COVID-19 Update

The situation with the COVID-19 virus is unprecedented, and I am so impressed with the way that everyone has banded together. I want to thank all FIRST Canada staff and provincial FIRST staff members for their hard work in general, but especially over the last few weeks. It makes me proud to be a part of the FIRST community. Although I am heart-broken that our FIRST Robotics Competition events have been cancelled and that globally all FIRST programs are on hold, I know that as a community we will continue to support each other virtually.

We know the safety of our students, mentors, teachers, volunteers and spectators is our number one priority. FIRST Canada staff are working diligently and exploring options for additional team play and opportunities for our wonderful FIRST  community to get together. As you can imagine, there are still many unknowns, and unfortunately, we have no way of predicting when this situation will subside. It is crucial for our community and, indeed, everyone at this time to be following the guidance of the medical science experts.

Please stay tuned to our social media as any activities or upcoming online gatherings will be posted there. I’d encourage you to take part in these online activities and keep connecting with your FIRST community. I realize there are many questions, so we have created a FAQ, found here, to start to address them. We will continue to share information with you as it becomes available.

I’d ask that during this time, we as a FIRST  community lead the way in helping others. Reach out and offer help to people in need, as this is the true spirit of FIRST.

In closing, at FIRST, we have one of the strongest and most caring communities in the world. Let’s not forget that. Let’s help others through this challenging time and help those in our communities who need it. Let’s stay connected and hopeful for the future and look forward to the next time; we will be able to gather and once again celebrate with each other.

Take care of yourself and those around you.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

FAQ

What's going to happen with the Woodie Flowers and Dean's List Awards?

We know how hard teams have worked on award submissions and we are disappointed that we won’t be able to celebrate these applicants and winners in-person for the time being. That being said, FIRST HQ is working on a plan moving forward and will update everyone accordingly once confirmed.

Will there be events teams can go to if the situation gets better with COVID-19?

Due to the unusual and unexpected circumstances surrounding COVID-19 we are looking at a variety of different options to celebrate all of the hard work our teams have put into this season. Over the following weeks, FIRST will update the community on our plans on the remainder of our season. The plan for future events like the Girls and Allies in FIRST event will be announced once the COVID-19 health concerns and danger subsides. The previously scheduled dates for the Girls and Allies in FIRST Weekend (June 6 and 7, 2020) and the FIRST Canada Charity Golf Tournament (June 22, 2020) are scheduled and will proceed pending the COVID-19 situation. However, for now, we can not hold any FIRST-related events.

Will there be virtual judging for awards?

FIRST Headquarters and FIRST Canada are currently looking at a number of options, but nothing yet has been confirmed. Stay tuned for updates to this question as they become available.

What happens to district event Chairman's winners?

Currently all FIRST-related event initiatives are suspended so once we have an update to this, we will provide an update here.

Do teams that qualify for World's this year, qualify for World's next year?

FIRST Headquarters is working on an answer to this question.

Will awards like Chairman's still continue online?

Currently all FIRST-related event initiatives are suspended so once we have an update to this, we will provide an update here.

Who made the decision to cancel the season?

Due to the unusual and unexpected circumstances surrounding COVID-19, the health, safety and well-being of all our teams and volunteers is our first priority and therefore all events are suspended and cancelled.

Does this mean the Girls and Allies in FIRST Weekend is also cancelled?

The plan for future events like the Girls and Allies in FIRST event will be announced once the COVID-19 health concerns and danger subsides. However, for now, we can not hold any FIRST-related events.

Will there be a chance to get back the time we are losing so our robots get to be used for a pseudo season?

Once the health and safety concerns of COVID-19 have subsided, FIRST Canada will confirm how we are moving forward with future events and the plan for the rest of the year.

Will my team get a refund?

FIRST HQ is evaluating this complex situation and will provide more information as it becomes available – this will take some time. FIRST HQ will communicate directly with the teams on this issue.

What can my team do to keep our spirits up?

Remember to look out for one another during this difficult time. FIRST Canada has witnessed the true spirit of FIRST and gracious professionalism during this challenging time and we are so proud of all of you. Holding meetings online is a good way to stay in touch with one another and also talk through any struggles some of you may be having. Visit this page for any updates on FIRST Canada initiatives to engage teams.

Updated: March 16, 2020

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