SPIE begins return from COVID-19

06 May 2021

While everyone’s situation is different and COVID-19 remains challenging for many in the optics and photonics community, recovery has begun. Enabled by the availability of vaccines and improvements in diagnosis and treatment, we see a different picture than one year ago.

We have heard that many of you are eager to get together again and that a computer screen is not a true substitute for the in-person conference experience. Our experience organizing SPIE events has revealed countless examples of human connection and serendipity that Zoom windows cannot match. While the pace of recovery varies by country and province, we are optimistic about the eventual return to in-person events and a “new” normal over the next 3-6 months.

In California, local health professionals indicate SPIE Optics + Photonics can be safely held in San Diego this August. Scheduled for the first week in August, we are working with our event partners and suppliers to prepare for a safe and successful event. We invite you to join your peers in San Diego to reconnect with collaborators, meet influential researchers, and discuss possibilities face-to-face — or mask-to-mask — in a low-risk and attractive environment.

At the same time, SPIE events scheduled in Europe and Asia over the next six months have many unknowns, and the situations appear more dynamic. The safety of our attendees and staff comes first. If conditions in a region do not allow for live events, SPIE will continue to transform these conferences into Digital Forums.

We expect that masks, low-touch interactions, appropriate physical distance, frequent handwashing, and other safe-meeting characteristics will become part of the event experience. For many of us, vaccines will provide essential protection and confidence that we may plan to travel to technical conferences and reconnect with our community. We believe that the undeniable benefits of face-to-face interaction are worth the effort of this new normal, and SPIE will promote and require whatever is deemed necessary from health professionals.

SPIE will do our part to ensure the health and safety of participants, suppliers, and staff attending our conferences. As part of this commitment, all SPIE staff will be fully vaccinated prior to arriving on-site. Please remember that we all contribute to a safe environment by taking care of ourselves and following guidelines to keep everyone safe. Working together, we will have safe conferences.

For anyone who is unable to travel or if the local conditions change, SPIE is ready with options for remote participation, including live-stream and on-demand presentations, keynote talks, and panel sessions.

Please see our event homepages for the current status of individual events.

We continue to offer many technology, industry, and professional development webinars via SPIE.Online that support lifelong learning and opportunities to connect with peers. With new online events weekly, we aim to provide valuable content for everyone’s schedule and interests and hope you are able to join us.

We very much look forward to the continued recovery and improvement of global conditions related to the pandemic. As we begin to reconnect and meet in person, we know that situations are varied across our diverse membership and constituency and will continue to serve all in the most safe and inclusive ways possible.

We are not only looking forward to reconnecting in person at our valued conferences. We are preparing for it.

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