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Fall 2021 Conference and Event Guidance

Participation in live events is a central component of an Indiana University experience. Convocations, conferences, lectures, concerts, athletic events, non-credit and community programs, symposia, and performances create opportunities to share important perspectives, commemorate experiences, find commonalities with others, create meaningful networks between members of our community, and strengthen bonds with our university. Learning, connecting, and finding gratification through these experiences contribute greatly to the academic and mental health of our community.

The current Restart Committee Recommendations for Fall 2021 were issued on May 26, 2021 and will extend from August 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021.  The report recommends face-to-face instruction, and other in-person activities will be normalized to pre-pandemic levels, subject to change if conditions on campus warrant it. The following Fall 2021 Conference and Event Guidance is provided to inform decisions made by university departments, student organizations, individuals, and external organizations regarding conferences, events, and similar programs being considered for Fall 2021. 

While the Fall Restart Committee Recommendations for all university activities define a LARGE event as over 250 attendees, all conferences, events, and programs with 50 or more participants must be submitted to the University Events Review Committee (UERC) for review for official approval.  Relevant COVID policies and guidance must be followed in all cases, and approval may be conditioned on additional guideance to protect health and safety. These rules apply to all IU sponsored conferences and events, regardless of location (both on and off campus). 

Event Requests

  • Events with 50 or more participants must submit proposals to be reviewed and approved by the University Events Review Committee (UERC).
  • Planners should book only tentative reservations of facilities prior to approval by the University Events Review Committee (UERC).
  • All groups, including student organizations, must request UERC approval for events with 50 or more participants.
  • In addition to the UERC submission, student organizations must follow the student event guidelines for their campus.
  • Early submission of event requests is highly recommended. Requests should be submitted no less than 10 working days prior to the event.

Physical Distancing

  • Distancing and barriers are no longer required. Capacity in classrooms and event spaces can be increased to pre-pandemic approved capacity. Masks are no longer required for events that only involve IU constituents (current students, faculty, and staff), but constituents who are exempt from vaccination policy should mask.
    • Individual units or departments can impose stricter masking or social distancing guidelines if warranted.


  • COVID waivers will not be required for event attendees.

Masking and Other Prevention Measures

  • Organizers should inform potential attendees of the mask policy and should have masks available for use by those who have not been vaccinated or others who wish to wear one.
  • Masks are not required for conferences or events where all attendees are IU constituents or where all activities take place outdoors. Constituents who are exempt from vaccination policy must mask, though.
  • Official University visitors who are fully vaccinated are not subject to prior restrictions. Those who are not fully vaccinated will be required to mask at all times.
  • Individuals who are exempt from the vaccination requirement must continue to wear a mask at conferences and events.
    • Individuals with concerns for infection, despite vaccination, are strongly encouraged to continue to wear a mask at their discretion.
  • Masks may be removed while consuming food or beverage.
  • Post and promote hygiene prevention strategies.
    • Provide hand sanitizer upon entry.
    • Provide masks reminders for those that are exempt.

Food & Beverage Functions

  • Shared eating areas (banquet rooms, lobbies for receptions, etc.) can return to pre-pandemic capacity.
  • There are no restrictions on food and beverage functions except as dictated by local health guidelines.
  • Masks may be removed while consuming food or beverage.
  • Buffets are now acceptable.
  • Concessions and other stand-up food and beverage functions (like receptions) are acceptable, as long as the overall event is following masking guidelines outlined above.
  • Consider alternatives such as boxed lunches, salads in closed containers, bento boxes of hors d’oeuvres, or individual desserts to go.

Guiding principles for events, conferences, and programs during the pandemic

  • The health and safety of attendees and event staff will drive all in-person event decisions, and events must comply with current guidance and restrictions from the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), Indiana Department of Health (IDOH), local governments, and University policy.
  • IU events held in off-campus venues need to follow the same protocols as those held on campus.
  • Outdoor events are strongly encouraged when feasible.
  • IU personal and public health precautions for both indoor and outdoor events must be followed.
  • An emergency action planshould be developed and submitted as a part of the Safety Plan with the initial request.
  • Messaging is critical for attendee education of risk and communication of behavioral expectations (invitations, ticketing flow, ‘know before you go’ messages, printed handouts, event signage, announcements, mask requirements).
  • Personal hygiene facilities available for handwashing, hand sanitizing, etc.
  • Consider contactless transactions (ticketing, ticket scanning, F&B transactions, conference materials, programs, etc.).

Campuses are free to establish further limitations on events and conferences, as well as their own approval processes leading up to or following submission to the UERC.

Event organizers can apply for event approval of the UERC by submitting answers to the basic event information questions included on the form and uploading a specific event plan that address Guiding Principles and Event Considerations, contingency plans for cancellation or transition to a virtual format, and a proposed floor plan of the event space. This information will be reviewed by the UERC, comprised of university public health and safety officials, with a final determination made by the campus’s provost/chancellor or their delegate. The event organizer will be notified of the determination within 10 days of submission.

Requests will be considered with the current safely guidelines and restrictions in place at date of submission.