Charging forward plan

We will continue to meet virtually until further notice. 

 

As an organization that teaches young people how to solve problems and innovate, we are doing the same in order to ensure we are fulfilling our mission and enabling our community to stay engaged with programs like FIRST in the challenging year ahead.

This plan is adapted from the Charging Forward Plan intended for 9th-12th grade Hamilton Student-Athletes.  All activities will be conducted at Hamilton High School and are strictly voluntary.

The following is recommended to ensure the health and safety of all Charger Robotics team members so that we are ready for physical/in-person meetings and the start of the 2020-21 Season.  The earliest we would consider meeting physically is 21 days after school starts.  This will allow Charger Robotics to monitor the results of the school district's risk mitigation procedures, and adopt best practices before increasing the risk to mentors and students.

hygiene reminders

Stay home when sick

Inform Advisors that you will not be attending

Mask up

Ensure you are using a clean mask.  Fit mask around mouth, nose, and chin.  Pick up mask by touching ear loops only.  Avoid touching the mask or face while it is on.

Use Hand Sanitizer

Use hand sanitizer when hand washing is not possible.  Apply enough to cover your hands and rub together until dry (15-20 seconds).  Be sure to get in between fingers and the front and back of your hands.

Cover coughs and sneezes

If you do cough or sneeze, do NOT remove your mask.  For extra protection, use a tissue or inside elbow to shield others from your respiratory droplets.  Then immediately wash your hands.

Avoid shaking hands

A wave or nod are all friendly alternatives to shaking hands.

Stay 6 feet apart

Keep a respectable distance from your peers and volunteers to avoid spreading disease.

Wash your hands (again)

Wash your hands frequently for 20 seconds between your fingers and on the front and back of your hands.

Don't touch your face

Don't touch your eyes/nose/mouth/facemask.  Pay attention to how much you touch your face and try to break the habit.

Avoid Carpools

Avoid riding with others to or from our workspaces.

Clean tools & workstations

Clean and disinfect tools, contact points, and work surfaces after each use, as appropriate to the material being cleaned.

 

season plan

There are a lot of questions and concerns for what next season is going to look like.  We've gathered information from several sources and have started to piece together some possible options.

 

It is our hope that the FIRST Game Changers season will be unaffected by the current pandemic.  However, we want to be as proactive as possible when anticipating what the future will hold.

 

FLL SEASON PLAN:

With the launch of the FLL season starting during a time when large events are not yet safe to have, the decision has been made to have Wisconsin FLL Regional Tournaments held as Remote Events.

Additional details about regional tournaments will come later.  For now, expect to have a similar judging experience - just remotely from the safety of Templeton Middle School.  There will be the usual five-minute presentation and some Q&A time with the Innovation Project, Robot Design, and Core Values judges.  Teams will take an unedited video recording of three competition attempts and record the scores online via a digital portal.  There will be an awards ceremony for each regional event, and some teams will be selected to advance to the next level.

Charger Robotics advisors are in the process of balancing student interest with coach availability.  Unfortunately, many of the adult volunteers to the program are considered high-risk due to the health concerns of being confined to small rooms with many children.

We hope to have more details laid out near the end of August.

FTC Plan:

At this time, it is believed that FIRST Tech Challenge teams will construct robots and compete at virtual events from the relative safety of Hamilton High School (similar to FLL).  FIRST's goal is to make the experience as close as possible to a traditional FIRST program event, though modifications would obviously need to be made.

The FTC game challenge is historically released in early September, allowing the team to work from September through November to strategize, design, build, code, and practice driving our creations.  Since competition events are virtual, this timeline could potentially be stretched into February (before the State Championship).

Prior to participating in virtual events, teams will meet in-person or virtually in small groups to build their robot and work on their projects and award applications.  Teams will take an unedited video recording of three attempts to play the ULTIMATE GOAL in their robot lab/area using a half field.  Teams will not join alliances or compete directly against other teams in this remote environment.

Scores and standings will be based on how many points the team scores in the traditional 30 second autonomous and 2 minute teleoperated periods.  Registered teams will be given access to the official, cloud-based, FTC Scoring System to be used either in practice mode at anytime, or to record “official matches” within the window of their official event(s).  Teams will be responsible for honestly and accurately scoring their official matches. 

For now, expect to have a similar judging experience - just remotely.  There will be the usual presentations and some Q&A time with the judges, and individually scheduled interviews for the Dean's List nominees.

 

To help transition teams to remote events, FIRST is developing the Remote Event Hub to provide a comprehensive remote experience for teams and volunteers, which includes:

  • Remote robot performance and match scoring

  • Award submission, evaluation, and feedback

  • Video conferencing scheduling for remote judging

 

More guidance will be provided by FIRST in the coming weeks.  

FRC Plan:

FIRST recognizes that there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the upcoming season, and as a result we're looking at a variety of scenarios for what FRC may look like in 2021.

One thing we do know is the game - we'll be basically replaying the 2020 game INFINITE RECHARGE.  Besides these rule changes, FIRST does not anticipating any other substantive changes that affect robot design.  This includes any changes that open the design space but keep the robot legal.  For example, the robot starting configuration size, extension limits, and robot weight will not change.  All other changes specific to gameplay will be announced at Kickoff.

Also - the Power Cell is not changing, and there will be three more provided in each team's Kickoff Kit.

Historically, Kickoff happens in early January, with competition events starting mid-February through April.  It's unlikely that these events will be purely virtual and have the same solution as FLL and FTC, given the size of the FRC field.

One possibility that's being considered is scaling the Competition Events to minimize the number of people in one place at one time.  This could mean having one-day events with smaller numbers of teams (and volunteers) at each.  These events would likely be robot-performance only, with other awards being judged remotely.  There will be the usual presentations and some Q&A time with the judges, and individually scheduled interviews for the Dean's List nominees... just done remotely.

At the latest, FIRST will have more details about the 2021 FRC Season available prior to the planned opening of team registration in mid-September.

We'll keep you updated as we hear any developments.

preparing to meet in-person

Exercise patience with this process and do not take short-cuts.  We're all in this together.

Failure to follow these rules will not only result in your removal from Charger Robotics, but may jeopardize the program as a whole.

 

BEFORE YOU ARRIVE

  1. Any person who has increased vulnerability to COVID-19 and related diseases - or is concerned about the vulnerability of people close to them - are reminded to take extra precautions to protect themselves, including abstaining from physical activities with Charger Robotics.  Your participation in Charger Robotics is strictly voluntary, and there are opportunities to continue your involvement virtually.

  2. Self-screen for symptoms prior to each meeting.  Do not attempt to attend Charger Robotics meetings or physical activities if you have - or believe you have - symptoms, or if you have been in contact with an individual who has recently tested positive for COVID-19.

  3. Masks/Face coverings must be worn and covering appropriate areas BEFORE entering any Charger Robotics work area.  You are expected to bring your own face covering.  Do not share face coverings or other apparel with anyone else.  Masks should be new or have been washed and cleaned since their previous use.

  4. Bring your own required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).  No PPE or apparel should be shared between persons.

    • Safety Glasses​

    • Hair ties / Scrunchies

    • Gloves

    • Ear Plugs

    • Shop-Rags / Towels

    • Safety-Toe Shoes

  5. Bring your own, clearly labeled, water bottle.  Water bottles must not be shared.

  6. Avoid bringing food or eating while at Charger Robotics.  Contact the Advisors if an exception or alternative arrangements need to be made.

control access

Enter and exit at designated entrances and exits.

NOTE:  These points of entry may have been changed.

Avoid gathering in groups when entering and exiting the facility or work areas.  Maintain social distancing by keeping six feet / two meters of space between each person while you wait in line to enter.  Hand sanitizer is encouraged to be used upon entry and should be used after touching a common area or item such as a door handle or push-bar.  Avoid touching your face before you have a chance to wash or sanitize your hands.

 

UPON ARRIVAL

  1. All Advisors, Coaches, Mentors, Volunteers, and Students will be screened for signs/symptoms of COVID-19 prior to each meeting and working session.  Screening includes a temperature check.

  2. Any person with positive symptoms reported will not be allowed to take part in Charger Robotics activities and should contact their primary care provider or other appropriate health-care professionals.

  3. Stay at least 6 feet apart from other members.  Try to arrive to meetings a little early to avoid the crowds arriving en masse.  A line may begin to form prior to working sessions due to the screening process.

DURING THE WORK SESSIONS

  1. Working groups will be organized and kept to a maximum of 10 people (~8 students + ~2 mentors) per workspace.

  2. Maintain a distance of 3 to 6 feet apart from other individuals whenever possible.  When not directly participating in activities, care should be taken to maintain a minimum distance of 6 feet between other individuals.

  3. Due to the limited size of the robots and components, there may be partner-based activities or equipment usage.  During this time, the maximum number able to participate is in each group is three (3).  

  4. Each FTC & FRC team will be provided and assigned a designated travel set of tools.  These tools will be functionally identical to those provided to other teams, and are not to be shared outside the assigned group.  This is designed to minimize cross-contamination between groups.

  5. All tools, equipment, and work areas must be cleaned and sanitized after each session, as appropriate.

  6. Changes will be made to Charger Robotics inventory management and distribution.  Charger Robotics is limiting common part storage, materials, and component access and management to a limited group of team members to avoid cross-contamination in areas of high contact.

  7. Hand sanitizer will be available to students as they transfer from place to place.

  8. Opening meetings and team "huddles" will be minimized, with whole-team announcements being made virtually or through other communication channels.

NOTE:  Care must be taken to ensure that cleaning chemicals will not damage or oxidize sensitive equipment or tooling.

 

health check

By entering into our work locations, you agree that:

1.  YOU do NOT currently have any of the following symptoms:​

  • Coughing​

  • Sneezing

  • Fever

  • Shortness of breath / difficulty breathing

  • Early symptoms of acute respiratory illness, such as

    • Chills​

    • Body aches

    • Sore Throat

    • Headache

    • Diarrhea

    • Nausea/vomiting

    • Runny nose

    • Muscle Pain

  • New loss of taste or smell​

NOTE:  If symptoms are believed to be allergy-related, you may still participate in our activities

AND

2.  YOU have NOT had close contact (within 6 feet / 2 meters for more than 15 minutes over a period of 48 hours) with anyone who is either confirmed or suspected of having COVID-19, in the last 15 days, including anyone who is experiencing or displaying any of the known symptoms of COVID-19 (which are listed above).

AND

3.  YOU have NOT tested positive or have been tested and are awaiting the results for COVID-19 in the last 15 days.

If you cannot agree that all of the above statements are true, you may NOT enter Charger Robotics' work areas. 

  • Let your Advisor know and stay home.

  • We appreciate your caring and support of a safe and healthy work environment.

MASK USE

Facemasks are designed for a variety of use cases.  Not all masks offer the same protection. 

 

Below are a sample of masks we've seen used in our community recently, as well as the protection they provide against viruses, bacteria, dust, and pollen.  Additionally, some masks feature exhalation ports to facilitate easier (and unfiltered) breathing.  Be advised that these masks may decently protect the wearer, but may not prevent the wearer from spreading their germs and disease to others.

Wearing masks in conjunction with social distancing helps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and similar diseases. 

 

Masks that aren't rated for protection against viruses can decrease the emission of the viral load when in the presence of an infected person and can minimize the affected area by reducing the exit velocity of coughs and sneezes and trapping droplets of mucus and other bodily fluids.

For more information, visit:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-guidance.html

FAQ

Q:  Who is expected to help with all the extra work and changes (health screenings, workspace disinfection, inventory management changes, etc.) on top of the things we already do for the program?

A:  The Advisors are accountable for these activities and actions, and the whole organization (students, mentors, parents, custodial staff, etc.) are responsible for actually completing these tasks. 

 

Students and mentors should wipe down equipment and tools within their work area prior to leaving the zone for breaks or at the end of the meeting.  Powered industrial equipment, handles, and other surfaces where multiple team members may touch should be considered for more frequent cleaning as well.

 

Specific volunteers or job assignments have not been determined at this point, and additional details are being refined at this time.

Q:  How will these extra procedures impact our meeting time?

A:  We're evaluating our options, but the most likely outcome will be extending our meeting times an extra ~30 minutes on the back-end.  This will still allow enough time during our meetings to get a meaningful amount of work done, while also enabling us to protect our members and practice good 5S/6S principles.

Q:  Are students still able to participate in physical meetings whether they elected to attend school virtually or in-person this year?

A:  Yes.  Students who sign up for attending school virtually - unless they enroll in a virtual school outside of Hamilton School District (e.g. Wisconsin Online, eAchieve Academy, etc.) - are able to freely participate in any extracurricular activity or athletic team.

Q:  Do I really need to wear a mask the whole time I'm at a Charger Robotics meeting?

A:  Yes.  Wearing of masks or face coverings at certain locations during pandemic periods is an expectation.

 

Additionally, temperature screeners and individuals being screened are to wear face coverings.  This policy is applicable to all Charger Robotics students, mentors, advisors, as well as visiting sponsors and VIPs.

Charger Robotics Advisors will continue to update team members and consider student, mentor, parent, and school administration feedback on specific or relevant issues.

Q:  Will students be interacting with each other in large groups?

A:  No.  Students will be divided into cohorts of approximately 8 students and supervised by approximately 2 mentors. 

 

These cohorts will be naturally defined by the formation of FTC teams and some FRC departments.  Charger Robotics will record which students are working together in these cohorts and will keep these teams consistent for as long as possible (most likely the entire season).

We're investigating the possibility of alternating meeting days and times to reduce opportunities for students and mentors involved in different cohorts from crossing over or sharing spaces.

Q:  What happens when I need to access another area and end up walking near a student who is on a different FTC team or cohort than I am?  Do I need to do anything to prevent cross-contamination?

A:  We are using the "6-15-48" rule as guidance for contact tracing per Waukesha County and the CDC (as of right now).  That means we need infected individuals to identify others who worked within 6 feet of them, for 15 minutes or more, within the 48 hours prior to the sick individual showing symptoms, or later.  Therefore, walking past each other doesn't violate that suggestion.

Q:  What if I'm at a meeting and a student or mentor mentions that they're not feeling well?

A:  Direct that individual to go home, take care of themselves, and to consult their medical provider. 

 

Advisors and Mentors should remind team members to proactively inform Advisors before they enter our workspaces to prevent unnecessary exposure.  

 

Individuals suspected of being positive by a health care provider or symptomatic should stay home for at least 10 days after they first became ill AND at least 3 days after you have recovered.  Recovery means that fever is gone for 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications AND your respiratory symptoms have improved. 

 

Follow health care provider's instructions if they're more strict than the Charger Robotics requirements.

Q:  What if an individual begins to exhibit COVID-19 illness-related symptoms during a meeting?

A:  If a student or mentor begins to cough, experience shortness of breath, show signs of a fever, or other symptoms, direct them to go home, take care of themselves, and to consult their medical provider.

NOTE:  Do not violate confidentiality by disclosing the identity of the team member to anyone beyond a need-to-know (typically the Advisors)!

Charger Robotics Advisors or Mentors may stop nightly operations as needed in order to facilitate pre-cautionary cleanings.

 

Individuals suspected of being positive by a health care provider or symptomatic should stay home for at least 10 days after they first became ill AND at least 3 days after you have recovered.  Recovery means that fever is gone for 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications AND your respiratory symptoms have improved. 

 

Follow health care provider's instructions if they're more strict than the Charger Robotics requirements.  

Q:  What should we do if a team member is NOT exhibiting COVID-19 related symptoms, but had direct contact (within 6 feet / 2 meters for 10 minutes) with someone who has tested positive?

A:  Direct this individual to go home, take care of themselves, and consult their medical provider.  Individuals who are symptom-free are to quarantine or self-isolate for 15 days from when you were last in close contact with the person with COVID-19. 

Again, do not violate confidentiality by disclosing the identity of the team member to anyone beyond a need-to-know!

 

If you continue close contact, the 15-day quarantine period will have to restart.  Close contact means that you've been within 6 feet of the person with COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes, or touched body fluids or secretions without using the appropriate precautions.  If you are unable to avoid close contact, you must stay in quarantine until 15 days from when the person with COVID-19 completes their isolation period.  This is likely to be at least 24 days total.

Individuals who develop COVID-19 like symptoms during quarantine/self-isolation should follow the same procedure as the question above.  If you do seek testing, a negative test result within the 15-day period does not mean that you cannot become positive later.  You must stay in quarantine for the entire 15-day period.

Q:  I have tested positive for COVID-19, but I want to participate in Charger Robotics activities.  What should I do?

A:  First, make sure you're taking care of yourself.  Individuals with symptoms are to stay home at least 10 days after you first became ill AND at least 3 days after you have recovered.  Recovery means that fever is gone for 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications AND your respiratory symptoms have improved. 

If you never became ill but have COVID-19, stay home and self-isolate for at least 10 days following the date of your test.  After the tenth day, you will likely be instructed by your health care provider to take another test.

 

Follow health care provider's instructions if they're more strict than the Charger Robotics requirements.  

While you're at home, you can still participate in our online/virtual-based activities and continue to submit work electronically via our Google Drive, Onshape, GitHub, and other web-based accounts.  Contact the Advisors for more information.  

Q:  If I'm in quarantine/self-isolation, can I still participate in Charger Robotics?

A:  Yes, you can still participate in our online/virtual-based activities and continue to submit work electronically via our Google Drive, Onshape, GitHub, and other web-based accounts.  Contact the Advisors for more information.

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