Covid policy discussion

Free Spirit Alliance (FSA) COVID Policy

(Updated 06/19/2024: Craig Setti, FSA Medical Department)

Pursuent to a request from the FSA Executive Board, and under the oversight of the FSA Board of Trustees, the FSA Medical Department has reviewed the existing organizational COVID policy currently being followed at FSA sponsored events. The policy has been found to be significantly out of date with current COVID science and policies employed within both the public and private sectors. As such, the proposed FSA COVID policy is being proposed to be updated as follows below. Upon review by the Executive and Trustee Boards, this proposed updated policy will be submitted for a Membership review and vote in order to become the official FSA COVID policy. Please direct any questions related to the wording or science behind this proposed policy update to

The proposed policy:

The Free Spirit Alliance (FSA) COVID policy protects the Free Spirit Gathering (FSG) Community through actionable illness screenings and education during Festival via the FSG Medical Department, by holding programming outdoors whenever possible, by ensuring ventilation for official indoor programming, and by having a mask mandatory cabin as an option (Cabin M). While FSA recommends current vaccinations and boosters, they are not required as they do not prevent transmission of COVID to risks to the community, but rather reduce the probability of individual transmission cases requiring acute care. Attendees are encouraged to use N-95 or equivalent masks (not supplied by FSG/FSA) as desired for their personal protection, however wearing masks is not required at Festival except in Cabin M and as directed by the FSG Medical Department. 

By registering, all FSA event attendees acknowledge that:

  •  Virus spreading at all types of large gatherings is inevitable to some degree, and thus accept potential exposure as an informed decision;
  •  If an attendee exhibits signs and symptoms of COVID on site as confirmed by the FSG Medical Department at any time, that such attendees must don a mask (surgical or better, no cloth masks) and get a COVID test performed immediately. Failure to wear a mask or get tested in such a scenario, will mandate that the attendee in question be escorted off site immedtely. If an attendee tests positive for COVID with corresponding signs and symptoms exhibited, they will be required to leave the Festival, yet will be eligible for a refund if the Lead Coordinator confirms such funds are available in the Festival budget.

The proposed policy rationale and specifics:

The Free Spirit Alliance (FSA) recognizes that the COVID virus variants currently circulating and evolving with the global and regional world populations, are, and will remain, a long term challenge and moving target for effective management by governments, organizations, and individuals. 

Initial vaccines and boosters have expired and become outdated. Receiving updated boosters will be an ongoing annual option, yet have a very mixed reception by the public at large as COVID virulence continues to decrease, even as it maintains or even increases its infectious efficacy. Further, vaccines and boosters have no meaningful reduction of virus transmission risk. Their benefit is that they can significantly reduce the possibility of an infection from becoming severe, and requiring acute care. 

Utilization of masks by the public as a containment management strategy has been cancelled at every level of society, even within healthcare institutions outside of sterile environments and science based infectious protocols. Social distancing is no longer a functional consideration employed in any meaningful sense, and large populated events are accepted as unavoidable spreader opportunities for viruses+ (which in fact they have always been). 

For logistical, personal, scientific, and political factorsr+ that exist beyond the enforceable scope of governments and organizations, there is no functional heard immunity for COVID, and the burden of COVID management and protection now rests upon the individual. 

The individual can access numerous tools and levels of assistance to safeguard their health and allievate concerns of COVID consequences, including vaccines, disesase managing medicines, social distancing, ventilation considerations, personal utilization of a properly fit N-95 or equivalent mask, proper management of existing health conditions (especially ones effecting immune health), and overall wellness lifestyle pursuits.

As an organization, FSA will support individual management of COVID+ concerns by the taking the following steps at its events:

  • FSG Medical will be notifed by Festival Coordinators of anyone showing active signs and symptoms of a potential infectious illness. FSG Medical will have the final authority to clear an attendee or deny any attendee access to/continued participation in the Festival if they are deemed to increase an infectious risk to the FSG community. In such instances, potential refunds are dependent upon available funds, they are not guaranteed.
  • FSA will have a COVID management informational resource handout available at the FSG Registration gazebo.
  • While not applicable to COVID per se, FSA will make alcohol based hand sanitizing gel availble a several locations throughout the camp.
  • FSG Medical will offer a service to inspect the fit of any N-95 or equivalent mask/respirator for any attendee as requested. Please note, the FSG/FSA will NOT be suppling masks to attendees, each attendee is responsible for their personal access to appropriate masks.
  • FSG will have a mask mandatory Cabin M available to attendees to register for as their housing option. This cabin will have Festival owned box fans to increase ventilation on top of the cabin ceiling fans, and anyone entering that cabin must have a mask on at all times (including sleeping), except when in the shower or brushing their teeth. All eating must be done outside of that cabin. Note that for all other cabins, the ceiling fans and windows are considered acceptable for ventilation requirements. Attendees are welcome to bring additional fans as desired as long as the use of such does not compromise other aspects of the Fesival experience (as determined by the Festival Coordinators).
  • Any FSG official programing done indoors will have box fan based ventilation support. The dinning hall will have AC fan ventilation during meal times, in addition to having the outdoor dining area option.
  • FSG will notify Festival attendees post Festival via email if any diagnosed cases of COVID are reported to FSA.