Introducing a new risk assessment tool and guidelines for in person gatherings

Demonstration of Wikimedia COVID-19 in-person gathering risk assessment tool

Last month, Katherine shared with you a preview of the work that the Events team has been leading on resources to support in-person gatherings. We have seen more countries shift restrictions on in-person events, and we want to respond to those changing realities for communities that live in regions that are beginning to open.

The Events team has been working hard over the past few months to consider what’s needed to safely and effectively support in-person events. We developed several iterations of tools to assess risks and provide precautions, and shared these with affiliates along the way to gather feedback on what was most helpful. Thank you for all of the feedback we received!

New COVID-19 Risk Assessment Protocol

Today, I want to introduce our new COVID-19 Risk Assessment protocol for in-person gatherings. This protocol is designed to be sensitive to the constantly changing circumstances around this pandemic, and will allow potential grantees and community members to assess their own ability to safely host events and activities. With this protocol, we will be able to provide a consistent analysis of risks and policies for in person events, including guidelines and suggestions for mitigation across all affiliates, chapters and user groups.

The COVID-19 Risk Assessment protocol includes several steps that are outlined below. We wanted to get this information out to you as quickly as possible – we are also working to get this protocol and the attached documents up on Meta-Wiki by the end of September. 

  • Step 1 – First, review this list of events that falls under the Foundation’s eligibility criteria and current restrictions, to ensure that your event is within the scope of the current limitations.
  • Step 2 – Will your event be larger than 10 people? If it is only ten people or less (including the organizing team that will be onsite at the event), then we ask that you will follow local health guidelines for your region or country. Please go ahead and submit for a grant for your event, or move forward in case it’s an Annual Plan Grant (APG). If your event will be larger than 10 people, then please go to the next step.
  • Step 3 – For events with more than 10 people, use the Risk Assessment tool to evaluate the potential risks for your event. The first tab provides instructions on how to complete the tool. Once you complete it, you will have a total risk score, a number that determines your overall level of risk, and a control percentage, a figure that assesses if there are additional precautions that you need to take. Together, these will make up your total risk score, found on the final tab.
  • Step 4 – Go to the Matrix Results Framework and identify the color code that matches your total risk score. The color code includes guidelines to advise you if the gathering should proceed or not. Follow the appropriate instructions for APG or non-APG grantees. From here, you can submit a grant proposal. When you submit your proposal to the relevant program (Rapid, Conference, Project or Wikicite) you will be asked to attach your copy of the risk assessment tool. Your proposal will be considered under the program’s eligibility criteria. Each program has different deadlines for submission – reach out to the relevant Program Officer for more information.
  • Step 5 – If your gathering or activity is approved, please review the Checklist of guidelines for in-person events. This includes necessary precautions to take when hosting.

Feedback on the new protocol

This pandemic is an unprecedented situation for all of us, and we want to ensure that you are able to assess potential risks and conditions as thoroughly as possible. Our goal is to make sure that where local regulations allow, you can resume in person events safely and effectively with the resources and support that you need from the Foundation. We have also created a video demo, found on the Meta-Wiki page, that walks through the steps above in order to submit a grant for an in person gathering. If you have questions or feedback on this process and the new protocol, feel free to share on the talk page on Meta-Wiki

I so miss seeing so many of you at events, whether it was Wikimania last year, or Wiki Indaba or one of our many regional events and edit-a-thons. I look forward to the day when we can all gather again and celebrate our work and our communities. Until then, stay safe and take care.