Team Event Travel and Boarding Covid Protocols 2022?

Many of the district’s (including ours) are planning full 2.5 (or 2) day-long events. For our team, that typically means hotel stays (multiple people per room), eating out together, and frequently, students riding some distance in mentor’s and parent’s vehicles.

After reading some of the recent threads, and thinking about the upcoming season, I have a question for teams.

What protocols have you all considered for your team to keep students safe when travelling to (and staying at) events?

We are considering striving for closer events and not staying in hotels. Also, we have been getting food to go and eating in parks (but that may not be practical in the Winter).

This question actually has been on the front burner of late, and in two time ranges.

Like most everyone else I suspect we have had to curtail outreach visits. We have a new home in the high school, so it is more convenient, easier for us and with overall less Covid concern better to invite a few selected guests to come see us at work in our fall preseason. We have a small number of outreach events coming up at the end of the month (with everything tbd of course). Short range travel and I’m working to get a few more drivers/vehicles OK’d by the District. Less scrunching kids together, shorter drives. We’ve even persuaded a former team parent whose son is a couple years off to college to come out of retirement. He has a good sized vehicle and an even bigger heart, it will be great to have him back in a niche role.

For travel and visitors we follow our Districts current guidelines and converse regularly.

Longer focus we are having ongoing discussions about event selection. Again like most everyone else we are a young team with few seasoned veterans. We’ll do one regional. Travel range will be kept shorter. We can’t really factor in Covid activity because who knows? But it may come to pass that teams are limited to a small contingent, that we can’t pack the usual number into hotel rooms, or even that we have some “commute” down for the day. It looks less likely that commute range for spectators will be a factor but we can hope for that much improvement.

Are other teams also scaling back numbers of events and distances involved? It could have an impact on which events fill quickly and which ones have competitive pools that come up short.

1 Like

We’re about two hours from our nearest regional. Still navigating the hotel situation both internally and with the school, but we also went through the thought exercise of commuting. We already preferred to tailgate in the parking lot at regionals as it’s much cheaper to do a big Sam’s Club run at the start of the event, so that’s no big change for us.

2 Likes

Yes…and as much as I love Duluth that makes a week one event there problematic!

2 Likes

Thank you all for your responses. I was wondering if we were the only ones in this boat. It is nice to know this is something other teams are considering.

One simultaneous advantage and disadvantage of being in New England is that there are multiple events within a two-hour commute. However, most of them are out of state. Some districts are limiting out of state travel.

1 Like

We are choosing closer Regional events this year, easier to cancel or change plans last minute and secure drivers if we need to have some or all kids there and back in one day. Luckily we have a handful of 2-3 hour drive time events to choose from.

Like others, looking for “close” regionals. We have two that are driveable daily. A third is doable as a daily drive, but miserable. Everything else requires overnight stays. In a Mentor Forum post I toyed with the idea of doing 2-3 local regionals and ignoring a potential champs invite to avoid flights, hotels, etc.

We haven’t gotten to event logistics yet… a long way off. But minimizing students in cars they don’t own is a big consideration.

I finally made it to a robotics meeting this week. Not many people there. One thing our teacher coach mentioned, is that travel for students is now limited to two per room, where it used to be four…which ups costs noticeably.

Everything for us is still very much in limbo, however the theme I am seeing right now as we discuss things is that we are trying to minimize unnecessary travel costs (rental vans, hotels, extra meals etc.). Our in city/local event has unfortunately been canceled, but there are still a few events within driving distance the day of (albeit, leaving at 5am and driving 2 hours isn’t exactly my idea of a fun way to start a competition.)

As Jim mentioned above, I am also waiting to find out how many students we’re allowed to cram into a room (my guess being no more than 2), if they allow over night trips at all.

Our off season later this month is limiting students to a max of 8 and mentors to a max of 4. The Mentor number is up from 2 because of the logistics of getting the students and robot there. School policy is a max of 2 per room. The likely travelers for our team are vaccinated on their own accord. What the policy is going to be six months from now will be directed by what is happened then.

Our plan to to do 2 regionals for each team ( first time ever) we will do our "closet " 2 events 130 miles and 160 miles. Some schools in my area are not allowing overnight trips but my school is ok with it for now. We could not would not drive back and forth. The teams are kinda a bubble as they are around each other all the time, so # of students per room is irrelevant to me ( but we have always capped it to 4.
We are hoping we can take advantage of the reduced 2nd event cost this year but time will tell.

I think the lack of spectators is going to make things a bit difficult. Traditionally families have been more or less responsible for their own travel plans, and we’ve been grateful to have so many amazing and supportive families taking care of our students and getting them where they need to be. Sometimes people would carpool, other times people would stay over, or go back and forth different days, but we’ve never had someone unable to make an event because they couldn’t get there. (I imagine this is a lot easier on a team of 5 students than one of 50 too). I know I’ve been grateful for that in the past, when I could just stay with my grandmother as opposed to being required to pay for a hotel with the rest of the team. With parents being unable to attend unless they’re mentors, this could either lead to parents becoming more involved as mentors and coming to the event with the team (though if they limit it to 10 people per team then even that wouldn’t be possible) or parents either dropping off kids or doing a watch party in a hotel.

I think this year families and students are also likely going to be more willing to drive when in the past we would’ve stayed in hotels. The only event I can see us going to that would require a hotel is Pinetree. Every other event we’ve even considering is less than a 2 hour drive. Whereas in the past I’ve stayed over if it was an hour or more away, mostly to avoid those early mornings, I think in this case driving just makes more sense from a safety and logistics perspective. Thankfully we don’t have any organization limiting us and our travel, and we have a plethora of events to choose from nearby, but we obviously still want to keep our students and families as healthy and safe as possible. I know I’m thankful for my colleges twice-weekly testing right now and the safety and reassurances that will provide me during competition season, especially since I’m going to be going to a lot of events for the district.