Returning to in-person meetings

When your group does decide to return to an in-person or hybrid format WAIA will remove the “temporarily closed” indicator only when that group informs WAIA that the group conscience has decided to meet in person again. Please use this form to let us know what’s going on and keep your group’s information updated.

WAIA first and foremost suggests that when a group returns to meeting in person that all possible precautions be taken to insure the safety of members, their friends and families, the facilities we use and all other people who might also use those facilities.

WAIA is providing resources such as tech connect to help groups get online and improve current online capabilities instead of risking a return to in-person status.

Suggested Plan Overview

We suggest that your group begin with the contact from your landlord that your space is available. Hopefully they communicate their restrictions on the number of people in the space and requirements for masks, cleaning and contact tracing which will likely be the primary guide for how your group proceeds.

The next step would be gathering of your groups conscience on deciding if it’s the right time to proceed to in-person or hybrid (in-person and online) status or to wait.

Your group may want to then create a plan to return to in-person meetings. These are not decisions to be made quickly or without consideration of the many complex factors which come with our unprecedented situation.

WAIA has put together the below document with detailed suggestions on subjects ranging from contact tracing to hybrid meetings. Please take a look and incorporate what you can into your groups decision making process. We welcome your feedback on this document: executivecommittee@aa-dc.org

WAIA Suggestions on Reopening

Contact tracing suggestions

Contact tracing is a topic with a lot of considerations – and they are discussed in detail in the above document however two points should be foremost:

  • Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 can state to a contact tracer that they attended a spiritual or community meeting and need not disclose that it was an AA meeting and thus maintain the anonymity of themselves and others.
  • Groups may wish to consider having a contact tracing plan in place at the first in-person meeting. Specific suggestions and a sample plan on how to do this while maintaining privacy and anonymity are provided.

Disseminating this information and following these suggestions will allow people to attend knowing that if someone who was at the meeting tested positive, they will be quickly and confidentially informed and can take appropriate action. It also allows an asymptomatic individual who attends and later tests positive to inform their fellow members without revealing their status.

Overview of a suggested contact tracing plan:

Groups appoint a service position (secretary?) who keeps a list of attendees with first name and phone number for each meeting. In the event a group member tests positive that member can inform the contact tracer that they were in a group and that the group has a record of the other people in attendance. On the groups decision, the list can be provided to the contact tracer to contact each attendee or the secretary can call those in attendance and put them in touch with the contact tracer so they can be tested and receive further instruction. After a set time period (three weeks generally) the list is destroyed.  (Paper lists recommended as in many cases – once digitized – it can never truly be deleted)

A major consideration for this plan is that each attendee have a way to contact the secretary. We suggest a flyer or business card be created with the secretary’s contact information on it to be handed out or photographed at each meeting.

Report to WAIA your group’s plans:

Any new or changes to online meetings to should be sent to: help@aa-dc.org. Please include all information about which group, which meeting, and the full details from zoom including passwords and phone numbers.

Once your group has decided it will return to meeting in-person (or in a “hybrid” format) each group must inform WAIA directly that they wish to have “temporarily closed” or an online meeting removed from the meeting listings.

The simplest way is to use this form to let us know but you can also call the office at 202-966-9115 or email us at help@aa-dc.org where the same info we are collecting in the form will be taken over the phone.

We are asking for all the information in the form to update our records – keeping the “where and when” information as updated as possible. A few months after the majority of meetings have gone back to in person we may place any we don’t hear from in a “pending” status – we will try to send people to make contact but hope to hear from all our existing groups – and some new ones!

Meetings which decide not return to in person but remain in an online format for good – there is an intergroup for that and we recommend listing your meeting there: https://aa-intergroup.org/ WAIA will continue listing your meeting until, as a group, we come to a decision about “local” online meetings.

Suggestions for groups – from groups:

The below suggestions have been assembled from multiple area, district and intergroup newsletters, websites, how-to guides and word of mouth. Please contribute! we want to hear your groups story or links to other groups/orgs suggestions: help@aa-dc.org

June 2020 WAIA New Reporter – letter from the chairperson

List of suggested questions to ask on returning to in-person

Chart of questions on group reconvening considerations

Baltimore-intergroup’s in-person meeting information (including some great info about contact tracing and Maryland’s call recording laws which may apply to “hybrid” meeting formats)

A sample form for contact tracing record keeping

Consider Local Laws and Regulations:

The following government websites are where official information is being released – provided here for convenience:

DC:

coronavirus.dc.gov

Montgomery county:

montgomerycountymd.gov/covid19

PG County:

www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/3397/Coronavirus