[FRC Blog] Volunteer Registration and FIRST Championship Health and Safety Policy

Posted on the FRC Blog, 12/28/2021: Volunteer Registration and FIRST Championship Health and Safety Policy | FIRST

Volunteer Registration and FIRST Championship Health and Safety Policy

Dec 28, 2021 Written by Frank Merrick, Director FIRST Robotics Competition

Volunteer Registration

Volunteer Registration is now open for all FIRST Robotics Competition events, including FIRST Championship! We’d love your help! Want to know how to register as a volunteer? Take a look at this Volunteer Registration System Instructions.

FIRST Championship Health and Safety Policy

Speaking of Championship, I know some of you have wondered about our safety plans for the event in Houston. Please take a look at our recently updated COVID policy for the event. As with everything COVID-related, this policy is very subject to change. If it does, we’ll get the word out quickly so you can stay informed and make appropriate plans.

Less than two weeks to Kickoff! I am excited!


As a vaccinated and boosted healthy 26-year-old who just had to spend Christmas alone in a completely different state than their family while sick for a week with COVID, please get f-ing vaccinated.


The S in FIRST stands for science.

It just so happens the sciences it is referring to are astrology and chiropractic.


Nail in the coffin here

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Embarrassing. I’m proud of FMA for establishing a vaccine mandate for volunteers, and ashamed that HQ isn’t doing the same.

Pro-science organization that’s constantly preaching about taking steps to change the culture. Can’t even establish a vaccine mandate for health and safety at their events. Shocking. I wish Woodie was still around.


As I have been saying, it’s important to show the virus we aren’t afraid of it. Greg Abbott is leading this charge himself based on his experience of what happens to you when you’re afraid of trees.


For those that normally volunteer for championships, did first put out some kind of survey on covid protocol options?

Absolutely disappointing, especially considering this is coming out in the middle of the omnicron wave. I think a lot more of us over the last 2 weeks personally know more people with COVID than before. Requiring vaccines would have been the right step given the current climate.

I’m also worried about mask enforcement, especially in the absence of any vaccine requirement. It would be awful if it was up to teams to police other teams, puts everyone in a bad position.


Not that I’m aware of.

I fear that it would just be “safety theater” all over again to try to enforce a vaccine mandate at the event, as much as I would like to see one. Everything I’ve been to that required a vaccine card check to get in the last few months has not even checked against my ID to prove that it was my card (or photo of card in all cases), and I am also sorry to say that those things look easy to make a fake copy.

Well if that’s the case then FIRST must have been told what the policy is going to be. Otherwise I think a survey would have been in order to determine potential volunteer feelings towards working the event given different protocol scenarios.

Chezy Champs required only proof of vaccination and they checked both ID and card. Beach Blitz required either proof of vaccination or negative test, and also checked ID with the proof. Both seemed to work well, and at this moment I don’t know of any cases at either event.

Even setting the tone for vaccination helps. I know of some folk who got vaccinated just to go to Chezy Champs. A few individuals commiting fraud and faking a vaccine card to get in might happen, but this would dramatically increase the safety of the event for all participants.

I don’t think it is saftey threater if it makes things safer and is possible to actually do.


They could make the vaccination check happen during the registration process. At Champs you already can’t get in without your badge anyway; no badge if you’re not registered; no registering unless you’re vaccinating by uploading a copy of your vaccination card seems like it would not be that hard to implement/add to the existing registration process. Also since this could be done ahead of time maybe screening or a double check of the cards people upload could be done.

That said, every place I have been to in Chicago that checks for vaccine has required me to present my photo ID along with it.


I am glad to hear that is happening some places, because it’s definitely not been my experience! Of course, my state tops the rather sad leaderboard for COVID deaths per capita so it’s probably not surprising that we don’t know how to even enforce vaccine mandates at events properly, here.

No vaccine requirement is wild.

Chezy Champs required vaccine proof from all attendees. The event went great and our team appreciated the effort from everyone involved to provide and verify proof of vaccination.



I have never had to show my vaccination card for any reason for anywhere I’ve went in the last two years except when I went to get my booster shot.
There’s a lot of places around the country that just aren’t requiring it.
Has anybody heard that they’re regional event is requiring proof of vaccination?

Same for when I was in Portland earlier this year.

(that mumbling you’re hearing is me saying there’s solutions for this problem that exist and could be deployed easily)


Can’t say I’m too surprised or upset. These are similar protocols that a lot of schools have.

Same @snoman, I came close to thowing my card out after getting vaxed, but my wife made me put it in the safe. It feels like the card is a bigger deal now than when I got it, but it still hasn’t needed to come out since then.

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Yes, we are planning on attending the Orange County regional and received an email with their proof of vaccination requirements.


And I want to clarify that this requirement is one of the only things that has convinced my school to allow us to travel to the event. All discussions around the possibility of attending Champs were assuming that there might be some hope of vaccination requirements on-site. That is now proven to be false, and thus its the nail in the coffin for us this year.

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My understanding is that FMA is requiring it if volunteers.

Volunteered in 2018 and 2019, nobody asked me (though I did send Frank an email with my unsolicited two cents).

Yeah, this. Proof of vax was not a big deal for check-in at Chezy Champs. If there’s an EDI angle to make that vax-or-test, fine.

I haven’t canceled my hotel for Houston yet, but I’m not rushing to book a flight or register to volunteer right now either.