FAQ + COVID-19 Updates


We recognize the uncertainty that COVID-19 poses to this event, and we continue to monitor the situation to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all participants. Your safety is our highest priority. The CDC has advised that vaccination is our most effective countermeasure to the virus. After thorough thought and consideration, DISCUS leadership has developed the following COVID-19 protocol in cooperation with CDC guidelines and recommendations.

For the health and safety of our attendees:

  • Attendees will be required to show proof of vaccine, or a valid negative COVID-19 test each day of the conference. (A list of test providers will be provided.)
  • Masks will be provided to all guests and available throughout the conference.
  • Physical distancing will be encouraged: tables and chairs will be spaced out, number of attendees per table will be limited, signage will be present.
  • Proper hand sanitizer stations and hand sanitizer will be provided.
  • A virtual ticket is also available.

To learn more about the vaccine or to find a vaccination location near you, please click here. We will continue to update you on the status of the conference and on any changes to the COVID-19 protocol outlined above as national, local and venue guidelines change. We appreciate your commitment to the health of our industry and of our colleagues. We are looking forward to welcoming you safely and responsibly to the 2021 DISCUS Annual Conference.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email us at [email protected].

Updated 08/16/2021

Due to the ongoing challenges presented by COVID-19 and out of the greatest care for the health and safety of our partners, attendees, exhibitors, staff and community, the DISCUS Annual Conference is planning a hybrid event, comprising both an in-person conference and a virtual conference. This is subject to change, and the most recent updates will be posted here.

Plans for the in-person conference are underway, and we are confident we will deliver a dynamic, enriching and memorable experience. The conference will comprise two and a half days of content along with a tradeshow. Virtual elements will include live and pre-recorded content and a virtual tradeshow. Attendees at the virtual conference will be able to interact with exhibitors and network with their fellow participants. 

A hybrid conference will allow people who, for a variety of reasons, will not be able to join the in-person conference in Austin to participate online. We are introducing the virtual component as an integral part of the conference, but it will have more limited content than the in-person conference. 

Registration fees will be reduced to make the virtual conference widely accessible. Virtual session attendees will be able to join online presentations at scheduled times to pose questions and interact with speakers. The recorded virtual sessions will be available on-demand following the conference. In-person attendees will have access to the virtual conference as well.


If you have a question not listed below, please contact us.

Why does the DISCUS Annual Conference have both a live and virtual component?

The conference is currently scheduled to be a hybrid event (meaning there will be both an in-person conference and a virtual conference) because some people may not be able to travel due to the pandemic or its economic impact. Making the conference more accessible helps DISCUS achieve its underlying mission to unite and advance the industry. 

What is the current status of the event? 

We are continuously monitoring and evaluating the status of COVID-19 across the country, and in Austin, TX, to best determine the extent to which the DISCUS Annual Conference will be affected. We are hopeful that the current rate of vaccinations means we will be able to meet safely in-person while adhering to all CDC, state and local guidelines in addition to health and safety policies established by the venue, the Fairmont Hotel. Should any developments occur, all registered attendees will be notified and updates will be posted on this page.

What are the safety precautions in place?

Regardless of current CDC guidelines, both masks and hand sanitizer will be available to all attendees. Social distancing recommendations will also be incorporated throughout the event space, tradeshow floor, and high-volume areas such as elevator lobbies, and the hotel entrance.

Given COVID-19, why not go fully virtual?

At this point, we are hopeful the in-person conference will take place as planned. However, if circumstances dictate, we will be ready to transition to a virtual format. The good news is that this has little impact on the work currently underway to develop the program. We are actively working with the Fairmont to ensure proper cleaning measures, social distancing and hygiene protocols are followed, along with ensuring masks and hand sanitizer are available for all attendees.

The virtual conference is for people who are certain that they will not be able to travel to Austin. If travel restrictions arise later, changing from in-person to fully virtual will be possible. While we cannot fully replicate the richness, chance encounters and energizing atmosphere of an in person conference, should we go fully virtual, we will do everything we can to make the experience just as rewarding for participants. 

What does hybrid mean?

The DISCUS Annual Conference will be an in-person event with virtual components. This year’s event will be held at the Fairmont in Austin, TX from October 6-8, 2021. If you are registered for the live conference, you will be able to access virtual content after the conference. 

Will masks be mandated? 

A final decision on whether attendees will be required to wear masks throughout the event, will be determined in the coming months, however, masks will be made readily available throughout the event. 

Will there be social distancing mandates? 

A final decision on whether attendees will be required to social distance throughout the event, will be determined in the coming months, however, the current guidelines state that social distancing is recommended. 

Will attendees be able to register for both the in-person conference and the virtual conference?

Attendees who register for the in-person conference will automatically be able to access all virtual content post conference. No additional fees will be charged.

How will the virtual content differ from the in-person content?

The virtual conference will be more limited in terms of content, meaning it will have fewer sessions, but virtual attendees will have access to all exhibitors and virtual networking events. 

What if there is a COVID outbreak again and no in-person event?

DISCUS is monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely in partnership with Fairmont and the city of Austin. If an in-person event is not feasible, DISCUS will pivot to provide the virtual program and exhibit floor in October. 

What if I sign up for the live conference but I have to cancel last minute?

As a courtesy this year, all attendees will be automatically enrolled in Inability to Attend insurance when you register. You will receive a 100% refund of your registration fees, if you are unable to attend the conference due to a reason covered under the policy.

When will registration open?

Registration will go live in April.

Who can I contact with more questions?

For further questions, please contact DISCUS directly at [email protected].