Respiratory Virus Policy

This is the disease mitigation policy which will be in effect during our convention. We will always abide by US, New York State, and Buffalo, New York laws at a minimum for our physical convention. We have chosen to add some stronger mitigation recommendations. We reserve the right to revise our policy to be more restrictive if dictated by new circumstances.


Please note that we use the term “member” throughout this policy as shorthand. The policy applies to WSFS members and all types of attendees.

  • The Buffalo Hyatt Regency Hotel, The Buffalo Convention Center, and the walkway connecting the two, are open to the public. We cannot enforce masking in these areas.
  • We strongly recommend that every member wears a mask, particularly indoors or in crowded areas, such as the registration area and program rooms.
  • We strongly recommend that every member is vaccinated and boosted against all major communicable diseases for which vaccines are available to them.
  • We will not require proof of any vaccination at the convention, given vaccine allergies and international policy variability.
  • We strongly recommend that every member tests daily for COVID-19 and when they have any relevant symptoms. We also recommend testing for flu before the convention.
  • We will not require proof of a negative test at time of badge pickup or for spot checking.
  • We strongly recommend that every member regularly and effectively washes and dries their hands. When this is not possible, we recommend that hand sanitizer is used.
  • We strongly recommend that online and on-site members get sufficient high-quality rest, hydration, and nutrition for their personal needs.
  • Please do not physically attend the convention if you have any new and potentially-contagious symptoms which have begun within the previous week. Such symptoms include coughing, sneezing, sniffling, running a fever, or having digestive issues.
  • We will enforce the Code of Conduct in all applicable situations, including when another member’s choices about disease mitigation do not match yours. This includes, but is not limited to, mitigations by masking, social distancing, or physical contact. For example, you may neither encroach on someone’s space who has asked you to stay 6 feet away nor may you yell at someone who is not wearing an N95 mask.

Policy Context

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted that conventions need to be more mindful of contagion as a whole. We need to be thoughtful and deliberate about our responsibilities regarding contagion by actions such as looking at current government policies and discussing situations around mutually-exclusive accessibility requirements.

As an international team, we are acutely aware that different governments have different policies and availability of vaccines. We also know that some people are unable to be vaccinated for a number of entirely valid reasons (e.g. allergy, age).

Our policy is based on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations in The United States of America for respiratory virus guidance in effect at time of publication, March, 2024. We have augmented those recommendations with additional mitigations and recommendations for our members. The CDC’s Respiratory Virus Guidance can be found by clicking the link.

If you have any questions, you can contact: