Vaccination Policy for 2022 National Championships
The following policy applies to all 2022 national championships that NAQT is holding in person (all of them other than the Community College Championship Tournament):
All participants must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
- This applies to everyone attending the championship in person—players, coaches, chaperones, staff, and spectators.
- “Fully vaccinated” means, as of the beginning of the tournament, being vaccinated in accordance with the definition of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (If the CDC changes its definition after March 1, 2022, the definition from March 1 will be used.)
- Participants are furthermore very strongly encouraged to receive booster doses if eligible.
- The vaccine must be one approved or authorized for emergency use in the United States (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson/Janssen) or an approved multiple-dose mix thereof. Prospective participants who have received a different COVID-19 vaccine should discuss their situation with NAQT.
Implementation of Vaccination Requirement
Before the tournament, all participants must sign a participation agreement covering several topics, including an attestation that the participant meets the above requirements. For participants who are minors, the minor’s parent/guardian must also sign, and for high school students who have attained the age of majority, the student’s parent/guardian is still strongly encouraged to sign. This agreement includes specific penalties for falsification of vaccination status. Participation agreements must be submitted electronically two weeks before the tournament (or earlier).
At the tournament, check-in staff will examine each participant’s proof of vaccination (official vaccination card) and photo identification, verifying vaccination status and that the photo identification matches both the person presenting it and the person identified on the proof of vaccination. Photographs of proof of vaccination are acceptable, but other electronic “passes” are not, nor are documents other than official vaccination cards.
Once a participant’s documents have been checked, check-in staff will place a wristband on the participant as evidence of completion of the verification process. The wristband must be worn throughout the tournament; no one without such a wristband (other than hotel staff) will be permitted in tournament areas. If a wristband must be removed, there will be a procedure for replacing it (including re-checking of documents), but it is expected that participants should keep the same wristband throughout the weekend; wristbands will be safe to shower with.
If a participant is unable or unwilling to provide the requisite documents (participation agreement in advance; proof of vaccination and photo identification on-site), they will not be permitted to attend. If they are already on-site, they will not be permitted in areas of the hotel used by the tournament.
Responses to Questions and Comments
NAQT surveyed over 500 coaches about whether their programs would be able to meet these requirements and challenges they might face. A significant majority of coaches who responded expected that their program would be able to meet these requirements. Here are some questions and comments we commonly received and responses thereto:
Does this mean that coaches, chaperones, and spectators—not just players, as in the past—must submit participation agreements?
May participants submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test in lieu of vaccination?
Because of breakthrough cases, a test-based requirement would be more effective at ensuring that no one at the tournament will be infected with COVID-19.
Because the vast majority of participants travel (including in crowded spaces) immediately before the championships to get to the site, tests taken before travel would be unreliable due to exposure during travel, and tests taken during/after travel would not have left enough incubation time to be reliable (so a person exposed during travel might well become contagious during the tournament despite a negative test).
In addition to being unreliable, just-in-time testing is a significant hassle for coaches (and NAQT) to manage. It would result in uncertainty about who could attend the tournament that could not be resolved until very shortly before the tournament. One of NAQT’s goals is to reduce hassle and make sure as much of the work as possible can be done well in advance of the tournament. That said, if NAQT felt that a test-based policy (or a testing alternative) would significantly improve safety at the tournament, we would implement it.
Finally, NAQT wants to acknowledge that we cannot ensure that no one at the tournament will be infected with COVID-19. We are taking the best measures we can to reduce the spread and severity of COVID-19, but only mitigation is possible at this point.
Vaccinated people can still catch and spread COVID-19.
This is true. NAQT cannot ensure that no one at the tournament will be infected with COVID-19. We are taking the best measures we can to reduce the spread and severity of COVID-19, but only mitigation is possible at this point. The vaccination requirement makes it far more likely that even if a participant catches COVID-19, the chance of them spreading it (or becoming severely ill themself) is reduced as much as possible.
Do people who have recovered from COVID-19 infection need to be vaccinated?
Yes. This is recommended by the CDC.
This policy is more stringent than that required by my school.
Participation in school is (generally speaking) a right, and the extent of policies that are appropriate or enforceable for it is different than the extent of policies for participation in an optional extracurricular activity that involves significant travel and contact with people from dozens or hundreds of other schools from around the country. For such activities, NAQT believes that a higher bar for safety is appropriate.
This policy is unfair to minors whose parents will not permit them to be vaccinated.
While NAQT is very sorry to hear of such cases, we believe it would be unfair and irresponsible to people who have been vaccinated to endanger them by permitting unvaccinated people to participate.
The choice not to be vaccinated does not just affect the person making the choice and the person for whom the choice is made. Rather, it results in a significantly increased danger for the people around the unvaccinated person, and choices that result in significantly increased danger are not acceptable at NAQT’s tournaments.
Requiring proof of vaccination will not ensure vaccination status because vaccination cards can be forged.
NAQT acknowledges that vaccination cards can be forged. However, use of a forged vaccination card is a federal crime, and NAQT will report any known cases of forgery to all applicable authorities. Furthermore, the participation agreement for the tournament includes an additional attestation as to vaccination status, including specific (and significant) penalties for falsification of vaccination status.
NAQT strongly hopes that no one would sink so low as to commit a federal crime, put their school’s entire quiz bowl program at risk, endanger others, and abrogate their own integrity for the sake of participating in quiz bowl.
What about spectators who are too young to be vaccinated (such as younger siblings of players)?
People who are not vaccinated are not permitted at the tournament, even if their reason for not being vaccinated is that they are too young.
How can coaches address this policy in contexts in which they are not allowed to know their players’ vaccination statuses?
NAQT has developed some suggestions for coaches navigating this process. We cannot guarantee that they will work in all cases, but we’re doing our best. It is definitely possible for a coach to bring their team to a national championships without finding out which of their players are not vaccinated, though it is impossible to prevent them from knowing which of their players are vaccinated, since everyone at the tournament must be vaccinated.
Are boosters required?
No, but they are very strongly recommended for all participants who are eligible for them.
Is the vaccination requirement the only COVID-19 safety measure? Will masks be required?
NAQT will implement several additional COVID-19 safety measures, including the use of masks. More information is available on each tournament’s details page.
If you have a question or concern not addressed above, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.