Missed Build Days Due to Weather


#1

Is there any precedent for making up missed build days? Or precedent for not making up days after multiple missed days? Our team is about to miss our 6th build day due to weather tomorrow. I can’t imagine other high school activities not offering any sort of make up after missing an eighth of the season.


#2

Unfortunately, FIRST’s official stance has always been that bag day is bag day, with no very slight exceptions.


#3

Last year we got snowed out on the day of bag day. FIRST gave us permission to bag the next day as soon as possible provided we didn’t work on the robot. We’ve also lost about 5 days this season due to weather. I don’t think any team, affected by the weather or not, would be opposed to adding a few more days to the build season this year but I highly doubt it will happen. If anyone in the thread has a different opinion on this I’d love to hear it. I think it’s a complex issue but thankfully this is the last year anyone will suffer from it.


#4

Unfortunately, we’ve already gotten an answer to this from FIRST. This Reddit thread explains that FIRST has already put down the idea of extending it.


#5

There was a year (2014 I want to say) where FIRST did expanded the withholding allowance as the result of a large number of weather related missed days. I wouldn’t count on that, but if they were to make a compensation for weather days it would more likely be something like that.


#6

The good news is most teams competing at your events are in the same boat! We’ve missed 10 hours of scheduled build over 5 meetings. With tomorrow’s meeting, we’ll have made up 7 of those hours with extraeetings outside of our regular schedule


#7

Weather
I checked with top NASA Meteorologists and they confirmed that once again there will be weather during FIRST Robotics build season. In fact, they promise that there will be weather every single day during build season. Some of the weather will be good, and some of the weather will be so terrible that schools will be closed, travel will be hazardous and you won’t be able to work on your robot. And I can promise that once again FIRST will not be granting build season extensions for weather-related issues. Teams, regardless of location, should be building enough slack in their build season plans to cover unexpected delays, whatever their cause.


#8

Our team tries to build in days during our build season because of weather. We normally take off fridays but because we’ve missed so many we decided to meet on fridays until bag day. We also had some leader meetings on discord to make decisions that we would otherwise make during regular meetings while we’re are out.


#9

This is not totally true. Back in the days of crating robots and having FedEx pick them up one year FIRST did extend the build season by a day or two due to weather. But in that case, a whole lot of FedEx trucks had to get around in the snow.


#10

I can think of 3 times there’s been an extension or other allowance for all teams.
–2003: Weather. When FedEx couldn’t get to most robots in the NorthEast, FIRST extended the deadline by two days to give time for the snow to be cleared.
–2004: KOP issues. That year, the KOP was… well, let’s go with poor packing. There was a big kerfuffle. HQ extended the deadline by two days again.
–2009/2010 timeframe: Weather. This time, FIRST did NOT extend the ship date, or the bag date, but put the Withholding Allowance to 60 lb, double the normal 30 or so. This sparked discussions of “how much is too much.”

Various teams have–individually–received allowances for things like inability to get to their robot to bag it. However, there’s usually an extra hoop to jump through (show paperwork to LRI) and you’re expected to bag immediately when you can get there.

For 2020 and beyond… there will be absolutely no extension, unless the event shifts. That would be because there is no bag day.


#11

Yeah, we’re in Minnesota which sucks, but oh well. At least that part will be relieved next year.


#12

Are you telling me, they’re getting rid of bag day, the year after I graduate?


#13

This was known back in November.


#14

I’m sorry Jon, as a teacher in a high poverty school, this is frustrating to hear. I have been to your school and seen your build space. Saying the weather effects my students the same as yours is simply not the case. I would imagine many of your students have cars they can drive to get to practice. This is the first year any student on our team has had a car. Many of our families don’t even have a car. I don’t fault you, or FIRST for this. It’s the way the world is. But pretending like this extenuating circumstances are the same for everyone just isn’t correct.

FIRST has done very little to tackle the inequity in robotics. When I was at your team’s practice I saw as many mentors in one afternoon there as we have had through our program in the last 5+ years. I’ve reached out to businesses, my professional network, FIRST, basically anyone that I can. It’s difficult, it’s frustrating, it’s heart-breaking at times, but it’s exactly what I signed up for. I’m not trying to play the blame game, or look for a pity party here. I just want people to, mostly FIRST, to stop and think maybe we shouldn’t fire off the canned response of “Most of the teams at the regionals are dealing with the same constraints.”


#15

I think it’s always been understood that FIRST’s program mimics what professional engineers have to go through. At least, that’s always the way I’ve looked at challenges like decreased build time. But it’s important that you understand your limitations and understand what constitutes success for your team and it seems like you’ve done that. I can understand why FIRST’s phrasing would touch a nerve, but keep in mind that on their end it’s the simplest way to explain it. They know that there aren’t any two teams that have the same situation. I wish you guys the best. Good luck!


#16

Here in Seattle we missed Monday & Tuesday due to snow so we scheduled makeups on Friday and Sunday in addition to our normally scheduled Saturday meeting. Now its snowing again, so the school has cancelled Friday/Saturday/Sunday activities, and chances are good for more snow next week.

We will most likely make full use of our withholding allowance & unbag time. I really appreciate how ship/bag day got the last laugh in it’s final year.


#17

I really appreciate how ship/bag day got the last laugh in it’s final year.
Ain’t that the truth!


#18

Thanks Tom. I have also appreciated the real world constraints the deadline represents. Unless you’re on something like the Apollo 13 mission or saving a bunch of trapped kids from a cave it’s not entirely realistic. As a professional engineer I’ve seen ice in Texas extend project deadlines, I’ve seen equipment malfunctions push ship dates and I’ve seen something as entirely predictable as Chinese New Year destroy project timelines. Taking a step back and saying, “this weather has caused more miss time than we’ve ever seen” doesn’t seem incredibly unreasonable. As I stated elsewhere, I don’t even really care if they add make up days. I just hate that we pretend that this doesn’t have the same impact on teams where some schools have students with reliable safe cards to navigate the snow and others have families that rely on bus service that has been suspended due to the weather.


#19

Ross, FIRST is not a level playing field. The fact is, the weather has affected everyone in the area, and everyone has to figure out how best their team can handle it. Some teams will have an advantage over others in this respect - the same way your team will have an advantage over others by attending 2 events this year. 70% of teams in MN are only attending one. I’m worry the weather has hit your team so hard, but by attending two events, in week 3 and week 5, and having 30 lbs of withholding for each event, I’m confident you can still get things working.

For the record, even with making up some time, my team’s schedule has slipped the past two weeks. We had planned to be finished by this weekend, and now that’s looking like it’ll be the middle of next week. I’m just hoping it doesn’t slip further into week-0, as it has the past few years. So having students with reliable transportation doesn’t solve all problems. In fact, it can create problems with trying to add extra meetings - those students are involved in other activities and can’t be in two places at once!


#20

My post was lacking context, so I don’t fault you for the glib response. But allow me to contextualize this. I’ve been at this 10 years and this is the most missed time we have ever had. Our regional director hasn’t seen anything like it in 3 decades. This is a once in a lifetime situation. Furthermore, teaching at a school where nearly all students live in poverty, it is much easier for teams with more means to deal with something like this. At the very least, I’d like to hear FIRST acknowledge “this is difficult, particularly for our high-poverty teams, and here are the things FIRST is doing to address inequality in STEM…”

It is a lot harder to deal with set backs when your students don’t have transportation, the team doesn’t have additional work space, and our small team of mentors is stretched as thin as they can be. I’m not looking for anyone to fix this, but FIRST, and the community at large, understanding and acknowledging it would be a good start.