Greetings 2021-2022 Massachusetts FIRST Tech Challenge Teams,
In our last email dated 1/9, we communicated that a ‘Go or No-Go’ decision with regard to our season event model (i.e., continue with in-person or move to remote play) would be made by January 17th.
Our planning committee met on the 13th to discuss the Omicron situation and assess our event readiness for in-person play starting on 1/29.
The good news is given some of the recent projections of the Omicron wave, we are cautiously optimistic that we will be able to move ahead with our plans for in-person competitions on 2/12, 2/13, 2/19 and 2/20. We will continue to follow the situation, and in about two (2) weeks expect to send a confirmation that these competitions will continue to be in-person as planned.
This said, there remains a high level of concern and uncertainty for the 1/29, 2/5 and 2/6 dates as these events occur within the time-frame Omicron may be peaking or just starting to reduce, but possibly not enough for there to be a sufficient level of comfort to move forward with in-person events.
In looking at how we could best address this mixed situation, several options were discussed and weighed, while taking into consideration recommended guidance by FIRST that our Qualifying events be either all in-person or all remote. This left us with limited options in being able to achieve our goal of preserving in-person events
What this means is the following:
- The 1/29, 2/5 and 2/6 events will no longer operate as Advancing Qualifiers. Instead, these events will become Judging Practice Day events in which every one of our MA FTC registered teams will have the opportunity to participate. Full details on how these events will run will follow, but at a high level, they will comprise remote judging with feedback and remote match play opportunities.
- The 2/12, 2/13, 2/19 and 2/20 events will operate as in-person Advancing Qualifiers. Every team is provided one (1) opportunity to participate. Teams with secured spots in these events retain their spots.
The committee weighed the options of either two (2) remote events or one (1) in-person event and concluded that offering one (1) in-person Qualifying event before the MA State Championship would offer the best experience for teams. We are also working to organize post-Championship events for additional traditional match play.We are meeting early next week to further define what the Judging Practice Day events will look like and how they will run. We request teams hold their questions regarding event details until we have had this meeting and can communicate the outcome to you.
As always, we thank you for your understanding and support as we work through this less-than-ideal COVID/Omicron situation.
We wish you a wonderful holiday weekend and will be in touch shortly!