URC2023 Finals COVID-19 Guidelines
Updated March 12, 2023
Although the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are significantly reduced from previous years, we are still taking precautions which are outlined below.
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 URC2023 Finals*:
In accordance with Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) policy for the current field season, all attendees of/participants in the URC2023 Finals are required to be "Up to Date" based on CDC guidelines:
Have completed the full Primary Series, plus an updated bivalent booster.
CDC guidelines state that the Novavax booster may be substituted for the bivalent booster in specific circumstances. Please consult the CDC website and your health care provider for more information.
For international attendees, the CDC considers vaccines listed for emergency use by the WHO to be acceptable substitutes. Consult the CDC website for a list of those vaccines. International attendees are considered up to date based on receiving the best booster option available in your 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.
Teams are limited to 22 registered student attendees, and 2 registered advisor attendees. All attendees must be registered, and registrations will be limited to these numbers.
All registered attendees will be given badges and/or wrist bands during check-in. Badges/wrist bands must be displayed when attending any URC event, and may not be interchanged with other individuals. Anybody not wearing their badge/wrist band will not be allowed on-site.
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.
During competition, teams are only permitted to bring 12 students, and 2 advisors to a competition site each day.
Teams may substitute members between days, as long as all members are registered within the above limits.
Team may not substitute members between the Equipment Servicing and Autonomous Navigation Missions, which happen back-to-back at the same site.
All registered team members will be permitted to attend the final awards ceremony at MDRS.
No more than 6 team members may be in the command and control station at any time (not including judges/staff).
We all need to do our part to keep each other safe during the URC2023 Finals. Masks are encouraged during travel. Depending on conditions during the URC2023 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 URC2023 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!