NewBoCo is known for hosting a variety of events that bring many different communities together and foster collaboration, networking, and learning. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are adjusting our events to protect our community members while still providing opportunities to connect and grow.
As of mid-July 2020, COVID-19 cases and deaths are rising in Iowa. Developing a consistent and effective policy for NewBoCo’s programs has been challenging, given the lack of concrete guidance from federal and state leaders. Therefore, we’ve developed a policy that we will use to guide our decision to re-open our programs and events in Eastern Iowa. We will use this as our “litmus test” until such time as we have new information to take a different approach.
The goal of this policy is to provide clear expectations as to when these events might go back to in-person, rather than an arbitrary “wait and see.”
Our threshold for in-person events
For us to return to in-person events, at the very least the following conditions will need to be met:
- Test positivity rate in Iowa below 5% over a 7-day average, as measured by Johns Hopkins, here, AND
- A 14-day consecutive decline in Iowa’s new confirmed cases, as measured by Johns Hopkins, here, AND
- A 14-day consecutive decline in Iowa’s deaths, as measured by Johns Hopkins, here.
Additionally, even when these conditions are met, we may choose to delay further, or impose restrictions on capacity or other rules to ensure the safety of attendees, NewBoCo staff, and volunteers.
Affected events & programs
Until that threshold is met, the following events and programs will be entirely virtual:
- 1 Million Cups Cedar Rapids
- Code++ & Girls Code++
- Code.org teacher training programs
- Corridor Angel Investors
- DeltaV Code School
- Innovation Dojo
- Intrapreneur Academy
- Iowa EdTech Accelerator
- Iowa Startup Accelerator
- NewBoCo’s Annual Meeting
- NewBoCo-hosted FIRST LEGO League teams
- NewBoCo-hosted Future City teams
- Open Coffee Clubs
There may be cases where we determine that an in-person format might be appropriate. We will take these on a case-by-case basis. Programs that might fit this share the following attributes:
- Individuals attending can be isolated from each other, but the value of attending is significantly better than doing so in a virtual environment;
- Attendees are strictly limited, with controlled access (e.g. tickets or invite-only) with contact information collected in case we need to do contact tracing later;
- Compliance with rules (social distancing, PPE) is easy to communicate and enforce (e.g. no small children, available PPE supply, etc.)
We do not expect many of these, however.
. . .
We are all in uncharted territory here. All decisions regarding our events will balance the benefit of holding them in-person with the level of risk involved for our participants and staff. Our history of innovation pushes us to move forward during this time and present appropriate options and solutions to new challenges. We appreciate your participation in keeping the communities we work with vibrant and flexible to allow progress to be made with continued safety in mind.
If there is one thing we have relearned this year, we must adapt to the environment we are working within, as things WILL change. Our goal is to be transparent about how we are adapting and why we have made decisions. We look forward to embracing the new experience and continuing to provide opportunities to enhance our community.
– The NewBoCo team