After this last year, we believe connecting in safely person is more important than ever.
Our programs will include modifications and safety protocols as we continue to collaborate closely with Center for Disease Control (CDC), departments of health, and our educational partners, to build the best experience for our participants while looking after everyone’s health and safety.
First and foremost, the YMCA Center for Youth Voice (CYV) encourages all participants to complete the vaccine regimen of their choice. Vaccines remain the CDC’s primary suggestion to keep yourself and those around you safe from COVID infection and to allow us to continue to conduct the safest in-person programming.
CYV program participants should also be prepared to remain masked at all times during events, regardless of vaccination status.
*The COVID safety protocols listed below are subject to change
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Retreats & Trainings
We ask that you approach all in-person events with caution. If you are feeling ill in any way or have had possible COVID exposure, please do not attend our in-person events. You may contact the CYV State Office at YouthVoice@ymcanorth.org if you have questions about how to connect remotely.
During our in-person events, retreats, and trainings:
- Masking is required at all times when not eating or drinking
- Please observe social distancing best practices and posted room capacity limits
We ask that all delegates avoid all unnecessary travel and gatherings during the 10 days leading up to the start of a conference. All delegates will be required to take a COVID test within 3 days (72 hours) of the start of a conference. Results must be uploaded using our online test submission portal prior to the start of the event.
- Between testing and arriving at the conference, we strongly recommend a quarantine period defined as:
- Avoid all non-essential travel and gatherings, included but not limited to restaurants, social gatherings, etc.
- Wear masks in groups and indoor spaces outside of home environment.
- Physically distance in groups outside of your home environment.
- Remain aware of risk factors associated with COVID transmission.
- Practice immunity-boosting measures: rest, vitamins, healthy diet, etc.
- Our conference staff and volunteers will follow the same pre-arrival practice listed above.
YMCA of the North highly encourages molecular PCR tests; however it will accept any test that is accessible to you. Here are some links to COVID tests in Minnesota:
How to submit your COVID test results
- Navigate to the YMCA's online test submission portal on your desktop or mobile device
- Enter the requested information for the participant (name, email, phone, test type, results, etc.)
- Upload an image or an electronic copy of the official document with the participant's name and test results in it (this can be a picture of the negative test, screenshot, PDF, etc.)
- Be prepared to show test results to your local delegation director either before boarding shared transportation to the conference or in the lobby of the conference hotel when you arrive on your own.
Please contact us at YouthVoice@ymcanorth.org with any questions or requests for help.
During the Conference
As we approach this year’s conferences, we want to balance participant safety and the strong desire to have in-person experiences. Conferences will have some modifications and will follow safety protocols as we continue to follow advice from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and local state Departments of Health, while also utilizing best practices of our YMCA colleagues in similar program environments.
Our procedures listed below were modeled this past summer by our colleagues that run overnight camps. We are happy to report that adherence to this plan resulted in zero COVID cases reported at our overnight camps during the summer of 2021.
To make this all possible, we will follow several practices that we want everyone to know about as they make their participation decisions:
- Participants, advisors, and staff will wear masks when indoors, except for when they are eating, drinking, or are in their own sleeping rooms.
- EVERYONE – students, advisors, and staff – (regardless of vaccination status) will be required to take a COVID test within 3 days of the start of the conference.
- Results of that test must be uploaded to our online test submission portal before arriving at the conference.
- Students will not be allowed to “come and go” from our conferences – once at the conference, they will need to stay at the conference. To keep everyone’s potential exposure to a minimum, leaving (for a sports tournament, school event, family obligation, etc.) and returning to the conference will not be permitted. We acknowledge that this may be difficult for some delegates who may have to prioritize their participation over other activities for the conference weekend.
- Programming and evening activities will take place in smaller groups while still maintaining the traditional feel.
- Mealtimes and transition periods will be staggered, and extra COVID safety protocols established.
Programming & Evening Activities
Evening activities have changed to reflect the realities of living in the pandemic. As always, please prepared to wear your masks to protect those around you during evening activities. This year, you can expect to find opportunities like trivia, the fantastic YIG and MUN talent shows, the craft corner, and more! Check back on the conference website for updates on these and other activities.
In order to best serve all participants and maintain a safe environment and strong conference bubble, meals for Minnesota YIG have been reconfigured in the following ways:
- Mealtimes and transition periods will be staggered, and extra COVID safety protocols established
- In an effort to maintain a conference bubble and due to increased exposure opportunities in the Minneapolis skyways, some mealtimes have been shifted:
- Dinner on Thursday night is now included as part of the conference fee and will take place at the Minneapolis Hilton
- Participants with programming at the hotel will dine at the Quarry in Northeast Minneapolis for lunch on Saturday and Sunday
- Participants at the Capitol will dine along S Robert Street in West St Paul for lunch for the duration of the conference.
- Food will be available for purchase at the hotel for dinners on Friday and Saturday nights in lieu of dinner in the skyways.
We have adjusted our rooming policies in response to COVID in the following ways:
- Rooming is now determined with a stronger emphasis on keeping participants from the same delegation together; delegation requests to restrict roommates to delegation members will be honored.
- To maintain our conference bubble, participants are not permitted to sleep at home and come to the conference during the day.
- Participants will continue to be housed in rooms of three or four by default. However, if a participant prefers to be in a room of two or fewer, that option is available at an additional cost. Please contact your local Delegation Director to learn more.