UPDATE OCTOBER 2020
Utah Science Olympiad is planning a virtual tournament for the 2020-2021 season.
We are pursuing the Satellite SO recommendation from National Science Olympiad, which states:
This new model requires student to be attending school in a physical building; it is intended for practice play and for situations where conditions in your state allow for students to be at K-12 school but large public gatherings in a single location are prohibited. Essentially, teams will take tests and record/report on their devices, either through video or written logs. This could be done synchronously, or asynchronously, on a single day after school, or over several days.
Clearly this model presents shortfalls in academic integrity and the scope of hands-on activity, but it capitalizes on the amount of time Science Olympiad teams are encouraged to spend in months-long preparation for competition – building, breaking, studying, making binders, taking quizzes, prepping log books. Teams will need to accept these limitations willingly, understand the academic honor code will be in full force, and they will need to abide by a safety agreement provided by Science Olympiad, Inc.
Event supervisors will have to be comfortable adapting how they conduct and score the events. We’ll be releasing lists of resources to make this possible but there are already tech tools that schools and teachers have been using these last few months like Zoom, Google Classroom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and Facebook Live that have opened up new ways to communicate, learn and gather for events. States will be given the choice to run or to not run tournaments of this nature and be allowed to choose the platforms and methods of delivery they are most comfortable with.
UPDATE MARCH 2020:
Dear Coaches, Coordinators and Volunteers of Utah Science Olympiad,
The National Science Olympiad organization has submitted the following statement to all State Directors:
“Uncertainty surrounding the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), the risk of transmission at large indoor gatherings, and multiple cancellations of state tournaments with more expected, has led the Science Olympiad Board along with leadership at North Carolina State University to cancel the 2020 Science Olympiad National Tournament held in Raleigh, NC, scheduled for May 15-16, 2020. According to the CDC, one of the greatest health risks is to the senior adult population, which makes up a significant portion of our teachers, coaches, officials, key personnel and volunteers. While we know this cancellation will be very disappointing to students, coaches, supervisors, and parents after all the hard work that has been put into their season, we must put health and safety first. We encourage teams to look ahead to preparations for next year. Our state leaders will focus on planning events and generating excitement for the upcoming season.”
“Eight states have concluded their State Tournaments as of 3/11/20. Southern California, New York, Vermont, Connecticut, Indiana and Ohio have experienced campus host cancellations of their State Tournaments already, and by the end of the week we expect up to a dozen more. The Japan Global Ambassador Team has cancelled. School closures and travel restrictions are complicating factors. Many districts have banned out-of-state travel completely.
Many of you are facing tough decisions in the 35+ states with reported coronavirus (COVID-19) cases. At this time, we are recommending that all Science Olympiad Division B and C qualifying tournaments on a forward-going basis be cancelled; we support any state’s decision to halt the 2019-2020 season. Please consider cancelling any state-sanctioned Elementary Science Olympiad Tournaments as well.”
As you can imagine, this decision has not come lightly. We are disappointed to have to cancel our Utah Science Olympiad event, as we know how much hard work has been put into this season from so many people. While I thoroughly understand the hardship that this will cause the students, parents, and coaches, this is the most appropriate decision that can be made in light of the current circumstances relating to the coronavirus situation. This is also a time to put the health and wellbeing of our Utah community first, and to show solidarity with other participating states that are being harder hit by COVID-19.
Nationals has stated that they are planning to “replay the 2020 rules for the 2021 season so students can retain and reuse their resources and devices.”
Again, I am very sorry to have to share this news with you. I wish you all a safe remainder of your academic year and hope to see you back in the fall.
Please let me know if you have any questions.