COVID and New York FRC

With the COVID pandemic ravaging the United States, one of the most heavily impacted states is without a doubt NYS. New York State and specifically the city of New York has seen the majority of cases in the US. So it is fair to ask what will be the effects of this outbreak and subsequent shut down on FRC teams residing in the Empire State.
A large amount of FRC teams reside in NYC. As has been discussed in other threads, a significant amount of these teams had very little in terms of resources even before these whole pandemic started. This area appears to likely remain in shut down for some time. This puts the future of Downstate NY FRC in jeopardy. The Upstate Region is generally better off than there downstate counterparts and are also likely to get out of the shutdown faster (some areas of Central NYS are already beginning to reopen). This likely means that COVID will likely devastate NYC FRC and leave most of Upstate FRC relatively untouched. This would not be anywhere near a as big of a problem as it is but for two factors. A. NYS lacks central leadership and B. New York State still has no funding for FIRST. The bill providing state funding for NYS FIRST Teams has gone nowhere for a while now. If this bill could have been passed beforehand, NYC FRC would likely not be in so much trouble. Let’s hope this pandemic can be the spark of some positive change for NYS FRC and NYS FIRST in general.


There is one angle to this that was not covered in my first post. That is the effects this has on a possible NYS district. Personally, I was not optimistic about districts occuring in NYS before all of this went down. Districts seemed like they were a thing that were that was perpetually a few years away. The benefits of NYS going to a district formula have been discussed at length prior. However, a NYS district was always bogged down by a lack of central leadership and poor Downstate teams for whom travelling is very difficult. I always was of the belief that if serious discussion about Districts was ever going to happen (not just limited to CD discussion threads but actual serious consideration among the NYS FIRST organizations of a switch in models), there would need to be a major jolt. A very serious setback that really drove home the faults in the current Regional system. Let’s face it, a switch to a district model would decrease the power of a lot of people inside the various organizations inside NYS. Something major would need to happen for those people to realize that the current Regional model is unsustainable. This may just be the thing NYS higher ups need to realize that they need to begin consider consolidating into one organization (a major first step in switching to a district model). This pandemic, as I mentioned earlier will also greatly impact the ‘one and done’ teams inside of NYS. They have been a major reason why districts in NYS has never gotten far (not trying to sound accusing, but it is the truth). This pandemic may show these teams the lack of sustainability of the Regional model, and this may serve as a enough of a boost to have said teams begin to consider the District Model. This is still just speculation at this point, but this pandemic might be just the shock needed to begin to consider a switch to districts.

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