COVID-19 Notice

** TAPPS IS SUSPENDING ALL INTERSCHOLASTIC COMPETITION THROUGH APRIL 12, 2020**

 >> This includes the TAPPS Robotics State Championship <<

More information can be found on the TAPPS website: https://tapps.biz/covid19

(March 13, 2020)



 

A Letter to the FIRST in Texas Community from the Executive Director

(March 13 at 9:00am Central)

 



** BREAKING NEWS from FIRST **

Suspension of the current FIRST season and the cancellation of both Championship events. (March 12 at 12:59pm Central)

Link to announcement by FIRST



COVID-19 Notice: events & Safety Precautions



ALERT: Venue Cancellation – Houston FRC District Event Suspended

We received the following notification from Aldine ISD, host of the Houston FRC District Event which was to be held on Thursday, March 19th– Saturday, March 21st:

“… all student activities will be cancelled for the month of March.
This includes FIRST Robotics competition…”

We know suspending an event is of great disappointment to the students who have put many long hours into preparing for this competition. As additional information becomes available we will communicate it out to teams, volunteers, and event sponsors. (March 12 at 12:33pm)


ALERT: FIRST in Texas in conjunction with UIL announced the POSTPONEMENT of the FTC UIL Robotics State Championship which was to take place March 13-14, 2020. Details on rescheduled dates will be made when available. (March 12 at 9:11am)



ALERT: Due to the impact of the COVID-19 virus and with direction of FIRST HQ, effective immediately, FRC District week 3 events in Texas (Amarillo, Fort Worth, and New Braunfels) have been suspended. We know this is disappointing news for FRC Teams. More details coming soon. (March 12 at 9:00am Central)



The most recent update (as of March 11 at 11:12pm Central) can be found here



 

FIRST in Texas is actively monitoring the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation. We are in communication with FIRST headquarters and will adjust operations as needed based on guidelines and policies as established by local, state, and national public health officials. Updates will post here, be sent to team points of contact, and shared through FIRST in Texas social media channels.

 



The fundamental guiding principle we have used, and will continue to use, is that we will follow the guidance and policies as established by local community, state, and national public health officials when making decisions regarding event planning.

We are working closely with FIRST, taking direction from them around all event decisions and abiding by the safety polices they have put in place.  We are holding all events as currently scheduled on the events calendarShould this change we will immediately inform all impacted parties through official communication channels.

Venues

We are working closely with venues to ensure they have an adequate supply of hand soap and paper towels/hand dryers available for use during events.

Safety Glasses Policy Change

Per FIRST policy, reusable safety glasses will not be distributed at events.  As every member of a team should already own a pair of safety glasses, this should be of little to no impact to students. Please note: Should a robotics team member forget to bring their own safety glasses they will not be allowed in the pit area or on the field. However, they will be able to sit in the stands with spectators.

  • Volunteers and spectators will have access to the limited supply of single use safety glasses.
  • Once distributed to volunteers and spectators safety glasses are not to be returned. They are for each individual person’s use and become their property. Each person should be cautious of sharing their safety glasses with others.

Again, robotics team members WILL NOT be able to obtain safety glasses at  events. To make sure you have a pair of safety glasses we suggest you bring your own, being careful not to share them with others.

Hand Washing Reminder & Instructions

We have placed signs in English and Spanish in all restrooms in use at events. “Keeping hands clean is one of the most important things we can do to stop the spread of germs and stay healthy.” – CDC

https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html

 Alliance Selection

We have asked robotics teams to forgo the traditional Alliance handshake and have instructed emcees to gently remind attendees to not shake hands. Alternative options: Thumbs up, head nod, gentle elbow bump

Awards Ceremony

Out of caution, we have modified our award ceremonies to eliminate the ‘High Fives’ during awards ceremony and have adopted ‘Air High Fives or Celebration/Jazz Hands’ as alternatives.

Overall

We are following the guidelines and best practices set by the CDC:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html

What Can You Do?

In addition to the guidelines below, please consider bringing your own hand sanitizer, wipes and tissues to the competition.  While we will make every attempt to have ample supplies on hand, you may have noticed that there is a shortage in stores.

Alternative Greeting Options

We ask that attendees resist the urge to shake hands and hug at events. Suggested alternatives: thumbs up, hand wave, head nod.

If you’re sick, stay home!

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to viruses and in this case Coronavirus (COVID-19). There are some basic preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze, by coughing into your elbow (vampire cough) to help keep your hands clean. If you use a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Then be sure to wash your hands or apply hand sanitizer (20 seconds).
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

 What is FIRST doing?

The latest news from FIRST can be found on their COVID-19 Impact on FIRST Events page. We share this excerpt…

“In this challenging time, the fundamental guiding principle we have used, and will continue to use, is that we will follow the guidance and policies as established by community and public health officials when making decisions regarding event planning. These policies include travel advisories and other prevention recommendations, which in some cases have resulted in the cancellation or postponement of events. As always, we remain committed to the health and safety of the FIRST community.” 

Stay Informed: https://www.firstinspires.org/covid-19    Questions: customerservice@firstinspires.org

Going Forward

We will continue to keep the FIRST in Texas community informed of any changes should they occur. Should cancellations or rescheduling of events take place, we will coordinate with FIRST, teams, venues, and statewide partners. FIRST in Texas is working closely with FIRST taking direction from them around all event decisions. We are also following local, state, and national health and safety instructions. We will continue to monitor the ongoing situation and implement any additional safety measures needed while onsite. The safety of all event attendees – students, coaches, mentors, volunteers, spectators, partners, and sponsors – is of the utmost importance to FIRST in Texas.

COVID-19 Information:

Texas Department of Health and Human Services

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

World Health Organization – Basic Protective Measures

World Heath Organization – Mythbusters

Notices

March 2020 – Urgent Event Update

March 2020: FRC Team Update #15

March 2020: FRC Team Update #14

February 2020 Statewide Events Update