Frequently Asked Questions
Updated March 18, 2022
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 and have received a single booster (if eligible), or to have an approved vaccination exemption under applicable law. Registered attendees will receive an email about providing proof of vaccination or exemption for external verification by CrowdPass. When filling out the CrowdPass online form, if you need to enter an exemption, please upload your file to the “#4 Optional Proof” section. Attendees still have time to get vaccinated, get boosted, and consult with their medical professional.
SBM has updated our meeting’s vaccination protocols based on scientific evidence about vaccine safety and efficacy, data on booster efficacy against variants, and 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. International attendees with vaccine questions should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What does being fully vaccinated mean?
Fully vaccinated means a person received the 2-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccine series or the 1-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least 2 weeks prior to April 6, 2022.
Do I need the booster?
Adult attendees must have a single booster if they received their final Pfizer or Moderna dose more than 5 months before April 6, 2022, or their Johnson & Johnson dose more than 2 months before April 6, 2022.
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 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. These locations in particular are close to the conference hotel. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own test kits, and can obtain them free from the U.S. government. 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 email@example.com. All refunds will be processed after the Annual Meeting. SBM also encourages all attendees to book refundable or changeable travel if possible.
What if my institution has a travel ban that includes the meeting dates and prohibits me from presenting?
Please send details on the travel ban to firstname.lastname@example.org. We encourage you to find an alternate presenter from among your co-submitters if possible. SBM will also keep your abstract in the abstract supplement and mobile app, and you will have free access to app messaging as a way to engage with attendees interested in your science.
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 meeting attendees need to wear masks?
SBM strongly encourages attendees to mask up. The City of Baltimore indoor mask mandate expired March 1, but SBM will still be strongly encourage masking in our conference space and during travel to and from our event.
The latest scientific evidence shows “face masks significantly reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection compared to social distancing. We find a very low risk of infection when everyone wears a face mask, even if it doesn’t fit perfectly on the face.” Similarly, “the preponderance of evidence indicates that mask wearing reduces transmissibility per contact by reducing transmission of infected respiratory particles in both laboratory and clinical contexts. Public mask wearing is most effective at reducing spread of the virus when compliance is high.” Masks will protect residents of our host city, hotel staff, and attendees who may be immunocompromised, see at-risk patients, have at-risk loved ones, or have children too young to be vaccinated. Our masks show we respect the science and each other.
In line with this evidence and CDC guidance, SBM encourages the use of N95, KN95, or surgical masks. A limited number of masks will be available at registration for those who do not bring their own or who need a replacement. Check out these infographics on the best kinds of masks and how to wear a mask properly.
Presenters (with the exclusion of poster presenters) may consider removing masks when presenting. This will help presenters be heard, and allows for full participation from attendees with hearing impairments (who may rely on lip-reading) while we maintain as much attendee safety as possible.
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. Presenters are also encouraged to use a new poster design complete with QR code so viewers can stand farther away.
Will COVID-19 precautions be in place for the Stride for Science Run/Walk?
Yes. The run will have the same COVID-19 prevention protocols in place as the overall conference.
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?
Meeting content will still be available. SBM’s Program Committee has developed a contingency plan for converting the majority of meeting content to digital posters, digital 1-pagers, or live webinars (with recordings available on-demand afterward). All accepted abstracts will also be available via the Annals of Behavioral Medicine Abstract Supplement and meeting mobile app. Select live networking sessions will take place, with additional networking happening via the mobile app and social media. All meeting attendees will be refunded their full in-person registration fees. There will be free access to the digital posters, digital 1-pagers, mobile app, and abstract supplement, and members-only access to the webinars.
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!