- Will we be able to meet and function normally by September?
- How can we protect quizzers who will be within 6 feet of others quizzers for 20 minutes at a time?
- Even if we find ways to follow CDC Guidelines at a quiz meet, would people feel comfortable traveling together and gathering in classrooms?
- Would students return to quizzing if we decide to skip this season? We really don't want to lose this powerful discipleship tool in our ministry arsenal and the momentum we’ve built over the past several years.
As a leader for an essential business that has stayed open during this pandemic, I have been challenged to find ways to eliminate close-contact situations for my employees when possible and to protect them when it is not. And the truth is some answers change from one day to the next. Similarly, in order to keep Teen Quizzing going we have to be ready for anything.
Since state and local conditions and mandates vary widely across the nation, a “one size fits all” solution is not likely for an in-person quiz meet. Also, consider if conditions are favorable for having an in-person quiz meet in the first place. Would it violate your city or state mandates for large gatherings? Is there a shelter-in-place order in effect for any of your quizzers? Do you need to modify your parental permission slips?
Another question to answer regarding an in-person quiz meet is: would participation be severely impacted due to some who do not feel it would be safe to attend? Regardless what you think of the virus, consider Romans 14:13 which says, “Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.” Similarly, Romans 14:15 says, “If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died.” I’m sure none of us wants to make a decision that will knowingly exclude any of our students from quizzing.
If you plan to host an in-person quiz meet, here are a few ideas I have seen implemented that could help reduce the risk of exposure:
- Stay home if you are not feeling well, have a fever, or have tested positive
- Stay home for 14 days after your last close contact with someone who has tested positive (or is waiting for their test results)
- Practice social distancing and wear a face covering while indoors at the event
- No group photos, fist bumps, high-fives, or any other forms of contact (bummer, I know)
- Erect free-standing partitions between quizzers since the pads cannot be located more than 6 feet from each other. Alternatively, provide each quizzer and coach with an inexpensive face shield.
- Forgo the use of a Content Judge
- Encourage frequent handwashing or the use of hand sanitizer (between matches?)
- Prop doors open (or leave them slightly ajar) to reduce use of the handle or doorknob
- Provide individual box lunches or encourage everyone to eat out
- Provide water bottles rather than use water fountains
- Sanitize the quiz chairs between every round
- Do not enter a quiz room until the previous teams have departed
- If multiple doors to a room, designate one for entry and the other for exit
- Travel to and from the event with your home unit. If not possible, wear masks while traveling with those outside your home unit.
Fortunately, a few months ago some Youth Bible Quiz programs successfully completed their season using the Zoom video conferencing program. For the complete story on how that came about, read Eastern Field Nazarene Quizzing Director Melissa Smith-Moser’s excellent blog post on NYI Connect.
- Each person (quizzer, coach, official) will need to be on their own device (phone, tablet, laptop, desktop) having an internet connection as well as video capability
- Each QuizMaster will be in their own virtual Zoom room. Teams will follow a schedule to know which Zoom room to join next
- Everyone (except the QuizMaster, of course) is on mute unless answering a question or calling for a timeout, challenge, or appeal.
- Jumping is done by the quizzer pressing ‘Enter’ after typing their assigned number into a chat box.
- The Quizmaster’s chat box is the only official ordering to determine which quizzer jumped first
- If an active quizzer drops out of the Zoom meeting during a match, the substitute may enter the quiz at the beginning of the next question without being assessed a timeout. However, if the active quizzer returns the team will be required to call a timeout to make them an active quizzer again. Otherwise, they remain the Substitute.
- Questions cannot be redone or appealed due to equipment malfunctions.
- Only during a timeout may a team and its coach use back-channel communication (text, phone, or any other messaging app) outside of the Zoom meeting to communicate with each other
- And, obviously, quizzers cannot have a scripture portion or the memory verse list with them while they are quizzing!
While it is not ideal, a virtual quiz platform allows practices and competitions to be held for those of us who do not know when we will be able to meet again physically. We could move forward despite these uncertainties. Also, virtual quizzing could be an option for other times where unforeseen events prohibit an in-person quiz (hurricanes, winter storms, etc.).
Also, virtual quizzing could be an option for other times where unforeseen events prohibit an in-person quiz (hurricanes, winter storms, etc.).
And who knows, you just might enjoy being able to sleep in late and attend a Quiz Meet in your pajamas!