I am no longer comfortable attending the Annual Meeting in person after I register? What if I test positive for COVID-19 or develop symptoms and cannot attend?

We have suspended the Cancellation Policy for the 2022 Annual Meeting. We will refund your full registration fee if you no longer feel comfortable attending the Annual Meeting or if you become ill. Please notify staff about cancellations as soon as possible by emailing All refunds will be processed after the Annual Meeting. SBM also encourages all attendees to book refundable or changeable travel if possible.


What will happen if an attendee tests positive for COVID-19 during or immediately after the meeting?

All attendees are strongly encouraged to immediately report to SBM staff if they have tested positive for COVID-19. SBM will keep the individual’s personal information confidential, but, in order to prevent additional spread of COVID-19, will share that “an attendee” has tested positive. The person will be asked to isolate immediately. SBM will notify all other attendees about a positive case. Additional communication will be sent to anyone identified as a close contact.


Will SBM require meeting attendees to wear masks?

SBM will follow local health agency recommendations in place at the time of the meeting. Currently, the city of Baltimore does have a mask mandate in place for indoor events, regardless of a person’s vaccination status. A mask with your favorite sports team’s slogan or alma mater’s logo is a great conversation starter when networking. Disposable masks will be available at registration.


Will hand sanitizer be available at the meeting?

Yes. Hand sanitizer stations will be accessible throughout the meeting space. SBM will also provide individual bottles of hand sanitizer to meeting attendees. The Hilton Baltimore Inner Harbor conference hotel has additional enhanced cleaning protocols as a preventative measure.


Will the meeting practice social distancing?

No, but SBM will provide color-coded lanyards to help attendees clearly show their interaction and distance comfort levels (Green = I’m OK with hugs and high fives, Yellow = I’m OK with talking but not touching, Red = Hello! I am keeping my distance). If distancing were to be required by local health agencies, SBM would cancel the in-person meeting and convert content to a virtual meeting in order to ensure equity of access to content, rather than limit content only to the small number of individuals allowed under distancing protocols.


What is SBM doing to mitigate a high volume of people in the Poster/Exhibit Hall?

The meeting will feature six poster sessions instead of the traditional four poster sessions. This will allow for 30% fewer posters to be presented in each poster session. Presenters will be encouraged to hang posters early so that attendees can view them outside of poster session hours.


Will I be penalized if I submit an abstract and later withdraw my submission due to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic?

No. We have suspended the Withdrawn Abstracts Policy for the 2022 Annual Meeting. We want submitters to feel comfortable submitting their science. If a submission is withdrawn, we welcome you to re-submit for the 2023 meeting.


Is there a virtual or hybrid option for the Annual Meeting?

There will be a limited number of telepresence robots available for attendees who cannot attend the meeting in person. Telepresence robot registrations will be available in half-day increments, on a first-come, first-served basis. Telepresence robot attendees will be able to navigate the in-person meeting via an iPad robot. SBM will not offer a hybrid meeting because you—our members and attendees—have told us in many surveys that you prefer in-person events.


What will happen if SBM cannot safely hold an in-person meeting?

The meeting will be held virtually. SBM’s Program Committee has developed a contingency plan for converting meeting content to a combination of digital posters, pre-recorded videos, and live webinars (with recordings available on-demand afterward). The majority of content will be made free to view (all content will be free for members, and non-members will pay a small registration fee for select webinars). Attendees will be refunded their full in-person registration fees.


SBM “is monitoring” the pandemic and meeting plans. What does that mean?

SBM leadership has created an Annual Meeting COVID-19 dashboard of relevant statistics and information, such as vaccination rates and executive orders. SBM’s Executive Committee and Program Committee are reviewing this dashboard regularly to determine if Annual Meeting COVID-19 protocols need to be changed. The SBM Board and Executive Committee continue to make decisions based on scientific evidence, health and safety, and inclusion and equity.


The pandemic is ongoing and public health guidance is evolving rapidly. SBM will be monitoring events closely and will adjust our meeting plans as needed to ensure the safety of all attendees. We hope to see you for our society’s long-awaited reunion in Baltimore!