Looking for a set - can be "older"

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quizbowllee
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Looking for a set - can be "older"

Post by quizbowllee »

Hello, Everyone!

I am looking for a set that can be used on Nov. 14 for a "Glorified Scrimmage" Tournament at West Point in Alabama.

Due to the extension of the NAQT moratorium, we are postponing our regularly-scheduled IS-A set tournament to Jan. 9. However, most of the teams still want to participate in SOMETHING that day. Most of the available sets this year are already being used in Alabama or are too hard for this field this early in the year.

So, here's what I'm looking for:

* Anything using the 20 TU/20 Bonus format
* Regular HS difficulty or easier (preferably easier)
* Something that hasn't been used in Alabama
* Something that isn't readily accessible online
* We are fine with a set used in a previous year, as long is it meets all the above criteria

Again, this isn't for a pristine "regular" tournament. It is very much a "Glorified Scrimmage" or "Fun" Tournament. Our teams are just desperately ready to play! Obviously, extreme safety precautions are being taken. We just need a set to use.

Please email me at [email protected] if you have anything that might work and we can work out a deal.

Thanks,

Lee
Lee Henry
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West Point High School
Cullman, AL
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Re: Looking for a set - can be "older"

Post by AKKOLADE »

So do you want to spread COVID or...?
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Re: Looking for a set - can be "older"

Post by quizbowllee »

AKKOLADE wrote: Wed Oct 14, 2020 12:47 pm So do you want to spread COVID or...?
SIGH.

No.

We are implementing very strict safety precautions and rules modifications.

We have been face-to-face, in person at school since Aug. 20. We are following our local and state health department guidelines. There have been very few issues at all. The football players are having a regular season. The cheerleaders are cheering. The band is playing. The volleyball team is the the state playoffs. Basketball practice has started. The cross country team is running. Our Musical Theater is rehearsing. Everyone is implementing safety measures and being cautious. But, they are having their school activities.

The ONLY group of students who haven't been able to participate in their activities are the ones that are involved in Academic Competitions. We haven't had great experiences with online events. And we don't have the resources and staff needed to host online.

I'm as Liberal as just about anyone. So, this isn't political to me. We're taking even more precautions than other activities. We are limiting the number of teams, the number of players per team, the number of adults allowed. Teams and individual players will be distanced. Masks are required at all times. Every desk/table/buzzer will be sanitized before and after each match. Moderators will be as far away as possible. We've also modified the rules to limit the need for players to confer with one another.

NAQT said that their moratorium doesn't apply to television events. I've been to several tapings. We can make our events just as safe - and probably much safer.

I know that things look different in other parts of the country. And I respect that there are some places that probably need to continue the in-person moratorium. And, there are some places that wouldn't take the precautions we are taking.

When I sent out the invitation, I limited the number of teams to 22 and explained the safety protocols. The field was full in a matter of hours with several teams wait listed. When I sent out an email explaining that NAQT was extending the moratorium, most of the coaches said they want to come anyway, if only to have a "Glorified Scrimmage."

I'm not advocating a mask-less Trump-rally type event. We will be strict and cautious. These kids are already in school every day, face-to-face. Our event will be safer than their regular school day, that I can guarantee.
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Re: Looking for a set - can be "older"

Post by AKKOLADE »

Other people making bad decisions doesn't force you to make a bad decision. You should host the event online.

Indoor events are more likely to spread COVID. Quiz bowl involves a lot of talking, which promotes airdrop formation, which is how COVID spreads. Chances are your moderators won't be wearing masks, which will cause more exposure to those they read for. Chances are you aren't going to have everyone spaced out at least six feet, because most buzzers don't allow for that. After each round, you're going to have teams move to different rooms, where they are exposed to different people.

I haven't seen friends or family in eight months. I haven't traveled in eight months. I just announced NASAT is online. I'm not having fun with this.

I'm not giving this advice lightly. For the good of your field and their communities, hold this online.
Fred Morlan
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Re: Looking for a set - can be "older"

Post by Cheynem »

As someone whose Internet is very bad, I sympathize with the poor experiences in online events. Are there ways to better simulate in-person quizbowl than actually having a 22-team in-person tournament? What about mini-leagues or tournaments involving just a couple of teams, where they can scrimmage for an afternoon? That would be much easier to sanitize and less risky than a 20+ team.
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Re: Looking for a set - can be "older"

Post by Oh No You Didn't »

So this is... an event... with people?
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Re: Looking for a set - can be "older"

Post by quizbowllee »

Guys,

I appreciate and respect you. Truly. I'm not trying to be contrarian or defiant. And I take your comments under advisement.

Honestly, right now, I'm leaning towards cancelling and hoping for the best on Jan. 9.

Fred - we just can't host this online. We just don't have the resources and staff necessary. You know me. We take Quizbowl seriously here. We're one of the most-active teams in Alabama. And we just don't have the means to host an online event of any quality. And, if we don't, then most teams around here probably don't, either. From what I've seen, online tournaments are pretty terrible. They are slow, filled with technical hiccups, and absolutely rife with cheating.

But, we have to do SOMETHING. There are other factors that I won't get into in a public forum. But, suffice it to say, that "Quizbowl Coach" is one of my jobs. Football coaches are coaching. Basketball coaches are coaching. Band directors are directing. Read into what I'm saying. And feel free to message me privately if you want - I believe we are still "Friends" on Facebook - and I'd like to think in real life, too.

That being said, you haven't exactly pulled any punches telling me how you feel. So, I won't hesitate to do the same (with all due respect - and I mean that). I feel like announcing NASAT will be online is more than a little premature. You're talking about a tournament that is 8 months away! We have no idea what the world will look like in 8 months. I know it's unlikely, but what if in April or May it becomes clear that NASAT could go ahead safely in person?

As such, we at ASCA voted to push all of our tournaments back a month - so our first events will be in February instead of January. We felt that it was way too soon to commit to saying that all our tournaments will be online so far away. And, we still feel the same (by we, I mean the majority of the board members - perhaps not all of them). If NAQT extends this moratorium into February, we will have a major pivot to make. But, we will wait as long as possible to make that call. We all want traditional, in-person tournaments. And we want to do it safely. And, I feel very confident that we can do that. I wouldn't send my own kid to an event I didn't think was safe. But, like I said, we've been going to school - face-to-face - for two months. Every activity under the sun has started back (with precautions), except for Quizbowl and Math Team. And my kids are getting despondent and interest is waning. And, clearly we aren't alone. The reaction to the announcement that I was going to TRY to have a tournament was massive and swift.

Mike - I appreciate you chiming in, as well. To answer your questions, we do have a very small, local league that usually begins around this time of year. We play after school at the local Community College. It is very small, intimate, and safe. The rounds are played in very large science classrooms. We could do it very safely. But, alas.... We use NAQT questions. So, we aren't allowed to do it yet....

And 22 teams may sound like a lot, but we have a decent sized school. I've hosted tournaments here with nearly 60 teams. I'm keeping it small and manageable in order to keep people separated and the rooms sanitized. We have several "foggers" that spray disinfectant in the air. We spray each room after every class during our day. So, any particles in the air will be knocked down. We plan to use the foggers after each round. I can even route the teams so that traffic moves one way and contact in the hallways is limited.

Look. This isn't just me willy-nilly deciding to host a tournament. I have thought these things through. I have stressed to the point of ulcers. I have lost sleep. And, if I didn't think we could do this safely, I wouldn't do it. But, we're not in a part of the nation with a huge lockdown. Kids are at school. Activities are taking place. And we're all being careful. In the case of a Quizbowl Tournament that I'm in charge of, you better believe that the precautions will be downright Draconian. I'm not playing around. Agree to the protocols or don't come. Follow them or be asked to leave. Period.

Anyway, that's my long-winded reply. It's not my intention to be combative. And, if I come across that way, please forgive me. Like I said, I respect you all and appreciate your input. We need to be having these conversations as we try to move forward.

Best,

Lee
Lee Henry
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Re: Looking for a set - can be "older"

Post by touchpack »

Please, don't do this. I get that your employers and co-workers are making bad decisions, but that doesn't mean you should join them and make a bad decision yourself. According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, Cullman County is currently in "High Risk" mode, which means gatherings of more than 20 people are strongly discouraged. It's just not safe to hold in-person events in your location right now.
quizbowllee wrote: Wed Oct 14, 2020 2:53 pm We have several "foggers" that spray disinfectant in the air. We spray each room after every class during our day. So, any particles in the air will be knocked down. We plan to use the foggers after each round.
Beware of hygiene theater. Evidence suggests that the risks outweigh the benefits here. The EPA explicitly recommends against doing this.
Last edited by touchpack on Wed Oct 14, 2020 4:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Looking for a set - can be "older"

Post by AKKOLADE »

quizbowllee wrote: Wed Oct 14, 2020 2:53 pm Guys,

I appreciate and respect you. Truly. I'm not trying to be contrarian or defiant. And I take your comments under advisement. ...

That being said, you haven't exactly pulled any punches telling me how you feel. So, I won't hesitate to do the same (with all due respect - and I mean that). I feel like announcing NASAT will be online is more than a little premature. You're talking about a tournament that is 8 months away! We have no idea what the world will look like in 8 months. I know it's unlikely, but what if in April or May it becomes clear that NASAT could go ahead safely in person?
Lee, I'm sorry if I came across as overly harsh, but understand where I'm coming from. I'm going to flex some, which is not what I like to do. Even though I'm not practicing right now, I am a licensed pharmacist in Kentucky. Nicole, who I co-own IQBT with, is a physician who specializes in infectious diseases and has been on the front lines of treating COVID-19 for months now. I think of any household involved with quiz bowl, we'd have to be the most knowledgeable about COVID-19. (Note that this title is entirely because of Nicole.) I expect you personally know some of this, Lee, but I'm bringing it up since we're going to discuss a wider issue with NASAT being brought up.

I'm being blunt with you because I think this is a very dangerous idea. We're in the middle of the worst public health issue in the United States since the 1918 flu pandemic - COVID-19 is certainly easier to catch for the population at large than HIV was when it emerged. According to Johns Hopkins University's data, 216,406 people have died in the United States due to COVID-19 so far. The CDC expects the death toll to hit 233,000 by the end of the month. This paper from researchers at VCU estimates our official death tolls are underestimated, with potentially 75,000 deaths being influenced by COVID-19. If we assume the true death toll by the end of the month is 300,000, that's equivalent to the death toll of 100 instances of 9/11. It's an incomprehensible number of deaths.

COVID-19 appears to be notably more contagious and more deadly than the seasonal flu.

Billy's already pointed out some statistics for the status of the COVID-19 pandemic local to you. I'm not going to belabor the point about how risky holding an in-person event is.

I announced NASAT as an online event this year because of expectations that Nicole and I have for the rollout of vaccine administration. We are probably still months away from a vaccine being approved. Even assuming that it is effective and safe, that there are no issues with production and distribution of it, and that it does not have to be withdrawn from the market, there is almost certainly going to be a tiered rollout that will take even more time from its approval. Largely healthy teenagers are likely to be among the last people to receive the vaccine. It is highly unlikely that by June of next year we will have a significant number of high school quiz bowl players vaccinated. As such, Nicole & I do not feel that it will be safe to hold an in-person event, especially when people are traveling from across the country. We'd rather not have a viral mixer along with the tournament.

I would much rather have the last tournament held online due to COVID-19 than have to do a last minute shift to an in-person tournament.
Fred Morlan
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Re: Looking for a set - can be "older"

Post by Cheynem »

As someone who ran NASAT for a year and was involved in its planning some other years, it also is in a different position than other tournaments. NASAT is almost always run at an university, not a hotel, which is even more up in the air at the moment. NASAT requires multiple schools in states to coordinate at selecting a team, which is hard enough in ideal circumstances--in my experience, states or schools typically require even more coordination in figuring out if they want to go to NASAT and how they would go about doing so than HSNCT or NSC (as there are even more moving parts here). When I was running NASAT, the number one thing I got asked was "what are the details? [as in, where was the tournament? What date, etc.]" This means that having to plan in person and then cancelling to online would be disastrous--and that's a very real possibility, especially when you consider that you'd probably be hosting at a school that might change its policies literally at any minute.

This is not to necessarily say I agree or disagree with Fred's decision. But I understand why he did it--for a tournament like NASAT, you are probably better off being able to get reliable and consistent information so teams can start planning as soon as possible. I think both NAQT and PACE have advantages that allow them to hold off somewhat still.
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Re: Looking for a set - can be "older"

Post by naan/steak-holding toll »

I think it makes a lot of sense to run NASAT online for other reasons as well - fundraising for NASAT is a perpetual issue for many teams who have to shell out thousands of dollars for round trips and hotels, often without funding from their schools. Obviously this applies to many tournaments, but it's particularly relevant to NASAT in particular, where the funding situation is different than for PACE/HSNCT.

That said, I trust that Lee is being relatively cautious with this event. A lot of activities such as gym-going, etc. have resumed on a limited basis, which doubtless give people much greater exposure risk than quizbowl. Assuming adequate precautions are taken and requirements made by the tournament organizer that players in-person be responsible - for example, it should be relatively simple to have teams separated a good distance from each other and the mod, to wipe off buzzers, etc. - I think ultimately the decision whether to attend or not must fall to the players and their judgment of their own risks with regards to the COVID-19 situation. If these can't be done, the event is probably not advisable.
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Re: Looking for a set - can be "older"

Post by quizbowllee »

All that makes sense, especially in regards to NASAT.

This whole thing has been enlightening and somewhat surreal. I'm used to being attacked for being too cautious. I'm often referred to as a "sheeple" (among less politically correct slanders against Liberals) for taking the pandemic too seriously and for not going anywhere without a mask. I'm not used to being brow-beaten for not being cautious enough!
naan/steak-holding toll wrote: Wed Oct 14, 2020 5:17 pm That said, I trust that Lee is being relatively cautious with this event. A lot of activities such as gym-going, etc. have resumed on a limited basis, which doubtless give people much greater exposure risk than quizbowl. Assuming adequate precautions are taken and requirements made by the tournament organizer that players in-person be responsible - for example, it should be relatively simple to have teams separated a good distance from each other and the mod, to wipe off buzzers, etc. - I think ultimately the decision whether to attend or not must fall to the players and their judgment of their own risks with regards to the COVID-19 situation. If these can't be done, the event is probably not advisable.
I appreciate that. We're all doing the best we can. But, I suppose this all becomes moot if no one is willing to supply questions.
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Re: Looking for a set - can be "older"

Post by Cheynem »

I would hope no one is "attacking" you. We all love quizbowl. We all want people to be as safe as possible. As I said, I have every confidence that you would do your very best to create a safe environment in playing quizbowl. However, some of us are just unsure if this is the safest, best course of action at the moment--if we didn't care, we would just say nothing. As I also said, I'm very sympathetic to your plight--Internet tournaments don't work the greatest for me as well, and I'd like to think about potentially safer ways to do some in-person quizbowl. I would hope that some of the flippancy in this thread doesn't obscure that I am sure what we all have in common--a love of quizbowl and a determination to be safe.
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Re: Looking for a set - can be "older"

Post by quizbowllee »

FWIW - I have decided not to hold this event on Nov. 14.

We are holding out hope that NAQT will work with us to host this - and our other ASCA events - safely next semester.

I appreciate everyone's input.
Lee Henry
AP English Teacher
Quiz Bowl Coach
West Point High School
Cullman, AL
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