SIAM News Blog

SIAM Hybrid Conference Guidelines & Policies

Last updated April 27, 2022.

Recognizing that travel disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic are ongoing, and in order to make SIAM conferences accessible to all those who wish to attend, SIAM is offering all conferences from April through December of 2022 in hybrid format. This evolving Q&A document answers questions about what this means for participants and attendees at conferences. Check back here regularly as more information becomes available and don’t hesitate to reach out to us directly if you do not see your question answered here.

Please note that SIAM is requiring advance proof of vaccination against COVID-19 of all in-person attendees. See the question below for more details.

What does “hybrid format” mean?

SIAM uses the term “hybrid” to denote a conference that allows presenters and attendees to take part synchronously in talks, sessions, or other conference activities while either physically at the conference site or from a location away from the conference site via a web- or app-based virtual platform. 2022 will be the first year in which SIAM offers conferences in hybrid format.

Will all sessions be available to speakers and attendees, regardless of whether they’re participating in person or remotely?

Yes. All speakers will be given the option to present either in person or remotely through the virtual conference platform, and all registrants will be given the option to attend talks in person or through the virtual conference platform.

Will I need to choose in advance whether I wish to attend in person or remotely?

Yes. You will need to choose in advance whether to register for in-person attendance or for remote attendance. If you are presenting, SIAM staff will use your registration to determine whether you intend to present in person or remotely. If you register one way and decide later you need to switch your registration type, you’ll need to contact us directly. All in-person registrations must be done at least one week prior to the start of the conference.

What will my conference experience be like if I participate in person?

If you register for in-person attendance, you will attend invited talks, participate in sessions, network at receptions, bump into friends and colleagues in the coffee line, etc., just as you would at any in-person SIAM conference. The only differences will be that you will see more audiovisual staff and equipment in each room to accommodate the hybrid format, and that some speakers will be presenting to you virtually from a projector screen at the front of the room, rather than speaking from the podium in the room. You will still be able to ask speakers questions, either verbally or submitted via the conference app. Each session’s Q&A will be moderated by the session chair, who will also have the choice of participating in person or remotely. Virtual speakers and attendees will not be able to see in-person audience members but will be able to see each other. You will be able to message fellow in-person attendees through the app to meet up for coffee, or remote attendees to schedule a 1-on-1 video call.

What will my conference experience be like if I participate remotely?

While you won’t be able to bump into colleagues in the coffee line, you will be able to join all live sessions synchronously through the web- or app-based virtual platform. Speakers who are presenting in-person will have their slides, audio, and possibly, depending on the conference, their live image transmitted through the virtual platform. You will be able to ask questions either verbally or submitted via the virtual conference platform. You will be able to message any attendee, whether in-person or remote, via the web- or app-based platform to schedule a 1-on-1 video call. SIAM is working with conference co-chairs to add more opportunities for in-person and remote attendees to interact; consult each conference website for more information.

Will all sessions be recorded?

Yes.  All sessions will be recorded and the recordings will be made available to conference registrants on demand via the web- or app-based virtual platform for at least one month from the first day of the conference.

Are registration fees different for in-person and remote attendance?

Yes. In-person registration will cost slightly more than virtual registration to reflect additional food, drink, and catering costs. At the same time, virtual registration fees at hybrid conferences in 2022 will be higher than they were for SIAM’s fully virtual conferences in 2021 due to the significant audiovisual expense incurred in making hybrid conferences possible.

How were hybrid conference fees determined?

A hybrid conference involves much more expense than having an in-person conference plus a strictly virtual conference. The additional equipment and staffing to allow all in-person sessions to be connected to the virtual conference platform is the biggest expense, an expense we’ve never had before and that doesn’t exist for purely virtual conferences. When confronting this expense, we debated whether we could support a hybrid conference or whether we should go strictly in-person, as some other math conferences have decided to do. We ultimately decided it was important to make 2022 SIAM conferences open to all, including those in parts of the world where travel to the U.S. might not be possible. The registration fees determined simply cover direct costs and a portion of indirect costs. The in-person fees are a modest increase over previous in-person fees, slightly higher than inflation. Because we didn’t think it fair to have in-person participants bear the considerable cost of making the conference hybrid, and because virtual participants will have access to all content, the cost is reflected in the virtual fees, which are still lower than in-person fees.

What is SIAM doing to broaden participation in hybrid and virtual conferences?

Starting in January of 2022, SIAM is excited to offer an outreach member rate for virtual participation from qualifying countries. Any individual whose primary address is in this list of qualifying countries is eligible for SIAM’s outreach membership rate, which gives access to a substantially reduced virtual registration fee for hybrid conferences. Consult each conference website for more information.

Are student and early-career travel awards available for hybrid conferences?

Yes. Priority will be given to those traveling to attend the conference in person.

Are child care grants available for hybrid conferences?

Yes. Both in-person and virtual registrants are eligible to receive SIAM child care grants. More information is available under Lodging & Support on each conference website.

Is there a COVID-19 vaccine requirement in order to attend conferences in person?

Yes. All in-person attendees at SIAM’s 2022 hybrid conferences will be required to provide proof of vaccination and booster against COVID-19 using a primary vaccine and booster series approved either by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the World Health Organization. There are no exceptions to this requirement. Unvaccinated attendees are only allowed to register and attend virtually and will not be permitted onsite.

In-person registrants will be required to confirm during registration that they will be up to date before arriving at the conference site. Each in-person registrant will be contacted after registration with details on how to safely and privately upload their vaccination record for verification. If you have not uploaded your approved vaccination record, you will not be allowed to collect your conference credentials onsite and will be asked to return to your hotel room to participate remotely through the virtual conference platform.

SIAM has partnered with SafeAccess to allow in-person attendees to upload their required vaccination documentation in advance of their arrival at the conference venue. If you have registered in person, you will receive an email from asking you to upload your vaccination record for verification purposes. We recommend you “whitelist” the domain to avoid having this email caught in your spam filter. Click here for more details on how to upload your vaccination record.

Will I be able to register onsite?

No. In-person registration will close one week in advance of the start of the conference. After that date, only virtual registration will be possible. No exceptions will be made to this policy.

If I am already registered to attend in person or virtually, can I switch my registration to attend the other way?

If you are registered to attend in person and decide that you prefer to attend remotely, or vice versa, please email [email protected] to switch your registration. If you are switching from in-person registration to virtual, you will obtain a reimbursement for the difference in fee. If you are switching from virtual participation to in person, you will be charged the difference in registration fees. If the in-person registration deadline has already passed, you will not be able to attend the conference in person.

What is the deadline for uploading my proof of vaccination?

We recommend you upload your proof of vaccination as soon as you are contacted by the verification service after registering so that you will have time to check that your proof of vaccination has been accepted. If you arrive onsite and your proof of vaccination has not been uploaded and accepted, you will not be permitted to claim your conference credentials and will be asked to leave the conference site. If you are carrying your proof of vaccination with you, you will still need to photograph and upload the image and then wait for it to be verified before you will be allowed into the conference event space. Onsite conference staff will not be able to approve your proof of vaccination.

Are masks required for in-person attendees at SIAM conferences?

SIAM has aligned its masking policy with that of the CDC, which bases its recommendation on the community level of infection local to the event. Each county in the U.S. is identified as green (low level of infection), yellow (medium level of infection), or red (high level of infection) in the online lookup tool available here. In all conference areas the following rules around masking apply:

  • If the community level is low/green, attendees may decide whether or not to wear a mask according to their personal preference and level of risk.
  • If the community level is medium/yellow, attendees at risk of severe illness are strongly encouraged to wear a mask.
  • If the community level is high/red, all attendees are required to wear masks.

What measures are SIAM and the facility staff taking to ensure the safety of in-person attendees?

SIAM is working with each conference site to ensure that spacing and cleanliness practices conform with CDC guidelines. Masks and hand sanitizer will be made available to all conference attendees. Additional measures vary by conference venue and will be linked to from each conference website.

What happens if a spike in infections forces a conference to be fully virtual?

The pandemic is evolving rapidly. If infections and/or hospitalizations rise abruptly in the city hosting a hybrid conference it may be necessary to cancel the in-person component of the conference and to hold the entire conference virtually. If this happens, all in-person registrations will be converted to virtual registrations and registrants will be reimbursed the difference. All participants will engage in the conference as described above for virtual participation.

If a hybrid conference in 2022 is forced to be fully virtual, will it look like SIAM’s 2021 virtual conferences?

No. SIAM has partnered with Pathable for hybrid conferences operating in the U.S. through the end of 2022. This fully featured platform is suitable for both hybrid and strictly virtual conferences. SIAM’s 2021 virtual platform, powered by vFairs, will only be used for the conferences that were declared strictly virtual in the fall of 2021, including the SIAM Conference on Analysis of Partial Differential Equations (PD22) and the SIAM Conference on Imaging Science (IS22).

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