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URC2021 is being planned and will occur in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic. At the time that the rules were published it is uncertain what the state of the pandemic will be in June, 2021 for the URC2021 Finals. As such, it is possible that the URC2021 Finals may need to be modified, or even cancelled, based on conditions at that time. Please continue to monitor the URC website for updates.

Throughout the academic year teams are also strongly advised to follow the health and safety guidelines of their universities, local communities, and relevant public health officials (to include the World Health Organization (WHO) and United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)).

Please note that the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) COVID-19 response plan currently allows no one on site but crews and mission support personnel. It will be updated in early 2021 to cover the URC2021 Finals.

How can teams better prepare for this uncertainty?
  • Work with your university to develop a safe plan for your team to work. The health and safety or your team should be your top priority! Do not access facilities when not allowed, and do not "work around the rules" to hold in-person meetings off-campus that would otherwise be prohibited by your university!

  • Start your planning early, and plan for the unexpected! Many universities are beginning the academic year in-person, but are being forced to transition early to remote instruction. Ensure that your planning includes schedule margins and contingency plans whenever possible. The Preliminary Design Review (PDR) and System Acceptance Review (SAR) will each require teams to address how COVID-19 related risk has been factored in to project plans.

  • Cross-train your team members whenever possible! Do not rely on a single person to become a single point of failure for your project. This is always sound advice, but is especially true in a time where health risks are increased.

  • Be prepared for potential modifications to the format of the URC2021 Finals, which may include a reduced number of travel team members, or restrictions to how teams operate during competition missions.
    • Design for ease of assembly, disassembly, and maintenance;
    • Design a thoughtful command and control station that can easily be transported, set up, and operated;
    • Cross-train team members for both maintenance and operations;
    • Test early, and test often!

  • The URC2021 Rules and Q&A have been kept the same from 2020! (With the exception of dates and a statement regarding COVID-19.) This was a deliberate decision intended to help teams given the uncertainty of this year's competition. Use this to your advantage!