Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 season is the first season in history to begin with no events scheduled, with teams instead invited to take part in three virtual challenges that will include judged awards.
FIRST has also committed to regular reevaluations of the status of the pandemic to determine if in-person events are possible, with the first reevaluation taking place in January. In light of this, some districts had developed plans for limited hybrid events.
For example, FIRST Chesapeake, which runs events in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., had plans for events that would have taken place in March and April. After completing a review of health measures and COVID statistics, FIRST announced that no North American events would be approved until June 2021.
Teams have also worked on their own individual projects, such as producing personal protective equipment (i.e. face masks). Other teams are taking the season off to develop improvements to their robot that can be applied to future seasons, such as a new drive system.