Guidelines for Invitational Tournaments

Permission from the state office is not required to run an invitational tournament. This year however, the national Science Olympiad office has established a number of guidelines that all tournaments should follow, including invitational tournaments. If your school wishes to sponsor or participate in an invitational tournament, please be aware of the following considerations. All Missouri Science Olympiad sanctioned tournaments will follow these guidelines.

For In-Person Tournaments

Participants and Attendance

  • Attendance at tournaments is limited to 15 competing team members and three coaches and chaperones. Invitational tournaments are highly encouraged to set attendance limits that allow all interested team members an opportunity to participate while at the same time limiting exposure as much as possible.

  • Invitational sites are asked to provide all attending schools with a list of site specific COVID precautions for participants.

  • A complete list of all individuals participating in each event must be submitted to the tournament director. This can either be done as part of a "morning of" registration or by having a sign-in at each event. The coach of each team MUST know the names of all students participating in each event.

  • Individual events should be closed to all spectators, including non-participating team members. This includes build events.

  • The use of "roaming" helpers should be avoided. Volunteers should be stationed at specific locations and not traveling from room to room checking on the events.

  • All participants must wear a mask at all times.

  • Wandering the campus or tournament site is not allowed. Team members must remain in their homeroom or designated location unless they are traveling to or from an event.

  • All tournaments are closed to parents and spectators.

Tournament and Event Modifications

  • For any event allowing resources, each participant must be allowed to use their own set of resources so that sharing is not needed.

  • Doors to all competition rooms should be left open for maximum airflow.

  • It is recommended that all participants (team members, coaches, judges, etc) wear a non-transferrable ID such as a wrist band or name badge.

  • If possible, temperature checks of all participants are encouraged as part of the tournament check in process.

  • Hand Sanitizer should be provided in all rooms.

  • No tournament provided meals or refreshments. Teams should bring their own meals and coaches hospitality rooms are not to be used.

  • Teams should be socially distanced in the competition rooms, different teams should be seated apart from each other.

  • Events should be run without stations.

  • Lab events should either be run as test only, or lab equipment must be sanitized after each use.

  • Event attendance per block should be limited. The national recommendation is no more than 5 to 6 teams competing per block.

  • No in-person awards ceremony. Awards should be presented virtually.

COVID-19 Specific Requirements

  • Tournament sponsors are required to provide notification of any tournament personnel that test positive for a period of 14 days following the tournament.

  • Coaches are required to report to tournament sponsors if any team members test positive during a 14 day period following the tournament. The names of the positive students are not required to be released to the tournament sponsors, but the affected team is required to list all events that the positive individual competed in along with the times that they were in these events

  • All participants are required to sign a COVID-19 Waiver. A sample waiver that invitationals are welcome to modify is attached below.

Schools wishing to sponsor an invitational tournament are welcome to use this sample form and modify it for their tournaments. This form is required for all in-person tournaments run by the Missouri state Science Olympiad.

For Satellite SO (Virtual Tournaments)

Equity Considerations

When conducting a Satellite SO tournament, is is expected that all schools have an equal opportunity to compete. There are some events that may be difficult for schools to run at their facilities. Below is guidance from the state office for some events that are expected to be the most problematic for a virtual tournament.

Boomilever: Some schools may lack access to testing platforms. Current SO policies prevent the sharing of equipment between schools. The suggestion from both the state and national offices is that if participating team(s) are unbable to test their boomilevers at their schools, then the event should either be cancelled or run as a trial event. The national office is working on a modified Boomilever event using a CAD system. Rules for this modified event will be posted when received.

Build Events: Tournament sponsors are encouraged to contact participating schools to check their ability to run build events on site. In the event that participating schools are unable to run a build event, that event should be listed as either a trial event or cancelled. For the build events that run, tournament sponsors may wish to ask that the teams submit a recording of the device running or may have the teams set up a Zoom or Teams call at a designated time to run their device for the judge.

Write It, Do It: The national office is working on a modified version of this event for virtual tournaments. Rules will be provided when received.

Experimental Design: The spirit of the event is that team members do not know the nature of the experiment or the available supplies until the event begins. This poses several problems such as ensuring that all teams have access to the needed materials and that receiving an advanced list of materials provides an unfair advantage. Tournaments running Experimental Design should consider these modifications:

  1. Provide a materials list well in advance that contains many more materials than are needed for the experiment. For example, a materials list that contains small rubber balls, aluminum foil, string, water, salt, sugar, ice, alcohol, and coins could deal with a pendulum, buoyancy, density or surface tension.

  2. Extend the event by an additional 15-20 minutes. The first 15 to 20 minutes could be spent with the teams doing a mad scramble to obtain as many materials from a list as possible, and then the remaining 50 minutes could be spent with the team members completing their experiments and submitting their reports virtually.

Results and Awards

Teams should be notified in advance when the awards will be announced. The state office has very little guidance to offer other than to suggest that tournament sponsors notify participating teams that results may not be available on the day of the tournament. It may be that the best course of action is to suggest that results will be available within one to two days of the tournament.

Awards for invitational tournaments should be shipped to the schools. Tournament hosts should carefully monitor their budgets to ensure that registration fees are sufficient to cover postage costs for awards and medals.

Invitational Tournaments for Missouri and Surrounding Areas

B Division Tournaments

No tournaments at this time

C Division Tournaments

No tournaments at this time

If you would like your invitational tournament listed or have questions about a sponsoring an invitational, contact us at