How will COVID-19 impact 2021 RREC?
The State of Illinois will move to Phase 5: Illinois Restored (no restrictions) on Friday 11 June 2021. As such, we are optimistic that the in-person aspect of the conference will be possible. However, we are committed to serving and supporting the railroad environmental community safely and will continue to closely monitor the Illinois Department of Public Health Statewide Metrics Dashboard, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and University of Illinois guidelines regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. In the event that circumstances worsen and restrictions require that the in-person aspect be scaled back or canceled we will promptly notify everyone. An advantage of the iHotel setting is that it has more capacity than the Illini Union and they have successfully hosted conferences under Illinois restrictions over the past year. This greater capacity and experience will reduce the potential impact on the in-person aspect of the RREC if certain restrictions have been reinstated by October.
WHAT DOES A HYBRID RREC INVOLVE?
Attendees will be able to participate either as an in-person attendee or virtual attendee. In-person attendees will experience the same in-person features (as previous conferences) such as Presentations, Exhibit Hall, Continental Breakfasts, Lunches, Poster Reception, and more. Virtual attendees will have access to the live presentations and the conference app for networking with exhibitors and attendees.
WHY DID RREC DECIDE TO GO HYBRID?
Given the ongoing uncertainty with the pandemic, we wanted to serve the constituents eager and able to return to campus this Fall while also ensuring that everyone can participate whether they are able to travel to Champaign or not in 2021.
WHAT DO I HAVE ACCESS TO AS AN IN-PERSON ATTENDEE?
Live In-person Presentations, Exhibit Hall, Poster Reception, In-person Networking Opportunities, Free Parking, and all other aspects previously available at RREC.
WHAT DO I HAVE ACCESS TO AS A VIRTUAL ATTENDEE?
Live Presentations and Networking via the Conference App.
WHAT WOULD TRIGGER COVID RESTRICTIONS TO BE REINSTATED?
The state could revert to a previous phase if there is a resurgence of the virus, measured by an increasing trend in our case rate and one of the following:
- Hospital admissions for COVID-19 like illness trend increasing and above 150 daily average
- COVID-19 patients in the hospital trend increasing and above 750 daily census
- Mortality rate trend increasing and above 0.1 daily average
- ICU bed availability < 20%
Metrics will be measured over a 10-day monitoring period. View the Illinois State Reopening Metrics here.
WHAT HAPPENS IF COVID RESTRICTIONS ARE REINSTATED?
Depending on the restrictions, we may have to limit in-person attendance or cancel the in-person aspect. Should we be required to cancel any attendee’s in-person registration, the attendee can opt for either a full refund or a refund for the difference to switch to a virtual registration. In-person attendance will be determined on a first come, first served basis.
What is the timeframe for RREC Abstract Submissions?
RREC Abstract Submissions run January through March before the Fall event. More information on abstract submission here.
When does registration open?
RREC Exhibitor/Sponsor and Attendee Registrations open the Summer before the Fall event. More information on registration here.
Where can I find previous programs, presentations, photos, and other conference materials?
Previous RREC materials can be found here.