Like other organizations and companies, we’ve been monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and implementing best practices wherever possible. All of the conferences and events FCDI was scheduled to attend through the end of April have been cancelled, including the Houston FIRST Championship, where we had planned to share the story of “AMRoC a year later”. We still plan to share that story, and will post it to our Resource Page sometime in the near future.
The Orlando Regional FIRST Robotics Competition event was cancelled last week, after we drove to the University of Central Florida with our in-house team, the Edgar Allan Ohms, and got set up for the competition. It was a disappointing experience for our students – and the other more than 50 teams from around the state in attendance – to have to turn right around, break down their pit, and leave. But they handled it with grace and maturity and we’re very proud of them.
To help give the Ohms and other area teams an opportunity to put their hard work to the fun test of competition, the Ohms will be hosting a multi-day summer scrimmage at AMRoC, at the end of June. The multi-day event is designed to limit group sizes at AMRoC, although we’re hoping that by the summer, health conditions will have improved significantly. We’re still planning summer camps and programs, but current youth group meetings will be limited in size and staggered to reduce the number of people gathering at any given time. We’ll be providing an update on Gulf Coast MakerCon shortly.
AMRoC Fab Lab
We’ve always cleaned AMRoC Fab Lab daily, including sweeping, wiping down tables, bathrooms and handles with disinfecting wipes and sprays, and emptying trash. LEGOs are disinfected regularly, as well, and we’ve always had sanitizing hand cleaner easily available to all guests.
Additionally, the Fab Lab is more deeply cleaned once a month, including sanitizing chairs, tables and bathrooms and commonly used tools, along with handles and knobs, with disinfectant cleaners and antiviral sprays. Because public visits to AMRoC are typically sporadic during the week, and we can control in-house meetings, we are not closing AMRoC Fab Lab at this time, but implementing some scheduling and facility use changes, and beefing up sanitation practices. While we want to be proactive in doing our part for the health and safety of the public, we also believe there is important psychological and social value in having AMRoC Fab Lab open in a responsible manner.
What We’re Doing Now
So for the foreseeable future at AMRoC Fab Lab we are:
- Limiting meetings and workshops to no more than 20 people at any given time.
- Arranging for wider spaced seating at work tables.
- Advising those over the age of 60 to not participate in AMRoC group events, and those showing signs of illness to stay home.
- Setting up more hand sanitation and work area cleaning stations, along with health and hand washing notices throughout.
- Advising group facilitators to clean and sanitize areas after use, with the approved cleaning supplies we provide.
- Removing the LEGOs , those tiny little vectors of germs, from the LEGO table for a while. They’re cleaned regularly but under the circumstances, we feel it’s wise to socially distance them from the public for a while.
What You Can Do
Ultimately, it is up to individuals to stay intelligently informed, practice safe hygiene and take precautions urged by the CDC and local health departments to prevent the spread of illnesses like the flu and COVID-19. To that end, we ask that volunteers and visitors greet with elbow and fist bumps instead of handshakes and hugs, sanitize their hands upon entering the Fab Lab and when leaving, wash hands regularly as directed, while on site, and avoid visiting if you’re not feeling well.
At FCDI and AMRoC Fab Lab, we believe in the importance of good, evidence-based, scientific research and data. Some good resources for accurate information and guidance about COVID-19 include:
- Florida Department of Health
- United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- World Health Organization
- How to Flatten the Curve – Excellent article and interactive simulator, by the Washington Post
- COVID-19 Research and Statistics – Our World in Data
We take your health seriously, and hope you do, and urge everyone to take common sense measures to protect themselves and others. Follow along here on our website and social media for timely news and updates, and feel free to contact us if you have any questions or comments.