How FIRST teams are affected by COVID-19
Updated: May 13, 2022
One of our team's freshmen, Piff, completed the following article for a class project. It has received context edits for use on our website!
Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the FIRST competition season has been canceled since Friday, March 13. However, the FIRST community has become stronger than ever despite not having competitions.
Every FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) season starts off with kickoff, usually on the first Saturday of January. Kickoff is the reveal of the season's game, this year's being INFINITE RECHARGE. After Kickoff, teams build and design their robot to play the announced game. There are 9 competition weeks in total: six for local district events, a District Championship, and two weeks for the FIRST World Championships. However, INFINITE RECHARGE took a big hit after confirmation of the season’s cancelation after the first two weeks of district events.
Cancelations have taken away major opportunities for many teams. “I think we would have gotten a waitlist spot to the Detroit World Championships. It would have been an amazing experience for the team, because we’ve never gone before.” said our head mentor, Sam Spain.
“It would have done some great things from our seniors. Julian has been on the team for five years; he joined in eighth grade, and that is about as long as you can possibly be on our team. He is one of our first eighth graders to be on our team for that long,” she continued.
The cancelation of the competition has taken a particular toll on all team seniors. “I feel bad for my fellow seniors who were looking forward to wrapping up their year, and teaching the next generation of the team before they leave,” said team senior Paige.
There are many seniors on many teams who have worked hard during their years and will miss this opportunity. However, teams are trying to plan and celebrate the Class of 2020 for their dedication through their years. “Every year at the celebratory barbecue we get together and make sure we have something for everyone. We specifically give the seniors graduation cords in the FIRST colors, usually with an owl charm attached,” said Spain. Plans for celebrating the Class of 2020 are in the works for Athena's Warriors.
Although seniors will be missed, teams also want to focus on helping the communities in Connecticut. Athena's Warriors has been participating in a social media campaign called #12daysofoutreach to share some of our past outreach events while we have this time at home. The team plans to help MakerspaceCT, their robot build space, with the creation of personal protective equipment (PPE) when they have equipment that matches the size of 3-D printers that most people would have at home. A few of Team 3182’s members have access to 3-D printers and would be able to help with the volunteer efforts.
All in all FIRST teams are working hard together to help those impacted by COVID-19, which makes the community grow stronger than ever.