COVID Protocols

COVID Policy

Proof of Vaccination Pre-Submission

Individual Pre-Clearance Form Link: https://forms.gle/oraswzpweEhWmmZR9

To streamline our events, we’ve created a system to submit and verify vaccination status in advance. If you’re a coach and would rather collect this information for your entire team and submit as a batch, you can download this template and email it to isriah@roboticscoalition.org, alongside a PDF with all of the proof of vaccination documents, in the same order as entered on the spreadsheet.

Team Event Covid Safety Plan

The goal of this Covid safety plan is to maximize the opportunities for students to participate in live in-person robotics events while simultaneously limiting the risk of infection as much as possible. By being strict in our safety requirements, we hope to have the opportunity to follow through with our planned full season of in-person events for our teams, while keeping everyone safe. Any person who is experiencing symptoms, has recently tested positive, or is unwilling to comply with this safety plan may not attend the Philadelphia Robotics Coalition team events.

Universal Masking

All people present at a Philadelphia Robotics Coalition event must wear a face covering indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Face coverings must cover the nose and mouth. Face shields, t-shirts, gators, and similar are not considered adequate face coverings. Masks may be removed briefly to eat or drink.

Vaccination Required, except ineligible team members

All people present at a Philadelphia Robotics Coalition event must provide proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This requirement applies to event staff, volunteers, coaches, mentors, students, and spectators.

The only exception to the vaccination requirement is for student team members participating in the event who are not yet eligible for vaccination due to their age. Student participants have a two-month grace period between achieving the age of vaccine eligibility, and the enforcement of this requirement. As of September 2021, all people ages 12 and up are eligible for vaccination.

The student vaccination requirement will take effect November 1, 2021. The vaccination requirement for all others is in effect immediately.

Per the CDC, people are considered fully vaccinated:

  • 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
  • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine

Vaccine Verification

There are three ways to submit vaccine verification to be admitted to Philadelphia Robotics Coalition Team Events. Pre-Clearance is preferred, as it streamlines check-in on event day. Once an individual has completed Vaccine Verification, that verification will last for the entire 2021-2022 season.

  1. Individual Pre-Clearance
    Enter your name and information for contact tracing purposes, and upload an image of your Proof of Vaccination (see below) via the web form at here.

    The form includes an optional field to enter a team number. On the Monday preceding each event, the lead coach of each team registered for the event will receive a list of all individuals pre-cleared for event entry who indicated they are associated with that team.
  1. Team Pre-Clearance
    Coaches may opt to collect contact information and proof of vaccination to submit pre-clearance information for individuals associated with their team. To submit information for fewer than five students, please use the individual pre-clearance form above. For larger groups, create a Team Pre-Clearance Package as described below and email it to isriah@roboticscoalition.org at least one week prior to event day to allow processing time.

    A Team Pre-Clearance Package includes two files: an Information Spreadsheet (.xlsx) and a Compilation of Vaccine Records (.pdf). The Information Spreadsheet template can be downloaded here and must be completed following the included instructions. The Compilation of Vaccine Records is a single PDF showing clear images of acceptable Proof of Vaccination (see below) for all individuals in the batch. The Information Spreadsheet and Compilation of Vaccine Records must include individuals in identical sequence.
  1. Event Day Clearance
    Individuals who have not completed the pre-clearance process may submit information and present acceptable Proof of Vaccination immediately upon arrival at a Team Event. Staff on-site will examine and record proof of vaccination plus contact tracing information, but will not retain a copy of the Proof of Vaccination document.

    Pre-Clearance is preferred as it will streamline the check-in process on event day.

Event Check-In 

Upon arrival at each event, each individual must check-in to confirm Pre-Clearance or complete the Event Day Clearance process. Each individual will be asked to verbally identify themself and affirm that they are neither experiencing any symptoms nor have received a recent positive test.

Accepted Proof of Vaccination

Proof of vaccination must be presented in one of the following formats:

  • The CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Card issued to the vaccine recipient by the vaccination site, or an electronic or physical copy of the same;
  • Official record from the Pennsylvania Statewide Immunization Information System (PA-SIIS) or other State immunization registry
  • A record from a health care provider’s portal/medical record system on official letterhead signed by a licensed physician, nurse practitioner, physician’s assistant, registered nurse or pharmacist
  • A military immunization or health record from the United States Armed Forces

Event Capacity

Some event venues may set capacity restrictions for events in their buildings. We will enforce these capacity restrictions by limiting the number of teams attending, if necessary. We are not limiting the number of students and adults who can attend per team. However, when registering for events, coaches should endeavor to enter accurate expected attendee counts so that we can be sure to fall under venue capacity limits

Coach FAQs

We understand that coaches are likely to end up fielding questions about this policy with their school families. We hope this FAQ will help support you in that. We are also happy to help explain this policy to your school community.

If SDP isn’t requiring student vaccination at this time, can PRC enforce this vaccine mandate?

Yes, outside organizations such as PRC are able to set their own participation and safety standards. As an example, at Parkway Center CIty Middle College (an SDP high school), all students are dual-enrolled at Community College of Philadelphia. Since CCP has a vaccine requirement, and CCP enrollment is a PCCMC requirement, all PCCMC are required to get vaccinated or transfer to another school.

Can an unvaccinated and eligible student still be a member of my team?

Yes, your team/school/district policies determine who can be a member of your team. This policy applies only to team events organized by PRC. While it’s sad that unvaccinated and eligible team members will be excluded from events, it’s more important that everyone that does attend the events can do so safely.

Can PRC help me educate my students and families about the safety and efficacy of the Covid vaccines?

Yes! Philly Teen Vax is a city program promoting teen vaccination in Philly. Consider using their lesson plan to help your students debunk myths and disinformation about the covid vaccine and to schedule vaccination appointments. 

docs.google.com/document/d/1vAGoD1xANbFtwupY5ui2uVdbXG1_3nlhCX4IJ0u66bI/edit

In addition, please let us know if you would like us to help you schedule a healthcare provider, or Philly Teen Vax Ambassador to speak with your team and answer their questions or address their concerns about the vaccine.

Are there remote event options this year?

Yes! If your team is unable to attend in-person PRC events this year for whatever reason, there are remote event options available in Pennsylvania for FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST LEGO League teams. Please see information from Pennsylvania FIRST Robotics (for FTC) and FIRST Mid-Atlantic (for FLL) to learn about remote event options.

I have a student on my team who is unable to be vaccinated due to a documented medical reason. Are they exempt from this policy?

In the highly unlikely event that a student is both unable to be vaccinated for a legitimate, documented medical reason, and wishes to attend a large in-person team event, the coach should contact Coalition Executive Director Robin Walker via email at robin@roboticscoalition.org to discuss options.