How will COVID-19 affect the 2021 MACRAO Annual Conference?

As fall approaches and we get closer to the MACRAO Annual Conference at Shanty Creek Resort in Bellaire from November 17 to 19, we want to make you aware of what our plans are to help keep everyone safe while enjoying this event.

We are not canceling the in-person part of the Conference unless circumstances related to the ongoing COVID-19 situation make it necessary to do so. Many of our member institutions are safely holding in-person classes and providing on-campus services, and many businesses are safely operating during the ongoing pandemic. We are actively monitoring all guidelines and requirements of the State of Michigan, the Antrim County Health Department, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and if needed, we will adjust our protocols and practices as we get closer to the event.

If you’re unable to attend in person, we are offering a virtual option to participate in all the main room and breakout room sessions via our online platform.

PLEASE NOTE: While MACRAO is requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test and wearing of masks in indoor public areas of the resort during the conference (regardless of vaccination status), the same standards may not be required of other Shanty Creek guests or employees. The resort is usually very lightly occupied during our conference, but there will be others present who may not be vaccinated or wearing masks. It isn’t possible for MACRAO to guarantee the health and safety of conference attendees even under normal circumstances; a level risk of participation is always present, and your own acceptable level of risk can only be determined by you. We fully respect everyone's decision to either attend in person, attend virtually, or not participate in this year’s conference.

Health and safety requirements for the 2021 Annual Conference

  • Conference attendees must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Those who are unvaccinated or prefer not to disclose their vaccination status will need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 48 hours of the start of the conference.

This requirement is like those being used by other academic conferences this fall, including the Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) Annual Conference in Lansing and AACRAO’s Strategic Enrollment Management (SEM) Conference in Florida, both in November.

  • All MACRAO Annual Conference attendees are required to wear masks while in any indoor public area of the conference (including hallways, meeting rooms, and the main banquet room), regardless of vaccination status.

This policy is in effect while Antrim County is experiencing High (red) or Substantial (orange) community transmission rates, according to the CDC. If the county’s rate falls to Moderate (yellow) or Low (blue), we maymake masks optional for vaccinated individuals, again in line with CDC guidelines. Regardless, fully vaccinated people might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission, particularly if they are immunocompromised or at increased risk for severe disease from COVID-19, or if they have someone in their household who is immunocompromised, at increased risk of severe disease or not fully vaccinated.