CHS Announces Single-Day 18 Team FRC Events

CHS sent out this email "we have decided to plan to hold smaller (18 team) single-day FRC events that can be scaled based upon the most current health and safety guidelines. "

As stated in the email I am assuming we will hear more clarification and to see how it impacts other regions later today.

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Nice scoop, CHS!

Edit: link to Frank’s Blog.

Salient Quote

We still have many details to work out, but the information above constitutes the bones of these events as we are thinking of them right now.

Proud of this accomplishment by CHS leadership. Triple Helix is looking forward to these events.

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Can you explain the safety benefit of a single day event as described in Frank’s blog? I’m missing something.

David

Fewer teams = fewer people = fewer infections even if all other safety measures fail. Also faster to shut down.

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You can run 2x 18 team events in one weekend, rather than 1x 36 team event. This caters to the same quantity of teams, while keeping the daily attendance numbers lower to help mitigate the risk of the cross-community spreader events.

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OK. But an individual team could play Saturday and Sunday. Key volunteers, unless you have two complete sets, will still encounter a full set of teams.

Only a few areas are doing this.

To me this seems random.

David

We don’t know if this will be permitted yet. Certainly an individual team cannot list both days as their top priority in the event preference system, so it allows a greater pool of teams to register than a single smaller sized event (which is the alternative when considering venue capacity limits).

True, but lower attendance figures allows for greater social distancing and fewer overall interactions. Presumably these events will also take efforts to limit KV exposure, similar to the methods implemented at FMA offseasons.

Then I’m glad you’re participating in this conversation so perhaps it won’t seem so random to you.

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Another factor here is total number of people in the building at once. Let’s just say:
18 teams/day; 20 people/team; 2 days…

That’s 360 people the volunteer interacts with on day 1, and potentially a new set of 360 people on day 2 (+whatever event personnel they interact with on both days).

However, that also means you have well under 500 people in the building each day instead of closer to 1,000 for the weekend. Easier to distance, easier to contact trace, easier to conduct symptom screenings or other added check in measures, and potentially more compliant with local rules.

I do agree that there is some randomness to who seems to be implementing this new protocol, and based on some recent developments (iykyk) and speculation, I remain a bit disappointed that FIRST has not set some more standards on a global level. I am, however, happy to see that some local leadership is taking this seriously and thinking of innovative approaches and that HQ is supporting these innovative approaches.

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David, some teams I talked to have stated they cannot stay overnight for events, due to having a larger team. i.e. kids packed in hotel rooms, etc.
I think this might help some of those teams coming from farther places to deal with logistic issues vs. the traditional multi-day events.

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(bold mine) I thought we did — am I misinterpreting this note in the blog post?

I suspect it’s mostly:

  1. Facilitating social distancing by having only half the teams in the venue at once
  2. Potentially relieving some of the strain on finding suitable venues
  3. To a lesser extent limits on exposure time and contamination pool size (pool size is likely mostly about social distancing ability, I’d think)
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This is a huge internal conversation for us right now. We are looking at attending an off-season 2 hours away and considering meeting at 5:00 every morning for the drive. Single day events would be a game changer for our ability to participate in the season.

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Some compiled thoughts about all this:
.

2022 will be the first full season of FRC without the bag & tag rules. Together with the change to these one-day events, FIRST Chesapeake teams will need to acknowledge that we’re entering a new mode of competition akin to the switch from Regionals to the District Model.

I would expect FIRST Chesapeake to begin their occupancy of these 2 fixed event locations beginning in mid-late February. This way, they can begin setup of the playing field as soon as they receive it from FIRST HQ. This allows us to actually begin field debugging in earnest significantly before other districts. (In past seasons, we have lost many hours of playtime from Day 1 of our Week 1 events, because the competition field was missing parts or needed troubleshooting).

We should also be able to leave the field set up between event dates. This removes an enormous volunteer workload. It also provides an opportunity for teams to visit the facilities for informal free practice on the playing field on weeknights between event dates. I hope FIRST Chesapeake will allow this. Since the practice venue is the same as the competition venue, we’ll be able to do accurate camera calibration at these practice opportunities.

HQ allowing this program deviation demonstrates FIRST Chesapeake’s growing sense of ownership for local program execution, and strengthening advocacy for our local teams.

Why is FIRST Chesapeake doing this?

Ultimately we have to reckon with the fact that we are attempting to play a shoulder-to-shoulder indoor sport during a pandemic. The normal mode of competition is inadequate because of the large number of external dependencies that are out of our control: the government must allow large gatherings, schools must be willing to host the events, sponsors must be willing to be associated with them, participants must be willing to attend them, etc. If we plan for full-scope ~40 team events, we are sealing our fate-- we’ll be faced with a series of binary choices: either hold the event or postpone/cancel it.

Organizations with a singular focus on traditional events, whose sole backup plan is to postpone/cancel, are simply not doing their due diligence.

By planning for single-day events in fixed venues, we are eliminating external dependencies while increasing our operational flexibility. For every point on a spectrum, we’ll be able to select and execute a mode of competition that maximizes our participant impact. For example, we could hold physically-distanced 2v2 scrimmages every night throughout the month of March-- this would provide about 250 play slots for an estimated 90 teams.

Single day events provide a way to gain high confidence in our ability to play FRC (in some form) regardless of pandemic uncertainty.

What's bad about this?

These events will be very fast-paced and we’ll probably get less total playtime than in a normal district season.

We don’t know how the cost structure will work, but (pessimistically) we expect it to be expensive.

The logistics of this season necessarily rewards teams who are located close to the two fixed competition venues, and burdens teams who are far away. The rule that limits judged awards for teams playing back-to-back events is strange and inequitable.

What should be changed to mitigate the bad?

The playing fields should be an order of magnitude less expensive, so we could set up additional fixed venues dotted around the FIRST Chesapeake region.

We should receive these playing fields in mid-December. On kickoff day, teams should be able to visit them at the fixed venues. Teams should be able to continue to visit throughout the build season, enabling in-situ testing, and lessening the need to build game element mockups for home use. Between official events throughout the competition season, the fields should be open for unorganized practice, as well as organized but unofficial play.

The rule that limits judged awards for teams playing back-to-back events should go away.

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Since I don’t it posted yet, dates have been posted with no locations yet besides champs.

03/05/2022 & 03/06/2022
Greater DC #1
Greater Richmond #1

03/12/2022 & 03/13/2022
Greater DC #2

03/19/2022 & 03/20/2022
Greater Richmond #2

03/26/2022 & 03/27/2022
Greater DC #3

04/06/2022 - 04/09/2022
District Championship
Hampton Coliseum

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So according to my count that is 10 total 1 day competitions. Each competition is capped at 18 teams. So does this mean they are expecting only 90 teams to register in CHS(down from 129 in 2019)? Hopefully that’s not the case.

Though, I guess if fields remain setup at fixed locations throughout the season, I’d assume additional competitions could be added pretty easily.

90 total would match what they have now, but even in 2021 there were 96 teams so maybe they’ll add more as more register. There is still another month for teams to register.

Now you’re thinking with portals

Anyone have any theories/inside information on where and what type of venue the locations will be?

I’d assume that it wouldn’t be in a school if it’s left set up all season.

It’ll never happen, but my vote is a dead mall like Landmark Mall. Would be cool to have a field set up in the middle of the main area. And maybe some of the WW84 stuff is still there!

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I have no inside information, but I’ll guess the Arthur Ashe Center and the DC Armory.

I don’t think an Arthur Ashe event is likely because iirc the venue was booked through Richmond schools (Specifically us and 2998 i think), and too my knowledge RPS hasn’t renewed booking for Arthur Ashe. FIRST has had a few events at the Keystone Tractor Museum recently so perhaps itĺl be located there.