In mid-July, in the face of the widespread health and safety dangers posed by COVID-19, TEI announced an Institute-wide policy barring in-person meetings of any sort and at any level within TEI through the end of calendar year 2020. The Institute acknowledged that policy statements are extremely rare and are appropriate only in the most extreme circumstances—such as when the health and safety of the Institute’s members are at risk. By expressing a clear and unambiguous policy, TEI hoped to relieve Institute leaders of the pressures and uncertainties associated with balancing competing points of view and perspectives.
Since that time, leadership and staff have closely tracked public health regulatory developments, the science (for example, the widespread availability of effective vaccines), the policies in place within the advisory community (for example, the willingness and ability of our speakers to travel), and the travel and lodging policies of the companies that employ our members. Although there has been some progress with regard to the science, little has changed in public health requirements and the general prohibitions within the advisory and business communities regarding travel and lodging. TEI’s policy of no in-person meetings was extended through April 1 at the December Executive Committee and Board of Directors meetings. The Executive Committee will recommend that the policy be extended through June 30 at the March board meeting.
Leadership and staff will continue to monitor scientific and business travel and public health policies closely to determine when Institute policy changes may be appropriate in the future. As stewards of TEI, we are responsible for taking the necessary precautions to help ensure the safety and security of our members as well as preserve the Institute’s reputation in the face of the continuing risks and uncertainties presented by COVID-19. Please continue to reach out to staff to discuss the facts and circumstances in your chapter or region, especially with regard to events you are considering in 2021.