Making MsC 2022 Safer

Statement from the MsC Executive Committee

Still in the times of Covid, there are some normal concerns about attending a large event. At MsC, we have been planning for months to create the best environment possible and we want to share more information of what you can expect when attending MsC 2022:

  • The MTTA Board approved late last year a Covid Policy that requires vaccines to attend MsC and commits to follow the health and government mandates at the time of the event. The minimum required is two doses of Pfizer or Moderna, or one of J&J. Boosters are encouraged.
  • When attendees register, they commit to follow this Policy.
  • Attendees must show their vaccination cards when registering at the event.
  • Currently, the State of Maryland and Prince George’s County are not requiring the use of masks indoors but recommend those who are more vulnerable to use them. So, at this point, masks are not required at MsC and it’s up to the personal responsibility of each attendee. That can change if by the time of the event, Maryland and/or Prince George’s County mandate the use of masks indoors.
  • Nevertheless, we will distribute N95 masks and hand sanitizer to each attendee and will have extra supplies available at our Security stations.
  • The College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center is also following the directives of the health authorities. They required all their staff to be vaccinated.
  • So, if we end up with masks optional, each attendee has to decide:
    • To wear or not to wear masks, and when
    • To hug or not to hug
    • To talk to unmasked attendees or not
    • To be around unmasked attendees or not
    • Everyone is free to do what is needed to protect themselves
  • And what about the meals? MsC offers four meals, three dinners and one breakfast. The College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center has the largest ballroom MsC has ever had, 8,000 square feet, twice the size of previous hotels. The ballroom seats 600 people for dinner and we expect to have half that amount in the largest banquet and even less at the other meals. We are working with the hotel to do the following:
    • Space tables apart as much as possible to keep the best social distancing possible.
    • Sit fewer people per table. Instead of 10-12 per table, we are planning to set up for 6 people per table.
    • The hotel has a new ventilation system that continuously disinfects the air.
    • Hotel staff who serve meals will always wear gloves.
  • Masked attendees of course have the choice to keep their masks off only for the minutes they will be eating.
  • Classrooms? The Conference Center is huge with 40,000 square feet of meeting space. This also means that all the classrooms are larger than ever before. Our two largest classrooms are over 2,000 square feet, seating over 200 people for classes that will probably draw 60 to 70 attendees. Two other large classrooms with over 1,000 square feet have a capacity of 140 to 180 attendees. All the other classrooms are over 600 square feet. To provide the safest environment, we plan to do the following:
    • Classroom chairs will be socially distanced and if needed, we have plenty of space to separate masked and unmasked sections in each classroom. This will be easy to do given the large room size.
    • Limit the number of attendees according to the size of the classroom to keep optimum social distancing.
  • Need fresh air? No problem. The Conference Center has plenty of outdoor space accessible with just opening a door. There are two large gardens, a large open space with benches in the back and a large courtyard between the hotel and the Conference Center. In addition, we will be using the large Patuxent room as our Reconnecting Lounge, our private lobby. The Patuxent has its own Outdoor Patio for those who prefer being outside. The restaurant also has outdoor seating, so attendees looking for fresh air, will find plenty.
  • Restrooms? The Conference Center provides seven large restrooms throughout the hotel and on all the floors of the Conference Center.

In summary, MsC is fortunate to be at such a large, beautiful hotel and Conference Center, featuring huge indoor and outdoor space for our use. This large hotel property helps to make our event the safest possible for all attendees.

We all need some peace of mind. Hopefully this information will allow you to better understand the safety measures we are taking so everyone can once again enjoy MsC after three years of hiatus.

And remember, there is always the possibility that by the time of MsC, the state and/or county may issue a mask mandate if the circumstances call for it, and we are committed to follow their mandates.