FRC Blog

The Coronavirus

Jan 30, 2020 Written by Frank Merrick

 

I’m sure many of you have been following the world-wide news about the new coronavirus, 2019-nCoV.

Based on travel advisories and information from local partners – and with the safety of our community top priority – we are postponing the FIRST Robotics Competition events that had been scheduled in Beijing, China for March until after FIRST Championship. This is unfortunate but necessary given the impact of the virus on local and regional activities. We have reached out directly to currently registered teams impacted by this decision, letting them know their options. We will be doing our best to take care of those teams who are most affected by this unexpected challenge. You can find the email we sent those teams here.

A few other notes:

  • We know teams may be scrambling to pay for their 2nd (and beyond) events by the January 31 deadline. We’re extending this deadline to February 7th for all teams to give them more time to take this new information into account as they make decisions about the season.
  • Given the dynamic situation with the virus, we can’t yet say when the rescheduled events will be, but they will be held after the 2020 FIRST Championship.
  • Our intent is to have the rescheduled China events earn slots to FIRST Championship like the original events would have, even though, in this case, they would be earning slots to the 2021 FIRST Championship. This may sound strange, but a handful of teams (for example, Engineering Inspiration Award winners) already earn spots at the following year FIRST Championship for something they did in the current year. We’re just extending that concept in this very unusual situation. How the slots for the rescheduled events will be structured is TBD.

We will be keeping the community updated as we learn more and decisions are made regarding the rescheduled events.

Frank

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Comments

Will the Chinese teams still be allowed to attend events in the US if they were already scheduled to this year?

Yes. Every registered team that makes it to an event is welcome to participate. Teams should follow guidance from their local and government health officials when making travel decisions, including international travel.

Will Chinese teams travelling to Australia and USA still be allowed to compete in FIRST Competition?

Please see the answer above.

I am glad that one of my co-workers pointed this out to me.  But I'm also very concerned that I did not receive a formal email direct from FIRST since I am in the USA but am registered and confirmed as a volunteer (Judge) for the Beijing Cultural Exchange Event #1.

We apologize for any confusion and have provided a similar communication to volunteers as of today. Please let us know if we can provide further assistance.

Thanks!

Jamee Luce

Team Advocate, FIRST Robotics Competition

I totally understand that the safety of First community members is the first priority of First. However, I don't see the necessity of making the decision to postpone the match to a date that is after the FRC finals right now. As predicted by local authorities, school is likely to reopen at early March, indicating that it would be safe to hold educational activities such as First regional to take place afterwards. Plus, local authorities and experts would be able to make a more plausible prediction this eeek, would not it better the make the decision concerning the First regional events afterwards. I understand that it would be nearly impossible for you to countermand your decision, but I still find it necessary to voice my opinion.

Hello Sam.

Thank you for your comment. Postponing the events was not an easy decision to make, but was based on current information and travel advisories. Postponing rather than outright canceling the events was the best way to minimize any risks to the FIRST community while also helping ensure participation would be possible at a later date.

Thanks!

Jamee Luce

Team Advocate, FIRST Robotics Competition

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