FIRST Robotics Competition Blog

COVID and First Event Preferencing

Aug 19, 2021 Written by Frank Merrick, Director FIRST Robotics Competition




I’m certain many of you have been following the COVID news closely. At FIRST, we have been too. There’s some understandable uncertainty about how things will look in the months to come, so I’d like to give you as much information as I can right now about what we’re up to at FIRST HQ:

  • We’re preparing COVID guidelines for events
    • Given the pandemic impacts different regions in different ways, these guidelines will continue to rely heavily on local conditions and health requirements
    • Every FIRST Robotics Competition event will have COVID information about their specific event posted on their event page at within the ‘Site and COVID Information’ document. We are asking events to keep this document updated as things change
  • We’re reviewing ways to accommodate season disruptions, including what happens if a team is unable to attend an event
    • This does not mean that current policies, including payment policies, will change, only that we are looking at them considering the uncertainties COVID continues to create
  • Plan A continues to be a traditional FIRST Robotics Competition season, i.e., in-person, two-day events for Districts and three-day events for Regionals, and an in-person FIRST Championship, with standard team counts
    • We are working on plans B and C, which could include shorter, smaller events, and, if needed, remote participation activities like what we did in the 2021 season
  • Our plans could include changes to the way we handle some awards
    • Based on community feedback, we have already given Regionals and Districts the option of doing Dean’s List interviews remotely, with interviews taking place within the week before the event
      • Districts that chose this option must do so for the entire District, not event by event, to maintain consistency within a District
      • The decision to allow this choice was not driven by COVID, but by community feedback
      • Community feedback did not support doing Chairman’s Award interviews remotely, so that is not currently an option, though this may change
      • FIRST will publish a list of all events/Districts that have chosen to do Dean’s List Award interviews remotely in December.

We want to give teams as much finalized information as we can before event preferencing opens to assist them in their decision-making. Because of this, we are rescheduling the opening of first event preferencing; it will be open from October 14th to October 20th. This will give us more time to work on the issues above, and more time for the field to identify event venues and dates. We can’t promise we will have all the information above locked in by event preferencing, but having more time increases that likelihood. Note: other dates, such as second event preferencing and drive-base opt-outs will be changing as well. We will have more details for you about those shortly. At this point, we are not changing any team grant application deadlines. Please get those applications in on time! And please see the team grants page for some of the grants available.

Looking over what I’ve written so far, this seems like lots of doom and gloom. I don’t mean it to be! I’m still looking forward to an amazing season and hopefully seeing you in person! We’re just taking the necessary steps, considering the uncertainties we all currently face. Stay safe.


Back to Blog


I am certain about finding grant for the FRC in Lesotho(SteamLes 8136).  As a mentor ,i am looking forward to start the season in full force ,as soon as the competition start, however the delaying of finding sponsors for the toolkit for this new season has been an abstacle.

i am looking forward for your consideration.


If you'd like any help applying for grants, 2168 has a grant writing team who would be happy to assist. Our contact email is on our website


Hi - You can find available team grant opportunities at If you have questions about a specific grant, please reach out to Thank you and good luck this season!

Add new comment