FRC COVID-19 Update: 05-13-2020 (All 2020 Events CANCELLED, Infinite Recharge to be REPLAYED in 2021)

Update 5/13/20

Dear friends, colleagues & partners,

On March 12, with the health and safety of our community as our top priority, we announced the difficult decision to suspend the remainder of the 2019/2020 FIRST season. Since then, we’ve worked with Program Delivery Partners and many other members of the FIRST community to evaluate the impact of the rapidly evolving pandemic and we have worked through many of the complicated issues surrounding the suspended season. As part of this effort, we have evaluated conditions required for resuming mass gatherings, logistics for event planning, impact of school closures, ability for teams, mentors, and volunteers to participate, and what accommodations could be offered to teams that faced severe disruption in their season. As we all realize, this is a dynamic process with new information added to our knowledge base each day.

Season 2019/2020 Status for all Programs

Based on widely varying, projected conditions of the pandemic for the next few months, all previously suspended FIRST Robotics Competition regional and district events are now cancelled. The pandemic, to a much lesser extent, also disrupted portions of the FIRST LEGO League and FIRST Tech Challenge FIRST RISE season in some regions, and we have concluded that resuming suspended physical events for these programs is not possible at this time. Additionally, we cannot currently support the planning or execution of off-season FIRST RISE events. We are just as disappointed as you are, but the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic are beyond our control.

Refunds and Vouchers for FIRST Robotics Competition

We recognize that there are many extenuating circumstances as a result of this season’s disruption. While the Team registration fees are non-refundable after a team receives the Kickoff Kit as stated in the FIRST refund policy (as described in the 2020 FIRST ROBOTICS COMPETITION REGISTRATION PRICING STRUCTURE AND PAYMENT TERMS at the time of registration), FIRST Robotics Competition teams that had no official game play at all, due to the suspension of the 2020 season, will receive a $1,000 voucher that can be applied towards their initial Team Registration for either the upcoming 2021 or 2022 seasons.

FIRST Robotics Competition teams may have also registered for additional event plays, including District Championships, that will no longer occur. As a result, FIRST will provide a limited exception to our refund policy for additional event fees and provide full refunds for unplayed FIRST Robotics Competition Additional Regional Events, Additional In-District Plays, Additional Inter-District Plays, and District Championship event fees to the original payers (team, sponsor, grantor, etc.).

2021 Season Impact for FIRST Robotics Competition

The ongoing impact of the pandemic presents significant and unprecedented challenges for all, including our community. Recognizing these challenges, including the need to minimize team total participation costs, and the fact that nearly half of the FIRST Robotics Competition Teams were unable to play the 2020 game due to the disruption of the season, FIRST has determined that the 2020 INFINITE RECHARGE game will be replayed for the 2021 FIRST ® GAME CHANGERSSM, powered by Star Wars: Force for Change season. Over the next few months the Game Design Team will be looking at adjustments to the game, all of which you will learn about at Kickoff in 2021.

Engagement Options for all Programs

While we are disappointed that we will not be able to physically come together in the coming months, we will continue to develop opportunities to stay connected and engaged remotely. For example, we are developing solutions for the FIRST ® GAME CHANGERSSM season to help teams participate in FIRST programs in the way that works best based on local conditions. In the meantime, we’ve created FIRST @ Home to offer a curated collection of no-cost creative activities and resources for online learning, skill building, FIRST -supported activities, and more. We will continue to add, create, and feature amazing content from FIRST and our friends and partners. We’re also working on an interim engagement platform for FIRST LEGO League for use primarily in regions where the season was most significantly disrupted.

Looking to the Future

We are doing our best, like all of you, to stay up to date on the evolving impact of the pandemic, listening carefully to global, regional, and community-based guidance, while planning for the future. We will continue to provide information as it becomes available, and when the world is ready to reconvene in person, we will be too! No matter what state we’re in for the FIRST ® GAME CHANGERSSM season, we will focus on finding ways to continue delivering our programs and what we do best. It may not look the same as in the past, but we’re here for all of you to make it happen.

Make sure to mark your calendars for May 15th, when we will reveal the exciting new FIRST LEGO League sets to give you a taste of what’s coming next season, with additional updates for FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST Robotics Competition in the coming weeks and months.

Sincerely,

The Team at FIRST HQ

FAQs on Cancellation of 2020 FIRST Robotics Competition Play

  1. Will we get a refund for our Team Registration fee?

The Team registration fees are non-refundable after a team receives the Kickoff Kit as stated in the FIRST refund policy at the time of registration. However, teams that had no official game play will receive a voucher for $1,000 that can be applied towards their initial FIRST Robotics Competition Team Registration for either the 2021 or 2022 season.

  1. We only got one of our two initial district event plays, will we get a voucher for 2021/2022?

Vouchers are issued to teams that had no official game play during the season. Teams that played at one of their two District events are not eligible for a voucher.

  1. We paid for an additional play at a now-cancelled event, will we get our event fee returned?

Event registration fees for unplayed additional events will be refunded. If the event was paid for by check, purchase order, or credit card, the refund will go to the original payer. If the event was paid for by a grant restricted to event registration, the refund will go back to the sponsor (grantor). If the event was paid for by an unrestricted grant, the refund will show as a credit balance for the team in their dashboard.

  1. How will the unplayed additional event refund amount be determined?

Each team’s registration history will be reviewed to determine the refund amount. Order of play does not matter, only the overall number of unplayed events beyond that covered by Team Registration (1 Regional event for traditional teams, and 2 District events for District teams). In a few instances where an outstanding balance still exists, the refund will only be equal to the paid amount.

Example One: Traditional Team paid for Team Registration and One Additional Regional Event. They only attended one regional event. The refund to the payer would be $4,000 for the unplayed additional regional event.

Example Two: Traditional Team paid for Team Registration and One Additional Regional Event. They did not attend any events. The refund to the payer would be $4,000 for the unplayed additional regional event. The team would also receive a $1,000 voucher for their 2021 or 2022 registration

Example Three: District Team paid for Team Registration, One Additional Regional Event, and an inter-District Event. They only attended one In-District event and did not attend the Regional nor Inter-District Events. The refund to the payer would be $5,000 ($1,000 for the inter-District event and $4,000 for the Regional event) for the unplayed additional events.

  1. Will District Championship fees be refunded?

District Championship fees will be refunded to the original payer. In a few instances where an outstanding balance still exists, the refund will only be equal to the paid amount.

  1. When will refunds and vouchers be processed?

Due to the time required to research and process payment details, it may take a few months to process all the specific refunds. Significant effort will be made to process the refunds as quickly as feasibly possible. Team lead mentors will receive additional information regarding refund and voucher status as soon as possible. Please note that our Customer Service and Finance support staff will not be able to provide additional refund or voucher details during this processing period. We thank you in advance for your understanding.

  1. We loaded in at an event that was suspended before play – does that count as official game play?

Events that were suspended prior to play do not count towards official game play.

  1. How will the 2021/2022 voucher be applied?

We are still working on details on how the voucher will be visible to teams and applied to their future FIRST Robotics Competition Team Registration. We will share more information on the voucher process before season registration opens for the next FIRST Robotics Competition season in September.

  1. What about off-season events?

Given the state of the pandemic we cannot support the planning, promotion, or execution of off-season FIRST RISE events using district-owned or HQ-owned equipment or game elements.

  1. Will rookie status for teams carry over?

Yes, rookie status for teams, regardless of whether teams played in 2020, will be extended to 2021. This means these teams will be eligible for Rookie awards and the District points available to Rookies. Also, District teams that were second year teams in 2020 will receive their 5 District points for that designation in 2021.

  1. Will new team status for grants carry over?

As in typical years, each sponsor may have different requirements for their grants. FIRST HQ will encourage grantors to carry over Season 2019/2020 team status, but the ultimate granting requirements will follow the donor’s intent.

  1. What about awards that have not yet been determined (event judged awards)?

We have decided to proceed with awarding District Championship Chairman’s Awards. Districts are sharing more information about this. However, no other awards for the 2020 season will be presented.

  1. We qualified for FIRST Championship in 2020 from an INFINITE RECHARGE event/award. Will our qualification carry to 2021?

We are still evaluating this and will provide details as soon as they are available.

  1. We qualified for the 2020 FIRST Championship for an accomplishment in 2019. Will that get carried forward to 2021?

As with qualifications from 2020, we are still evaluating this and will provide details as soon as they are available.

  1. What will the 2021 Registration fee be for replaying INFINITE RECHARGE?

One of the goals of replaying INFINITE RECHARGE is to reduce the overall participation cost for FIRST Robotics Teams. Registration fees for participating in the 2021 version of the game have not yet been set, but FIRST will be exploring a variety of potential actions for reducing overall team participation costs, including registration fees. We will share more information on registration fees prior to team registration and event preferencing in the fall.

  1. Can we keep working on our 2020 robot between now and Kickoff 2021 and use some or all of it in the 2021 season?

Yes, you can keep working on your robot and you will be able to use it or portions of it in the 2021 season. The rules that had prohibited this activity in prior seasons are being re-written for 2021 and will be published shortly.

FAQs for FIRST LEGO League and FIRST Tech Challenge

  1. How do I determine the status of events in my region?

Please contact the local Program Delivery Partner in your area to determine the status of events in your region.

  1. Does this impact remote events and online activities such as the Global Innovation Awards?

During periods of social distancing measures, FIRST has transitioned events with physical gatherings to an online event experience. These remote events and activities are not impacted by this decision.

  1. Will refunds or vouchers be issued for FIRST LEGO League or FIRST Tech Challenge registration or events?

Team registration fees are non-refundable. Although the vast majority of events were completed for these programs, any questions about event fees should be directed to the local Program Delivery Partner in your area.

  1. We qualified for FIRST Championship in 2020 from a FIRST RISE season event/award. Will our qualification carry to 2021?

We are still evaluating this and will provide details as soon as they are available.

  1. What does the upcoming season look like?

We are doing our best, like all of you, to stay up to date on the evolving impact of the pandemic, listening carefully to global, regional, and community-based guidance, while planning for the future. We will continue to provide information as it becomes available, and when the world is ready to reconvene in person, we will be too! No matter what state we’re in for the FIRST ® GAME CHANGERSSM season, we will focus on finding ways to continue delivering our programs and what we do best. It may not look the same as in the past, but we’re here for all of you to make it happen.

Make sure to mark your calendars for May 15th, where we will reveal the exciting new FIRST LEGO League sets to give you a taste of what’s coming next season, with updates for FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST Robotics Competition in the coming weeks and months.

51 Likes

Infinite Recharge 2 Electric Boogaloo

74 Likes

Did I just renew my faith in HQ? Yes, yes I did.

75 Likes

Wow. I wasn’t expecting this but this is amazing.

2 Likes

Was not expecting this ngl

6 Likes

Fantastic move by HQ. This is forward thinking. The economic impact of COVID-19 will mean we all need to tighten our budgets. No better way for the program to do that than to leverage our existing fields, robots etc.

Great job FIRST!

39 Likes

I am ok with this. It will be fun to play a more finely tuned game. The level of competition will be INSANE.

22 Likes

And the plot thickens.

4 Likes

While I think overall this was a good move, letting teams use their entire 2020 bot IMO is not a good move.

8 Likes

As much as I’d love to play a new game next year and get $9000 back, I think this is a good solution to a very hard problem for FIRST. Kudos to HQ.

25 Likes

Next year is gonna get cancelled half way through and then replayed again in 2022. Infinite Recharge is an infinite game.

88 Likes

Im glad this is happening. Im disappointed that I can’t participate in this due to going to a different region for university. Im just going to have to volunteer at the events, and sadly not participate with my team.

This is absolutely incredible! Hopefully we will see the game changed in a way that responds to a lot of feedback from the 2020 season!

4 Likes

honestly no offseason events is the biggest bruh

13 Likes

When they announced that the 2021 theme was Game Changers, I honestly had a feeling that they meant that literally. I’m glad that teams that didn’t get to play Infinite Recharge now have a chance to do so!

16 Likes

10 Likes

254 gets a whole year to work on a bot. That’s a scary thought.

74 Likes

I think I feel…mostly good but also a bit ehh about this. There’s something very fun about getting a new challenge and then working to build the bot around it from scratch, especially during my senior year. But at the same time I understand why they did it. At least the level of competition should be much higher which would certainly make the game more interesting and fun.

9 Likes

Imo this is a terrible decision when you think about the students. Ultimately I know it’s probably easier for FIRST logistically but when the same game is presented with minor adjustments and you can just copy bots that did get to play this year it ruins the whole meaning of a robotics competition. Pairing that idea with the fact that now many seniors this year (many of which were design leads, scouting leads, drivers, ect) Not only didn’t get to participate in their senior season, but now have to know that their team is going to get to play the game they had ripped out from under them. Seniors have already given up a lot of milestones to Covid-19 and this feels like another slap in the face for them.

Overall I know FIRST has its reasoning behind this decision but I don’t know if it’s the right decision.

32 Likes

summer cd is technically over now

102 Likes