2020 ROV Plans
This year we are continuing with our development of the VEX IQ program for children in the Vermillion area. We plan to have resources for up to 19 VEX IQ teams. In addition, we will be adding a new VEX V5 team for our advanced high school-aged participants and we will be hosting our own VEX IQ tournament on Nov 14th at Vermillion High School.
Registration for the 2019-2020 year will close on 8/28/2020. After that, we will form teams based on three criteria: prior year team assignment, age, and availability.
Due to COVID-19, we will have some changes:
1. Normally our team sizes are 3-6 participants. We’ll reduce that to 3-5 participants to keep teams limited in size.
2. There will be a maximum of 2 teams in the ROV work area scheduled at a time. In the workspace, if there are 100+ active COVID-19 infections in Clay county as shown on the SD DOH website, masks will be required for all who can wear them. If there are 500+ active COVID-19 infections in Clay county, we may shut down completely until numbers are lowered. Participants with active COVID-19 infections in their household should not participate.
3. We have acquired two Honeywell HPA300 True HEPA Air Purifier. At $240 each, they are not too expensive. This model was the 2nd highest rated room filter as rated by Consumer Reports. Working together, the two units should clean the air in the space 4 times per hour.
4. We have acquired a Ryobi ONE+ Fogger/Mister that can be used to spread and anti-viral solution in our space. Our selected solution is Bioesque Botanical Disinfectant Solution. It’s an all-natural solution that is EPA approved to kill the virus. Rinse is not required even on food surfaces. It has a bit of an odor so I may just use it in the evenings. If parents want to do additional cleaning, they are welcome to do so.
5. We acquired a no-touch thermometer. Right now, we’ll use it only if there is an instance that someone looks like he or she isn’t feeling well. I have been looking at an automated scanner to scan temperatures when they enter the room and provide an alarm when a high temperature is detected. Given the high price, we’re going to hold off on that unless we get a donor who wants to provide $1k for it.
6. We’ll also have hand sanitizer available in multiple locations in our space.
7. We will have the option for home-based teams if there are parents who want to be even more isolated. Generally, home-based teams are discouraged because they often leads to one or two participants getting much more time with the robots than the rest of the team. Participants may not get the help they need or they get too much help from a parent. Because of the virus, we’ll permit it this year for experienced coaches.
8. The regular tournaments we attend are in Omaha, Council Bluffs, Vermillion, Harrisburg, and Canton. Normally tournaments have 100-150 participants and up to 300 parents. Harrisburg has already let us know that their tournament will not allow spectators due to school system requirements. Others may do the same because most other organizations are school-based. We may add streaming to our tournament to allow family to watch over the internet. There also may be virtual tournaments where activities take place in every team’s respective city and challenges are done using a virtual conferencing product like Zoom.
9. If our success continues, we expect some of our teams to be invited to the US Open in Council Bluffs and the World Championships in Dallas TX. Last year, both of these tournaments were cancelled. Based on the continued growth of the virus, I suspect both may be altered this year to virtual events where attendees do not travel. This has not yet been decided, but both tournaments are actively working on figuring out how to give participants a great experience. For the World Championships, they have already started providing online challenges – ones where everyone can participate. This is not new, but an expansion of what they have done every year with online challenges.
For the 2019-2020 year, we projected our needs to be $15k and through generous donations we were able to reach nearly $15k. Due to cancellations of US Open and World Championship events, our needs were reduced by $5k and those funds roll over to the 2020-2021 year.
For the 2020-2021 year, our needs are projected to be $20k as we grow our program. $5k was rolled over from the previous year leaving us with $15k that needs to be raised.
Keep in mind that plans will change as needed.
ROV Executive Director