Given the recent news about the Coronovirus (COVID-19), the FIRST Chesapeake Board of Directors would like to share the following update.
We assure you that the safety and health of our community continue to be top priorities for FIRST Chesapeake. We are following the situation closely and working with our schools, local committees, health departments, and FIRST Headquarters. As of today, we plan to have all scheduled District events while continuing to follow the CDC guidelines for large groups. These guidelines include encouraging common-sense practices such as hand washing, staying away from events if sick or part of a high risk group (immune compromised, elderly) or if you may have possibly been exposed to the virus. Some venues may require we limit the number of team members or public, but currently all sites are willing to hold the events as planned. We are also working with FIRST Headquarters and other District Partners to develop alternative opportunities for teams that may not attend events due to school closings or potential exposure. By being proactive and observing public health recommendations, we are doing our best to ensure the safety of our teams, guests, and volunteers.
At this point there are no changes to any District event plans. However, should the situation change we will proactively adjust and notify you as quickly as possible.
The most important way to protect yourself against the spread of any contagious disease is to understand the symptoms, risks, and steps that can be taken to stay healthy while you are at events.
- Stay home if feeling unwell, developing a cough, or running a fever
- Stay home is you are part of an at-risk group, such as immune compromised or elderly or if you believe that you have been exposed to someone with COVID 19.
- Practice hand hygiene, including frequent hand washing, use of hand sanitizer, and avoiding touching eyes, nose, and mouth
- Practice respiratory etiquette, including covering cough and sneezes with a tissue, and then disposing of the tissue in the trash
- Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily (including tablets and cell phones)
- Perform self-monitoring, and seek medical care immediately if feeling unwell
- Safety glasses will no longer be handed out for reuse. Teams will be responsible for bringing their own safety glasses. A limited number of glasses may be sold by host teams on-site, but this varies by venue.
- Signs are posted around the event reminding attendees of proper hand washing procedures. There are bathrooms with sinks and soap throughout each event location.
- Hand sanitizer is stationed at all entrances, Pit Admin, Volunteer and Mentor Lounges, and on the field.
- High-touch surfaces, such as the drivers' stations and gates to the field are being wiped down between matches.
- Attendees are encouraged to use an elbow bump instead of a handshake or high five as a greeting.
A dial-in Town Hall will be hosted at 5:30pm on Thursday, March 12th for anyone who would like to attend. The Town Hall will address questions such as alternate plans if events are cancelled and options for teams who may be unable to attend. (This will also be recorded and posted with the COVID 19 Update later this week.)
Or iPhone one-tap:
Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
Meeting ID: 149 717 1975
Updates from FIRST Chesapeake will be posted on our home page under COVID 19 Updates. Any event cancellations will be posted on the FIRST Chesapeake home page, broadcast on social media, and event volunteers and registered teams will be emailed immediately. Event specific updates will also be posted on the event webpage, as well as the event specific volunteer and team webpage. A full list of cancelled or postponed FIRST events can be found here.
We are also working very hard to keep the Team Advisory Committee updated and informed. If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to them. As your team representatives, they may already have an answer. If not, they will know the appropriate staff at FIRST Chesapeake or FIRST Headquarters to contact.
We appreciate your patience as we navigate the next few weeks. Unfortunately, while we are trying to be as proactive as possible, this is an ever-changing landscape. We ask for your understanding as we address issues as they arise.
Leighann Boland James Kresge
Executive Director Board Chair
Published: 11 March 2020