As teams head back to school and start getting ready for the 2021-22 FIRST season it’s important to keep the safety of yourself and your community as a foremost priority. As such FIRST Canada strongly recommends that all participants who are both eligible and able, get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. COVID-19 vaccines have been reviewed by Health Canada experts. According to public health information, COVID-19 vaccines are a safe method of giving individuals added protection against the effects of the COVID-19 virus and its variants and are an additional measure for limiting the risk of contracting and spreading the virus.
Throughout the pandemic we have placed the health and safety of everyone in the FIRST community at the forefront of our planning. Ensuring high rates of vaccination remains one of the most important ways we can protect public health. The Delta variant, along with rising infection rates in the broader community, have informed the decision by FIRST Canada to institute a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for all attendees of any in-person indoor FIRST Canada event held in Ontario. Staff, Volunteers, Teachers, Mentors, Students and any other attendees who are eligible and able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine must present proof of full vaccination, as per the Government of Ontario’s Proof of Vaccination policy, in order to attend an event. Please see the Provincial announcement for full details. Specific venues may have more stringent requirements, which will be published on our website.
For more details on the COVID-19 vaccines please visit https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19/vaccines.html or contact your local public health authority.
We know that vaccinations combined with public health measures like physical distancing, mandatory wearing of masks, washing your hands, and staying home if you don’t feel well, are the best defences against COVID-19, and we will be applying these types of measures to our in-person events. More details on all COVID-19 safety protocols and policies will be available to the community in the near future.
Due to the rising case counts and the new modelling from the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, and in the interest of the safety of all our participants and communities, all Ontario FIRST LEGO League (Challenge, Explore, and Discover) and FIRST Tech Challenge Events, Qualifiers, and Festivals will be held remotely throughout the fall. We are planning and expecting to host in-person Provincial Championships for all programs, as well as FIRST Robotics Competition District events in the winter/spring of 2022. Final decisions will be made in December for FLL and FTC, and in January for FRC, based on the current public health situation and guidelines at those times. We are currently reviewing the possibility of FRC off-season events this fall, and a decision will be communicated before the end of September.
Teams are expected to exercise caution while meeting this fall, and to ensure that they are following all local public health guidelines as well as school regulations.
Thank you for your ongoing diligence as we work to support our community through a safe return to play. We know the past 18 months have been an incredible struggle for our community, but we are constantly inspired by your perseverance and dedication to the health and safety of all our communities.