mathleague.org update on SARS-CoV-2 (the coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19)
March 26, 2020
At this point we have held almost 20 online contests with a total of over 500 students, and we continue to refine our system after each contest to make it even better. Thanks to all of you who have given us a chance to prove that a real-time online contest can work!
We have decided to move all of our state championships online for this school year as well. We will be working over the next few days to update our contest listings and transfer over all the registrations we have received so far for state meets. Please check our website at the beginning of April when our contest listings for the state championships will be complete.
All national and world championships have been removed from the calendar at this point as we are waiting a little longer to make a decision on which dates to host these and whether to hold them online or in person. We will post more information about these championships when we have it.
March 12, 2020
All contests in the continental US are moving online until further notice: Now that most of the highly visible sports and competitions have shut down, we have decided to push up the timing of our latest alert rather than waiting until Monday. The good news is we are not canceling any contests this year! Our staff have been working round the clock this week to come up with a plan to run our contests online, and we will be piloting our online contest system Saturday before rolling it out league-wide next week. We are excited about this new system and proud to be able to continue serving our students when so many other organizations have simply shut down for the time being.
We will be updating the details of upcoming contests over the weekend to reflect the transition to online test administration and will be following up with everyone who has registered for the affected contests. Our standard refund policy for contests will be back in effect starting March 16, and all registration fees for online contests will need to be prepaid unless prior approval is given. All contests in the continental US will move online at least until April 12, and we will post an update by early April when we have a better idea of when things might be back to normal. Since many of you have students who will be staying home from school for awhile, we will also be offering additional online classes over the next few weeks; be sure to check out the classes tab on our website next week for more details.
Please note that while no contests will be canceled, some contests will end up being postponed. Four of the contests scheduled for this Saturday have been postponed anywhere from 90 minutes to one week in order to give us time to prepare our online contest system. We will notify participants of the new schedules and will do the same if any further contests need to be postponed. Perhaps most significantly, the (INTER)2 SECT Championship will be postponed until later in the school year. We will wait to commit to a date until we have a better sense of the MATHCOUNTS schedule for the rest of the school year.
Our online contests will be conducted in an online meeting space where all students will gather in the same online meeting room and get access to the tests at the same time, and they will conclude with a countdown round (at all age levels) and announcement of winners. Our aim in developing our online contest system has been to preserve as much of the unique mathleague.org contest experience as possible, and we hope you like the result! We appreciate the support and patience all of you have exhibited as we prepared this option, and now we ask all of you to help make this new phase of our operations a success. Thank you for working with us as we adapt to continue providing opportunities for our students to showcase their mathematical talents.
March 12, 2020
As things continue to change rapidly, we are working to develop solutions that will keep our students safe while preserving the sense of community that our math contests are famous for. We will post a detailed short-term plan on Monday that will likely involve some disruption to our contest calendar. Please check this page again on Monday afternoon. In the meantime, we recommend holding off on making any travel arrangements to upcoming contests.
March 9, 2020
[Read below for a change to the middle school Bay Area Championship.] We wanted to provide a little insight into our thought process as we continue to monitor the situation and consider whether to make any adjustments to our operations. First, please note that we are trying as much as possible to avoid cancellation of any events, preferring to allow students and parents to make their own choices as to whether to participate in any given event. However, there is always the possibility that an event may need to be canceled or modified due to circumstances beyond our control such as a government mandate. If that happens we will move as swiftly as possible to communicate any change in plans to those who have registered for the affected event(s). As we have thought through a lot of options and scenarios regarding our postseason schedule, a primary consideration has been to balance the goals of limiting the size of each contest and limiting the number of contests, because each of these factors contributes to a student’s risk of exposure. As such, our current plan regarding the postseason Championships is as follows:
District Championships: We intend to proceed as planned with our District Championships so as to reduce the number of students at any given contest. Our District Championships will average fewer than 120 students, and the geographic distribution of the students is somewhat compact. Our State Championships will average fewer than 200 students. If we didn’t hold District Championships, these states would average over 400 geographically dispersed students qualified for the State Championship. So mathematically speaking the average student will encounter much less risk of exposure by going through the District and State Championships than they would just going to a State Championship.
Bay Area Championship: Conversely, we have crunched the numbers on the path that students in the Bay Area take to get to (INTER)2 SECT, and we project that the average student will encounter less cumulative risk of exposure if we eliminate a Bay Area Championship as a gatekeeper in Northern California. As such, we are making two changes: (1) The contest scheduled for this Saturday will be held as planned, but it will not be a Bay Area Championship. Instead, it will be an open enrollment contest and will be a qualifier on equal footing with the monthly contests we have held since October. (2) Students who had qualified for the Bay Area Championship will now qualify directly to the (INTER)2 SECT Championship on April 4, as will any additional students who qualify at this Saturday’s contest. For students outside the Bay Area, nothing changes as far as (INTER)2 SECT plans; we have confirmed with the host site that they are unlikely to close the campus unless things get far worse.
March 9, 2020
The Philippine Department of Education has extended its ban on competitions through the end of this month, so our National Championships scheduled for March 21 in Makati have been canceled. Please contact us at email@example.com if you are interested in attending the World Championships in the US so we can arrange a plan to get your students qualified.
March 4, 2020
A significant component of what we do at mathleague.org involves gathering students in one location to take competitive math tests. As such, we are closely monitoring the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and evaluating its potential impact on our operations. During this outbreak our objective is to safeguard the health and well-being of our participants while continuing, as long as it does not compromise public safety, to provide the same opportunities to students that we always have. To that end we are issuing the following guidelines for our math contests:
- We will continue to plan for and hold our scheduled events whenever feasible and prudent. If government directives or infrastructure failures require us to do so, we will initiate whatever changes are necessary, but as long as schools, sporting events, and other competitions continue to operate without disruption we will plan to do the same. If an event needs to be rescheduled, canceled, or otherwise altered, we will post information about it on this page and notify registered participants by email.
- Students and accompanying adults at our contests are encouraged to take all reasonable precautions to limit their exposure to SARS-CoV-2, including frequent washing of hands and avoidance of unnecessary physical contact with others. Attendees who wish to wear face masks, gloves, or other protective apparatus will be allowed to do so but are asked to employ their best judgment as to whether it is necessary to purchase or use such items. Attendees may be subjected to a temperature or other precautionary screening prior to entering the test center if the event organizers deem it appropriate.
- Students who are feeling unwell are urged to stay home from our contests. While we encourage students to attend the contest if they are healthy enough to do so, we will offer a full refund of prepaid registration fees to any students who notify us prior to the start of the contest that they need to stay home for health reasons. This is a deviation from our normal refund policy and will remain in effect until this notice is removed or superceded by a subsequent notice on this page. All other policies regarding payment of fees will continue as normal.
- Unless we subsequently deem it appropriate, no alternate testing arrangements (different dates or locations) will be granted for our contests. All students who choose to participate will continue to test in the same building and on the same date. All students who are participating in a District, State, National, or World Championship must attend the event to which they are assigned.
- Depending on how the public health situation develops over the next few months, our leadership team will decide over the summer whether to make more substantive changes to our policies and operational procedures in order to keep everyone safe while maintaining as much of what makes our contests special as possible.