Poll: How likely to compete in 2021

One more thing I noticed is that users from countries outside of the U.S. are much more optimistic about the prospects for competitions.
It seems like Taiwan, and possibly other areas, will be able to safely hold competitions in 2021 even without a vaccine.
These competitions, however, would most likely not be official.


I think that remote events will be nearly impossible for teams. This is just do the fact that not all teams have access to a practice field. Take us for example. We have some field elements constructed, but we don’t have room for a full, or even half, field. If we wanted to travel to one, we’d need to leave the state, which I assume the school district would absolutely forbid.

I think we are fortunate to have the space to store field elements in the first place. There are also teams that don’t even have this, and use tape on walls to mark out their goals.

Agreed, remote events in the FTC style would be impossible with FRC.
I’m thinking FIRST might come up with some other remote competition idea.
I personally can’t think of a way to have remote FRC competitions, but FIRST has smarter people than me thinking hard about how to make remote competitions work.

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I have to agree. Every (for-profit) company does its own calculations of the financial risks and financial benefits of bringing people physically back into work, based on its own business model and how much marginal benefit there is for its employees to be in the building vs working from home. I imagine most of Google’s job functions can be done pretty well from home, so they have relatively small downside if they’re conservative about bringing people back in. My company manufactures physical products (deemed “essential”), and a few of our manufacturing lines never closed down at all, and the rest have been gradually coming back up as the company secures PPE supplies and establishes new safety protocols. Tesla’s been fighting the county since the day shelter-in-place started to stay open.

What a particular company decides is an acceptable risk may have little to no bearing on what FIRST should/will consider to be an acceptable risk.

As someone who works in the medical field, from the internal discussions we’re hearing, I could certainly see the feasibility of having competitions come next March, my bigger concern though is that many teams might not get much of a build season, since the various vaccine candidates will likely not start being distributed until December/January, and availability will start out somewhat limited.


At least its the same game (or close to it) for 2021.
I cant imagine a new rookie team starting this 2020-21 SY.

I voted 25-50%. While I think there will be competition in the spring (whether official or not) in some places. I’m more optimist about competitions in the summer or fall like FIRST’s original plan B in 2020 before just canceling the entire season. Things wont be normal until there is a vaccine which like others users have said probably wont be available until Dec-Jan and distribution will likely have some issues.

Really we are still trying to figure out everything about the virus and the rampant politicization around it isn’t helping. Who is to say with much certainty how h spring would be anyway at this rate.

The real variable would be district since they are free to make their own decisions. Even more, is the schools. Will many let even largeish events or even let teams travel?


This take is less “Google has secret knowledge” and more “Google is the kind of group that would make a rational decision with no incentive to rush anyone back before it’s safe”. They’re a business that has no urgent need for physical presence, as neither production nor sales are done with physical storefronts / objects / etc, and so their decisions are just in the manner of safety.

I don’t even think my school will allow us to even have a robotics club this year…

That being said competitions for our team seem highly unlikely.

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Lookin back to March and what I thought would happen nationally I feel kind of foolish for how naive I was. FIRST may be largely a group of competent, caring, and intelligent people, but even this club can’t overcome the levels of terribleness that have been evident in our national response. I’m not taking back my 25% vote yet but that’s only because I’m still foolish, naive, and optimistic


March is on the border for me, if we’re talking fall 2021 I’m pretty darn optimistic things will be open for the most part.

Things are very bad, it’s refreshing some people can see this. I’m optimistic for next year though.

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A curious potential modifier for us… NHIAA is proceeding with sports to some degree this fall. Our district has not said to which degree they are participating, but that could push us in one direction or another. If it goes well, it could pave the way, but I am not so sure it will.

Right now there are no after school extra curriculars/clubs scheduled until maybe december/january or later depending on how the numbers go and what the state does etc etc etc. Plus almost all of our sponsors are “Wait and see” On the bright side we have a finished but not competition tested. Robot locked up in the school So we could show up with something if we are allowed to go to a different school and have the funds and there is no saying yet how that impacts recruiting - we lost half the team due to graduation and not to mention that our district will allow both remote and in person (when safe) students and there are still unanswered questions how that holds true and how many kids can be in the robotics room - if we enforce 6 foot distancing that is about 5-6 persons. So a lot of questions that need to be answered.

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I agree. I have been working on developing practice bots that could be run in teams one person mechanical and one programming to explore systems and learn Java. We can do the same with our competition bot, but that is all contingent on it being safe (and us being allowed) to actually meet.

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If events 100%
If no events 0%

I think we can enter “Game Changers” as is but no events makes it problematical if reality


The odds are really against my team, because even if competitions are held, we have very little hope of getting money, and one of our mentors said they couldn’t do it this year.

I voted 0-1%

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Right now we try it remotely. Its ok with CAD we use grabcad for that and just all the 3DP and assembly is done by mentors (adults). As we are mostly 3DP until recently we had some students with their own printers who helped with the covid effort but are graduated now. So we might be able to distribute our printers to some students (Right now they are at my house) and have them also do some printing and then send a mentor to do porch pickups and drop offs. And then final assembly by mentors at my back porch and garage? Not ideal but better than nothing. Don’t want to loose any sponsors either and don’t have a gap year which could loose us the stipends and the hard fought for room at the school which no one knows what is going to happen. Its not that robotics is being treated like football which is a “the season is a must” and band which is practicing cause its essential to a football game. Guess in stress situations like this the true priorities show. School is for sports and band and a place to provide daycare for the kids. Feels like those are priorities 1,2,3 and then there is a long nothing. Now this is not the “official” 1989 opinion - just mine and it does not make me feel well. Robotics has done lots of great things for its members - besides being fun - has gotten a lot of kids into a lot of great schools with lots of financial aid. The basic message we got is "you have survived on your own for so long and if you figure out a way to continue to do so you might survive covid too - follow the rules and dont expect anything especially with covid going around and the district is having a budget shortfall. But we are talking about getting a new turf field for football… Sorry for the rant

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I am a theatre mentor as well so understand the concern. I have worked in districts that function that way, and for the most part, ours is more balanced and supportive for which I am grateful. The push has not quite yet come to shove, but we shall see. Our team is new and there are many other well-established co-curricular clubs on campus. I know we will not be first on everyone’s list, but we are fortunate to have support from our school and SAU. Time will tell how the year plays out though. I feel we will all need more than support to function safely through the season.

We’re a phase 4 event and things have gotten significantly worse than better. The people in charge of taking on the controlling of this disaster are completely incompetent and keep the people who can actually help from helping. We’ll be lucky if America can ever recover from this.


This is wrong to the extent that Google works with hardware, which isn’t the biggest part of their business, but is significant. I think Jared works for a part of Alphabet that does need some people to work in person.