Events and activities guidelines

Effective July 1, 2021

Guiding principles

  • All items outlined are subject to change based on the evolution of the pandemic, government and/or institutional regulations, and public health best practices.
  • The guidelines are applicable for the Coral Gables and Marine campuses.
  • The guidelines provide high-level guidance for University events in addition to specific information on approval processes applicable to academic and administrative units.
  • Outdoor and virtual events are preferred as the primary venue for events.
  • On-campus events should seek to limit in-person attendance by outside guests.
  • Food generally is not permitted at indoor events. Requests for food at indoor events will be considered on a very limited basis for those events with strict food safety plans and restricted attendance. A more detailed review will also be conducted for indoor events that include food. This guideline will continue to be reassessed.
  • Off-campus events are required to follow the same policies as on-campus events.
  • Undergraduate student organizations should refer to Student Affairs for guidance on approval processes for student-led events.
  • The central calendar provides a consolidated list of in-person events and activities.

Definitions

  • Large gathering: A large gathering is defined as follows:
    • Indoors: More than 50 total persons in attendance or using greater than 50% of the normal occupancy for the given event space. 2 to 3 feet of physical distancing between attendees must be maintained at all times.
    • Outdoors: More than 100 total persons in attendance at any given time.
    • The number of persons in attendance is inclusive of all staff, vendors, and others physically present at the time of the event and is not limited to only registered guests. 
  • In-person event: Programs, events, conferences, and any other non-curricular planned in-person gathering, indoors or outdoors, including those organized by an individual unit, utilizing their own space. In-person events do not include University-scheduled classes, labs, internal meetings (as defined below), or sanctioned athletic practices or competitions.
  • External event: An in-person, on-campus event that includes any number of external attendees.
  • Internal in-person meeting: An in-person meeting held within a single space/area for the duration, and attended exclusively by University of Miami faculty, staff, or students for the specific purpose of coordination, information sharing, and/or making decisions related to University operations.
  • Internal attendee: Any faculty, staff, or student at the University of Miami.
  • External attendee: Anyone who is not a faculty member, staff member, or student at the University of Miami. This includes vendors and contractors, families of internal attendees, and anyone who is not employed by or studying at the University of Miami.
  • On-campus event: Meeting, program, event, conference, and any other non-curricular planned in-person gathering, indoors or outdoors, held at a facility that is owned or operated by the University of Miami.
  • Off-campus event: Meeting, program, event, conference, and any other non-curricular planned in-person gathering, indoors or outdoors, held at a facility that is not owned or operated by the University of Miami, but is within the South Florida tri-county area.
  • University community member: Refers to all full- and part-time faculty, staff, students, fellows, trainees, and interns.
  • Guest: Refers to someone who is on University property (owned or leased) temporarily for a short period of time at the invitation of the University, including invited speakers, event participants, academic visitors, prospective students, tour participants, athletes from other institutions, alumni, student family members, and other similar non-University community members.
  • Special Event Request Committee: A multi-disciplinary committee of subject matter experts appointed by University leadership to review, provide feedback, and approve events that are considered higher risk in nature or that cannot otherwise fully meet the guidelines for event approval as listed within these guidelines. Provost Duerk serves as the chair of the committee.

General safety and COVID-19 prevention

  • All colleges, schools, divisions, departments, and other organizational units are encouraged to continue to limit large gatherings for in-person interaction where and when possible by using virtual alternatives, such as Zoom (or other video teleconferencing solutions), telephone, email, or other communication platforms.
  • Event spaces and all those utilizing such spaces, including attendees (whether internal or external), are required to abide by University safety standards.
  • Anyone who is symptomatic should not attend any events. Anyone who is immunocompromised should check with their health care provider prior to participating in any of the events described in these guidelines.  
  • Event organizers are responsible for registering/monitoring attendees and enforcing University guidelines. This is applicable for all in attendance, regardless of affiliation.
  • If it is determined by University officials that guidelines are not being properly adhered to during the event, the event may be interrupted.
  • All events must allow for physical distancing of 2 to 3 feet between each participant.
  • All attendees and event staff must wear masks at all times indoors, except when actively eating or drinking.
  • External attendees must successfully complete the University of Miami Daily Symptom Checker and provide results to the event organizer prior to entering an event.
  • External attendees must pre-register for the event and agree to participate in UTrace contact tracing if they become positive for COVID-19 within 48 hours of the event.
  • Event spaces must be cleaned/sanitized after an event concludes. It is the responsibility of the event organizer to work with the venue and those providing approval to arrange for cleaning to occur (in some cases, there may be a charge associated and the event organizer should inquire about that in advance).
  • Attendees who have traveled internationally within the previous 7 days prior to the event must submit negative COVID-19 test results taken no more than 48 hours prior to attending the event, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Additional security and/or safety staff may be required for select events. Associated costs are the responsibility of the event organizer.
  • Event hosts are responsible for ensuring sufficient personal protective equipment is available to safely conduct the event (i.e., wipes, hand sanitizer, gloves, plexiglass dividers, other cleaning supplies, and a reserve of masks if necessary).
  • Facilities:
    • Outdoor spaces should continue to be prioritized for events. The outdoor space should accommodate appropriate ability to physically distance for all attendees. The impact of inclement weather and/or high temperatures when in direct sunlight should be taken into consideration when selecting the appropriate event venue and timing of the event.
    • Indoor events must limit attendance to 50% normal capacity and be able to maintain a minimum of 2 to 3 feet between all participants. Masks must continue to be utilized for any indoor events.
    • Facility/venue managers should also approve health, safety, and staffing plans for the site.

Food, beverage, and other external vendors

  • Food generally is not permitted at indoor events. Requests for food at indoor events will be considered on a very limited basis for those events with strict food safety plans and restricted attendance. A more detailed review will also be conducted for indoor events that include food. This guideline will continue to be reassessed.
  • Chartwells remains the preferred vendor for approved food options for campus events, due to familiarity with the following campus guidelines and requirements. If other vendors are used for events, they must provide a COVID-19 health and safety plan, consistent with the University COVID-19 visitor and vendor policy.
  • It is strongly encouraged that food and beverages provided as part of an event be individually served, wrapped, and/or pre-packaged.
  • Eliminate commonly passed or shared items, such as serving utensils or condiments. Buffets, shared stations, platters, and open pitchers/punch bowls are highly discouraged.
  • Food and beverage service and preparation areas must be sanitized prior to and during the event.
  • Event hosts should actively communicate with food and beverage vendors to ensure proper food safety and hygiene protocols are executed.
    • Remember to inform vendors that staff who feel ill will not be allowed to work at the event. Verify that vendors have their own screening process and/or require staff to utilize the CDC symptom screening tool prior to arrival.

Internal in-person meetings

  • All units are encouraged to continue to limit face-to-face interaction by using virtual alternatives, such as Zoom (or other video teleconferencing solutions), telephone, email, or other communication platforms.
  • Internal in-person meetings must have less than 50 attendees and use less than 50% of the room’s normal capacity, maintain a minimum of 2 to 3 feet between all participants, and have no other risk factors (see Appendix 1).
  • Meetings that adhere to the information above and meet and follow the guidelines above are allowable without further review or approval. Internal meetings that do not adhere to the above parameters, and have other risk factors, require approval from the Special Event Request Committee via the online submission form.

Event approval

  • Outdoor events (academic and administrative units):
    • With up to 100 people in expected attendance at any given time may proceed with department expressed approval (dean/vice president) and adherence to all listed guidelines above. All attendees must be internal to the University (i.e., University of Miami faculty, staff, and students).
    • With expected attendance of more than 100 people at any given time, or that vary from University safety standards in any way or pose higher risk due to the nature of the proposed event (i.e., maintaining physical distancing, involving external attendees, or planning to have food –see Appendix I for full list) must develop an event safety plan and submit it via the online form to the Special Event Request Committee no less than 14 days before the event for review and approval.
    • Approval to hold an event is tentative and is subject to change based on the evolution of the pandemic and/or adjustments to federal, state, local, or University directives.
    • Approval to hold an event is tentative until the venue approves of health/safety plans and staffing plans.
    • Outdoor masking is strongly encouraged when congregating in large groups.
    • Undergraduate student organizations should refer to Student Affairs for guidance on approval processes for student-led events.
  • Indoor events (academic and administrative units):
    • Indoor events of up to 50 persons in attendance and utilizing no more than 50% of the space’s normal capacity (including staff working the event) may proceed with the approval of the dean/vice president of the school/college/division seeking to organize the event and with adherence to all listed guidelines. If utilizing a facility on campus outside of the school or college itself, the facility/venue managers must also approve health, safety, and staffing plans for the site. Additionally, indoor events in this category must abide by the following:
      • Limit attendance to 50 people or 50% normal capacity for the event space and be able to have all participants comfortably maintain a 2-to-3-foot distance from one another.
      • Attendees must all be internal to the University (i.e., University of Miami faculty, staff, and students).
      • Masks must continue to be utilized for the duration of the indoor event and in all indoor public spaces.
      • Food and drinks are not being served.
      • Attendees have not traveled internationally within the past 7 days.
      • All attendees must either pre-register or be registered upon arrival in order to assist with the contact tracing processes, should it be necessary to do so afterward.
    • University departments or organizations seeking to schedule an indoor event that does not adhere to one or more of the requirements above must obtain the permission of the dean/vice president of the school/college/division, then submit a preliminary outline of the event plan to the Special Event Request Committee via the online form no less than 14 days before the event for review and approval.
      • Tentative approval to host an in-person event does not ensure the event will be permitted to occur. Event organizers should ensure plans, contracts, and agreements for these types of events provide flexibility to adjust or cancel based on the evolution of the virus and University policy.
    • It is strongly encouraged that food or beverage for indoor events be individually wrapped /boxed for each individual attendee and physical distance can be maintained while attendees are unmasked for eating. No shared food options, buffets, or food stations are permitted. 
    • The limit on indoor gatherings does not apply to classrooms or other campus spaces that have been adjusted for physical distancing when used for instructional purposes, research, or other approved academic functions.
    • Undergraduate student organizations should refer to Student Affairs for guidance on approval processes for student-led events.

Off-campus events

  • Off-campus events are considered to be events that are not held on a University campus, but still within the South Florida tri-county area. Events seeking to be held outside of this area would be subject to travel policies in addition to other considerations for off-campus events within this document.
  • Participants in any off-campus events must adhere to all current University of Miami expectations in addition to applicable federal, state, county, and city guidance.
  • Approval to hold an event is tentative and is subject to change if warranted based on changes in the pandemic situation and/or adjustments to federal, state, local, and University guidance and directives.
  • University departments or organizations seeking to schedule an off-campus event must follow all on-campus event guidance found above and contained in this document, and if necessary, submit a preliminary outline of the event plan to the Special Event Request Committee, via the online form, for review and approval in any case that would be required to do so for an on-campus event (i.e., amount of attendees, inability to control the environment, food and beverage options, maintaining physical distancing, etc.).
    • Tentative approval to host an off-campus event does not guarantee the event will be permitted to occur. Event organizers should ensure plans, contracts, and agreements for these types of events provide flexibility to adjust or cancel based on the evolution of the virus and University policy.

External events

  • Indoor external events must abide by the general guidelines found within this document including, but not limited to:
    • Limit attendance to 50% normal capacity for the event space and be able to maintain a minimum of 2 to 3 feet between all participants.
    • Masks must be utilized by all attendees for the duration of the indoor event and in all indoor public spaces on the campus at all times.
  • Fully outdoor events do not require the use of masks, but attendees must still wear masks if present indoors on the campus for any reason.
  • Organizers planning events should ensure there is flexibility to adjust or cancel based on evolution of the virus and changes to University policy.

Event planning and set-up

  • Health and safety plan (academic and administrative units)
    • Events that meet the criteria of being “Higher Risk” as outlined in Appendix 1 will require a health and safety plan to be submitted as part of an event reservation request. The health and safety plan must be reviewed and approved by the Special Event Request Committee prior to being submitted. In some cases, the facility/venue manager may still request a health and safety plan for events that do not meet the higher risk criteria, due to the nature and/or unique features of an event.
    • A health and safety plan must include the following:
      • Communications plan to attendees before, during, and after the event
      • Registration/attendance and capacity tracking (for indoor events), and process for symptom checker verification by event staff (for external attendees)
      • Physical distancing/event layout diagram, event signage, and point of entry/exit (where applicable)
      • Plan for ensuring all attendees abide by PPE guidelines, as they apply to the context
      • Assessment of additional security that may be needed
    • Additional specific requirements and limitations will vary based on disease prevalence, Special Event Request Committee instruction, and government orders.
  • Event communication
    • Outdoor events will not require registration unless otherwise noted during an approval process.
    • For indoor events, event hosts should pre-register all external attendees and collect email and phone contact information to allow for communication regarding public health information, attendee expectations prior to arrival, event changes, and contact tracing if someone later is determined to be positive. For internal attendees (University of Miami faculty, staff, and students), registration may occur at the time of entry as an alternative.
    • Event hosts should notify all external attendees of the following prior to arrival:
      • Review University COVID-19 website
      • Do not attend if they do not feel well or have recently been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19
      • Attendees who are not members of the University community are expected to complete the CDC screening tool prior to coming to on-campus events
      • Wear a mask or face covering consistent with University of Miami guidelines
      • Maintain 2 to 3 feet distance from others while present
    • Through signage and/or at the start of an event, the host should reiterate relevant safety information and pertinent guidelines for attendees.

Tracking, testing, and tracing

  • Anyone who has tested positive, is having symptoms consistent with, or has been exposed to someone confirmed positive for COVID-19 within the past 2 weeks is prohibited from attending any in-person event.
  • Anyone awaiting a COVID-19 test result which was conducted because of COVID-19 symptoms or potential exposure is prohibited from attending an in-person event.
  • As directed by public health officials, contact tracing will be initiated for confirmed cases of COVID-19 who attended an in-person event.

Appendix I: Event approval guidelines

Event types
Evidence suggests that certain event characteristics are at a lower risk of creating opportunities for transmission of COVID-19. Those characteristics are included in the “Lower risk” category on the table below. Higher risk activities, included in the column on the right, present more opportunities for transmission of COVID-19. Event plans including any higher risk activities must include information about how the transmission of COVID-19 will be mitigated while conducting the higher risk activities.

Lower risk Higher risk
Outdoor events Indoor events
No food or drink Food or drink served
Not considered a “large” gathering* Considered a “large” gathering*
Attendees are all internal to the University community Some or all attendees from outside of the University community
Event is located on-campus Event is located off-campus
Attendees have not traveled outside the U.S. in the past 7 days Attendees have traveled internationally within the past 7 days
Approval
Events meeting the “lower risk” criteria require approval by Dean or Vice President Events identified as “higher risk” require approval from Dean or Vice President AND the Special Event Request Committee via the online form.

*Large gatherings are defined as more than 50 persons or using more than 50% of the room’s normal capacity for indoor events, and more than 100 persons for outdoor events.

If an event includes no higher risk items, approval may be granted by the respective dean or vice president (or their specified designee) of the school/college/division seeking to produce the event, and the facility/venue manager (if required).

If an event is indoors, has less than 50 total attendees and is using less than 50% of the space’s overall capacity, and has no other higher risk factors listed above, approval may be granted by the respective dean or vice president and the facility manager of the event location.

If any event includes more than one of the higher risk activities above, the event must be first approved by the dean or vice president of the school or division seeking to produce the event and then submitted to the Special Event Request Committee via the online submission form for final review and approval.