My team is in a similar boat. We had a tough recruiting year for the 2019-20 year, a lot of graduations in 2020 and with our district being fully virtual since the initial lockdown it’s been very difficult for us to retain students. We’re usually a team of 15-30 but this year, we have around 6 students. We’re a team that’s qualified for Champs 4 of the last 5 times it’s happened, this is a once in a century challenge that’s affecting everyone.
Obviously the 2021-22 season will be an enormous challenge but we’re taking this off time and the chance to essentially start from scratch as an opportunity. Over the offseason, we’ll be refreshing our recruiting plans and fall training plans to engage and retain students to come back strong next year.
I would strongly caution you about taking a year off to regroup in 2022. As long as you have a few students and mentors and the funds to get you through the season, recalibrate your competitive goals (maybe wanting to win a regional gets changed to wanting to play in the playoffs) and have the best season you have.
There’s a reason FIRST includes a competition and that’s because it’s inspiring and that’s a major factor that keeps students engaged. I’m worried that by going another year without competing, it will be even harder to recruit and retain students. If you need assistance figuring out funding issues or figuring out a recruitment plan, feel free to DM me, reach out to your FIRST Senior Mentor or post on this forum, the FIRST community is here to help you!
Best of luck for this season and next!