PNW FRC Difficult Decision to postpone

Hello everyone,

The health and safety of teams, volunteers, and staff are our top priority. This morning, FIRST Washington and ORTOP reached the unfortunate conclusion that COVID-19 is an event beyond our control, and in accordance with public health recommendations we must postpone the remainder of the 2020 PNW District events.

We recognize that teams have put an enormous amount of work into preparing, and we regret having to share such disappointing news. At the same time this action is necessary given the specific and multi-faceted impact of COVID-19 in the Pacific Northwest. The FIRST PNW community is going to do its part in helping to reduce the spread of the disease.

In this note, we will summarize the challenges that we are currently facing in being able to provide a safe quality experience for our FIRST community. We will then give you the outline for how we hope to resume events later in this year.

  • The decision to postpone was made in discussions with FIRST Washington, ORTOP, and FIRST in New Hampshire. Our primary concern is always the health and safety of our participants and our volunteers.

  • Throughout this challenge, we have followed recommendations from local health departments, the CDC, and the districts involved in our events. The situation has evolved very quickly over the past several days.

  • Last week, based on King County health department guidance, we cancelled the Auburn Mountainview and Auburn High School events. In the following few days, many school districts began limiting after school activities. This impacts over half of our PNW FRC teams.

  • Washington and Oregon governments have declared states of emergency regarding COVID-19.

  • We are receiving a lot of feedback from teams, parents, and district policies that indicate a desire to limit activities across all states.

  • Due to the rapidly developing situation, decisions about the viability of events are being made on very short notice causing teams to scramble to make alternative plans.

  • This is not unique to the PNW district, we were just the first region to deal with this in the U.S.

Looking forward, we have very little clarity about the availability of venues, changes to health department recommendations, and the wide ranges of district policies about participation and how they are going to evolve. To be certain, we have and will continue to follow very conservatively the recommendations of health departments and the CDC.

Given all of the challenges faced, we believe it is in the best interest of everyone in our PNW district that we postpone the remainder of events until later in the year. Over the coming weeks, we will develop and share our plan to host remaining events as soon as possible. We will be reaching out to teams individually, and will share more information to our FIRST community as it becomes available.

Thank you for your understanding.

  • FIRST Washington and ORTOP on behalf of the PNW FRC District
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Well this sucks

Big pepega

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This was a fun first build season for me, sad it has end so soon. Hopefully this disease dies down over the summer. Cya at any offseason events!

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What’s the current* plan regarding PNW teams and worlds?

*obviously, a lot of this is up in the air and subject to change, but I’d still like to know what the present plan is

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This is an unfortunate, but necessary conclusion. I do not envy those who had to make this decision.

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Postponed to when?

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As a member of a team that may have their regional cancelled very soon, I sincerely hope this is the case for not only PNW but for all other events. I know that members are frustrated that their hard work may go to waste for this season. Thank you for making this tough decision, and I hope we can find the optimal solution.

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Thanks for your support! If there is any sort of silver lining, can you imaging the level of competition that might occur with district championships being held in the fall? Teams will be able to work on their robots over the summer. It will be epic!

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You guys understand that it’s too early for them to be able to give you an answer to this, right?

@KevinRo you guys should note that your actions now may affect other districts as well. Please be thorough and thoughtful with how you plan the next move. I’m sure other districts will look to you for guidance on next steps.

If teams are unable to attend postponed events, will they be given a full refund? This is a very important question for many teams right now.

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We hope to do something late fall. We don’t know exactly, but we don’t see anything before September. Might be in October. Not sure yet, we will develop a plan soon.

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Having a DCMP in the fall would let there be a very high level of competition. However a lot of the seniors on all the teams unable to compete wouldn’t be able to go to those comps since they could be out of state for college

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So are competitions cancelled until further notice? Including Bellingham and stuff

I am afraid nothing we can do about that. We will allow current team members who graduate this spring to participate next fall as full team members if they wish.

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Hard to hear this news… Thanks for being, well, who you are, and (with the host of others…) able to make these difficult choices.

Hope to see everyone on the carpet as soon as we can.

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Yes. All PNW district events are postponed until later in the year. Be thinking fall on that. We don’t have a full plan yet.

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^ I would be interested in seeing a summer / very late spring dcmp, if we could make it work. Our team would 100% be willing to have students fill volunteer roles to make up for many volunteers being busy/ out of town

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Would the whole season be reran, ignoring the results from the 3 events that happened, or would it be chosen to have those 3 events still count?

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I very much hope this is something other districts and regionals follow suit on.

Will any webinars (like the ones for pre-comp/dcmp/worlds) be held about this, and will they be public for viewing?

We currently plan that the standings as of today will carry forward.