COVID-19

Updated March 21, 2022

URC2022 is being planned and will occur amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic. As of March 21, 2022 we fully expect to host the in-person URC2022 Finals.*

While the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic will permit us to hold the URC2022 Finals in-person, that does not mean that the impacts of the pandemic are gone. As always, teams are 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)).

At this time, URC is implementing the following requirements and restrictions for the URC2022 Finals:

  • In accordance with Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) policy for the current field season, all attendees of/participants in the URC2022 Finals are required to meet the following COVID-19 vaccination requirements:

    • Have received an accepted 2-dose vaccine plus an accepted booster; OR

    • Have received an accepted 1-dose vaccine plus an accepted booster; OR

    • Have received the second dose of a 2-dose vaccine between October 4, 2021 and May 17, 2022; OR

    • Have received an accepted 1-dose vaccine between October 4, 2021 and May 17, 2022.

    • Accepted vaccine is based on the national approvals in each country.

    • Medical and religious exemptions are not granted for MDRS/URC attendance.

    • Proof of recent COVID-19 infection is not an allowed substitute for vaccination for MDRS/URC attendance.

    • Proof of vaccination and attestation will be required by each attendee.

  • The United States currently requires international travelers arriving via air to have received negative viral test results within 1 day prior to departure to the U.S. More information for international air travelers is available via the U.S. State Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    • At this time URC will not impose testing requirements beyond those required for air travel. However, if conditions change it is highly likely that URC will impose its own testing requirements. Teams should be prepared for the implementation of testing requirements.

  • Teams are limited to 12 attendees, regardless of role or status with the team. Advisors, chaperones, guests, and students all count towards the 12 attendee limit. No more than 6 team members may be in the command and control station at any time (not including judges/staff).

    • Hired professional drivers who live in the United States do not count towards the attendee limit, but must be prepared to submit proof of vaccination and follow all applicable rules.

    • The 12 attendee limit includes all registered attendees who are attending any official URC2022 activity. Teams may not bring additional members and rotate which 12 attend any given event.

  • We all need to do our part to keep each other safe during the URC2022 Finals. Masks should be worn in all indoor public settings during travel. Depending on conditions during the URC2022 Finals, URC may require masks to be worn in the command and control stations.

Please continue to monitor the URC website for updates.

* Should conditions unexpectedly change, URC reserves the right to modify, or even cancel, the Finals based on conditions at that time. In the event of such a decision, URC is not liable for any impact to teams, including financial loss due to cancelled travel. Teams are encouraged to obtain travel insurance to mitigate such risk.


How can teams better prepare for the continued 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! 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 URC2022 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!