COVID-19 Health & Safety Advisory

The Aspen Institute regards the health and safety of its staff and participants as our highest priority and is committed to doing its part to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Below is an explanation of the health and safety measures we currently are taking, as well as expectations for our event attendees, that are needed to minimize the risk of transmission or spread of COVID-19 and related variants. Please note that these protocols are subject to change, based on revised guidance from the CDC as this pandemic evolves, and/or from the local jurisdictions in which events are being held. Programs hosting events to which you may be invited will update you with specific information you may need to attend our events, including any additional enhancements to our standard protocols or updates based on local requirements.

Visit our events page for information on upcoming programming and how to register.

Aspen Institute Events
  • Under our standard protocols, all attendees at Aspen Institute in-person events will be required to show they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or, if they are exempt from this requirement (see below for allowable exemptions), take a COVID-19 rapid test and show a negative result before entry.

    The Institute is using the ReturnSafe app to capture, track, and securely store vaccination data about its attendees. Please follow these steps to install and use the ReturnSafe app:

    To use the app you will need the following information:

    • Workspace: aspeninstitute
    • Program Host or Group: [provided by program]
    • Event name: [provided by program]
    • Event Start Date: [provided by program]

    After providing your contact information, you will be asked a series of questions about your vaccination status and requested to upload your vaccine documentation as verification, so please have it handy when you login to the ReturnSafe app.

    If you are planning to attend multiple Aspen Institute events, you will only need to answer questions and upload your vaccine documentation once, but may be asked to update it in the future if booster shots are required or to indicate any new events you may be attending.

    Under our standard protocols, you will be cleared to attend the event if you are fully vaccinated. However, some events also may require a negative COVID-19 rapid test regardless of vaccination status, which will be clearly communicated to you in advance of the event. See below for more information about testing and confirming that information.

    Please bring your mobile device to the event to show you are cleared to attend. If you do not have a mobile device or neglect to bring it with you, someone can look up your status.

    If you are not fully vaccinated, you may be exempted from the vaccination requirement, but only for the following reasons:

    • You have a disability, are pregnant or nursing, and/or have a medical condition which prevents you from getting vaccinated
    • You have objections to vaccination based on religious beliefs
    • You do not yet have access to the vaccine

    If you are unvaccinated and exempted from the vaccination requirement, or if the event you are attending has added a universal testing requirement, you will be asked to take a same-day COVID-19 rapid test and show a negative result before entry. This test will be provided and paid for by the Aspen Institute. If you test positive for COVID-19, you will not be allowed to enter or attend the event in-person but may be able to view it online if that option is available. If you need to be tested, more information on the method, location, and timing of the tests will be provided to you by email before the event.

    Frequently Asked Questions: Aspen Institute’s COVID Safety Policies

    What do you mean by “fully vaccinated?”

    Fully vaccinated means you have received a vaccine that is authorized by the FDA for use in the United States, OR if you are outside the U.S., have received a vaccine that has been approved by the World Health Organization, AND you are at least 2 weeks past the final shot required of this vaccine. We are closely monitoring the latest from the CDC in view of anticipated booster shots in the coming months, and will update our protocols as needed to keep aligned with its recommendations.

    What about masks?

    Masks are required at all indoor events, consistent with CDC guidance that recommends masks for all, regardless of vaccination status, in order to prevent breakthrough infections of COVID-19. Masks are not required when eating or drinking, or at outdoor events.

    In some circumstances, in locations where local or state rules allow it, masks may not be required for fully vaccinated individuals if the event has imposed a universal COVID-19 testing protocol. You will be notified by your event host in advance if testing will be required for your event and if it would alter the mask requirement. However, unvaccinated individuals, who are at greater risk of infection, will still be required to wear masks at all events, and will be offered seating that is distanced from others not in their household.

    What if I am experiencing symptoms on the day of the event?

    As part of the ReturnSafe questionnaire, all attendees will be asked to affirm they will not attend if they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 on the day of the event. If, while attending our event, you begin experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, we ask that you depart or we may need to ask you to leave if we think it might put others at risk.

    What if I test positive before the event or at entry?

    If you test positive for COVID-19, you will not be allowed to attend or enter the event in-person or may be asked to leave if the event is in progress. While we cannot diagnose or treat attendees for COVID-19 or any other disease, or offer medical advice, we will encourage anyone who tests positive to contact a qualified doctor or medical provider for more information, as well as review guidance from the CDC and public health officials. We also will make any necessary reports to public health authorities and may ask you for additional information for contact tracing purposes while managing your identity with respect for privacy. Where available, we also will give those individuals the opportunity to view the event online.

    What if I learn after the event that I have tested positive for COVID-19?

    If, after you depart our event, you learn that you may have been exposed to the virus, or have contracted it yourself, we kindly ask that you notify us of that information. And we pledge to do the same for you, working with local public health authorities, should we learn of any confirmed exposures among other staff or attendees you may have come in contact with. Your identity will be managed with respect for privacy.

    What if I am having technical issues using the ReturnSafe app?

    Please visit or email [email protected] for assistance.

    What if I have other questions about the Aspen Institute’s COVID safety policies?

    Please email us at [email protected]