COVID Spread Amongst Competitions

The inevitable…

What is the spread like and what are events doing to track, notify, and alert volunteers (especially key volunteers), and teams this year?

For reference, the Texas competitions there is no mask mandate, most of the teams and volunteers choose not to wear masks and there is no vaccine mandate.


I’ll contribute since I’m participating and volunteering this year - FIRST Canada has made masks mandatory at all Ontario events, not sure about anything outside of the district. Haven’t been asked for my vaccination slip so I’m assuming that’s not mandatory.

I haven’t heard anything about a reporting protocol, but I would assume if someone lets the VC know they got sick afterwards, they’ll let us all know.


COVID? What’s that? Nothing special! I attended a funeral late January and the funeral home did absolutely nothing to mitigate any disease transmission. Nobody cares! I was the only one with a mask. I was in the building a total of 25 minutes and I and several others caught it. The good news is my Doctor assured me I wasn’t going to catch it again in March and I survived our weeks 1 & 2 competitions without illness (and very few others wore masks).

Nothing mandated in FMA either; at our event most people did not wear masks - but thankfully I also noticed zero comments about my, or other MidKnight Inventors’, choice to wear one. We’ll monitor our team between now and our next events, but as far as I am aware there is no tracking planned within our region for overall COVID transmission.


Likewise! No one fussed at me either, if someone did I would be very angry and disappointed in the VC’s and event directors

1 Like

I think in general, competitions will likely mirror what society at large is doing in the area. In many areas of the US right now, my impression (with admittedly relatively few data points) is that contract tracing is nonexistent, there are no vaccine or testing requirements (with rare exceptions), masks are (with rare exceptions) optional, masks are not widely worn, but it’s not unusual to see at least some people wearing masks, and mask wearing is not commented on one way or another (similar to clothing choice).


I closed this thread a bit ago and got an email within a minute from a mentor on another team at the event we just attended stating he tested positive. He said he feels fine but just wanted to let me know. Not sure if he contacted the venue… is that my duty? Confusing times.

1 Like

I would ask since they told you directly or ask permission to tell the VC/Event director

Agreed. We have been mask free at school for 2 years, only events last year for us that required masks was Worlds and Oklahoma city early on. Rest of events were mask optional.
No one gets picked on for choosing to wear a mask.


What’s the VC supposed to do? I don’t see the point anymore to be honest. If you’re at an event now 3 years later, you should be vaccinated, boosted, etc, and if you still feel nervous, wear a mask.

Unless otherwise instructed I’d rather not burden VC’s with handling even more logistics that they aren’t required to deal with.


While masks offer some protection to the wearer, isn’t their primary goal to protect others? (Guidance and best practices are confusing.)

Our event followed the guidance of the host venue and local health guidelines which was… Nothing needed. No testing, no vaccination requirements, no mask requirements. Not saying I agree or disagree - this was the tournament director’s call. I was not provided guidance for reporting but for my own awareness I plan to test later this week.


Got to admit, I’m surprised this is even a topic this year. Been to many events of various sponsors over the past six months - no contact tracing or masks anywhere to be seen. Didn’t think anyone in this day of vaccines and natural immunity was even really worried about it, and if they are, masks are welcome to be worn.

And I’m in western Washington, which kept the masks, etc longer than most.


We’re now at at least 3 cases of mentors, a symptomatic student, and I’m symptomatic as well (but testing negative). I’ve been mostly mask free for the past several months, but will plan on wearing a mask myself for the majority of the day at future competitions and will encourage my students to as well (by making them easily available). Our bodies immune systems I’m sure are all weaker after months of stress, too little sleep, and not eating as great, and even if it’s not nearly as dangerous as it interferes with my day to day job when I’m sick or wanting to make sure to not get others sick, and there’s not a lot of turn around time between competitions.


One of the key volunteers at the FiT event this last weekend tested positive.

I was wearing a mask all weekend on my doctors advice because I had caught a flu bug which became bronchitis when attending a scrimmage two weekends prior. Back in 2018, I also caught some sort of bug at the first of three weekends I was volunteering and recovered just in time to go work at the second one. I will be wearing a mask for all the events we compete at and that I volunteer at, as a precaution.

1 Like

In Ontario, there is still a mask mandate in place at competitions and at my first event there was a script for all volunteers in the volunteer information package to encourage mask use at the event. In addition, there is a slack for Ontario teams to be able to directly communicate with FIRST Canada staff members.


:wave: Hi, VC for that event, here. This is the first I’m hearing of this, but it’s possible our RD got a message and hasn’t shared that out yet.

Akash is right, though. I don’t think I can add any value to this situation. Emailing 125 volunteers to tell them that a nonspecific time and place they may have been exposed by one or more people they may or may not have come in contact with isn’t helpful at this juncture. Even if we knew of confirmed close contact, most people aren’t going to change their behavior at this point.

I’m guessing Zook got a note because that other mentor knowingly had close contact with him. Seems like that mentor did their due diligence.

We’re all definitely encountering a ton of Covid every day, just like how we’re encountering a ton of a lot of other viruses every day. We’re at a point in the pandemic where things are calm enough that individuals can weigh their personal risk with quality of life. Luckily we’re past the surges in hospitals and extremely contagious variants.

I respect the mask. I respect the attempt to contact trace. And I damn hope you’re vaccinated. But man am I happy to be out of the Covid mitigation business as a VC (“other duties as assigned” at its peak).


I was paying attention to the amount of people I see today wearing masks. Less than 1% of people I saw were wearing masks. In fact I counted just 2.

You might not like what I have to say, but the people are (mostly) over and don’t care about COVID much anymore.

I know most people on my team wear masks when they (or a family member) are sick

That’s probably the most that you can ask from people today.

I coached all of PCH Anderson in an N95. No cross words said, but also it’s South Carolina and COVID is “over”. I keep wearing mine at events because I don’t want to risk going down or taking any part of the team with me. Especially when we have another event in two weeks and have stuff to do.

I saw very few masks on others, even fewer that actually covered the nose and mouth as intended. From all that I’ve read, I would posit that unless you’re wearing a decently-fitted N95/KN95 you’re probably not getting much benefit in a mask-optional environment. The good news is that those are pretty cheap and abundant now. I like the HDX ones from Home Depot.


It would be nice if we had such data tracking for COVID cases at events, but, it appears we don’t.
I do think it is important to notify teams, volunteers, at an event when there are COVID cases reported either during or post event. This will allow people to take what ever additional actions they deem necessary.

I’m older, and do have some additional risk factors. I’ve been vaccinated, and boosted (multiple times) and I still wear a N95 mask at all events (actually in any public enclosed space). No one has said anything negative about it, never had any issue, even here in TX where we can’t mandate masking.

While some would like to believe COVID is over, it is not. People are still contracting COVID, people are still dying from COVID, even some that have been vaccinated and boosted. I’ve lost enough extended family members and friends from it, that I wear a mask at every event. At this point in time, it’s a personal choice to mask or not. However, if we begin to see a trend of increased cases during these events, one might want to re-evaluate that choice.

Steps off his soapbox.


I will say in Israel we had handshakes before the finals at Districts #3 and #4. Was nice to see that pre-COVID tradition back.