How the Raspberry Pi Foundation is responding to the novel coronavirus

In this blog post, I want to share an update on how the Raspberry Pi Foundation is responding to the novel coronavirus and what it means for our work to support people all over the planet to change their world through technology.

The situation is changing rapidly, and we’ll update this blog as our response develops.

Update: on this web page, you will find advice we’ve collected from the community on how to continue engaging with your Code Club, CoderDojo, or Raspberry Jam members.

Follow local public health advice

The main guidance to our teams, partners, and community members is that they should follow the local public health advice in the country or region where they are based.

The spread of the virus is at different stages in different parts of the world. That’s one reason why the public health advice differs so much depending on where you are. This is a new threat and there are competing theories about the best course of action. We see that in the different approaches that are being taken by different governments around the world.

To state what I am sure is obvious, we aren’t epidemiologists or public health experts. That’s why our approach is to follow the local public health advice.

Changes to our schedule of events

We’ve been working closely with venues, partners, sponsors, and community members to keep our programme of events under review. There aren’t currently any restrictions on events that affect the specific dates and places where our events are being held. The problem really is one of uncertainty.

Until now, we’ve taken a ‘wait and see’ approach for events, following the local public health guidance closely and working on the assumption that we will go ahead as planned, unless the local advice is to cancel. However, over the past couple of days, we have become increasingly concerned that we are asking people to book travel and make practical arrangements when we think that there is a high likelihood that we will have to cancel events at the last minute.

We have therefore taken a number of very difficult decisions about our events programme.

Cambridge Computing Education Research Symposium, 1 April 2020

We have decided to hold the Research Symposium as an online-only event. Plans for this are well developed, and we are looking forward to bringing together an amazing community of researchers, academics, and practitioners to discuss cutting-edge research on how young people learn computing and computer science. Registration remains open and we will provide updates on the event via the symposium web page.

Coolest Projects UK, 4 April 2020 in Manchester, and Coolest Projects International, 6 June 2020 in Dublin

We have decided to cancel both upcoming Coolest Projects events. This was a really tough decision. In both cases, there is just too much uncertainty for us to continue to ask young people, parents, mentors, and volunteers to make travel and other arrangements. We are exploring options for providing an online experience that will enable the young creators to still showcase their amazing projects, so please don’t stop work on your project. We will provide further updates on the Coolest Projects website.

Clubs and community-led events

We have issued guidance to the tens of thousands of brilliant human beings that organise Code Clubs, CoderDojos, Raspberry Jams, and other community-led events all over the world. Our message is that they should follow the local public health advice in their country or region and take decisions on whether to cancel their club or event in consultation with the venues that host them. If you are a club leader or an event organiser and you have a concern, please contact us in the usual way, or email us at [email protected]

We are working with community members and partners to increase our support for online learning, and we are collecting guidance for the community on this web page. For now, clubs (and everyone else) can access all of our free learning resources online as usual.

Raspberry Pi computers

As a organisation with a global supply chain that makes and sells products all over the world, we have been working with our partners to minimise the impact of the pandemic on the availability of our products, and on the wellbeing of those involved in our supply chain and distribution network. At this stage, I am delighted to report that Raspberry Pi products are still available in all of the usual places and we’re working very hard to make sure that this continues.

Supporting colleagues

We have implemented a range of actions to support our colleagues wherever they work. This has included restricting non-essential international travel, encouraging and supporting flexible and home working, improving the cleaning and hygiene facilities at our offices, and putting in place extra support for colleagues who have increased caring responsibilities because of government or other institutions taking actions to control the spread of the virus, like school closures.

We are following local public health guidance on self-isolation and, for anyone who is unwell, we will provide sick pay as normal. We have committed that none of our employees will be out of pocket because of actions we take to prevent the spread of the virus.

We have encouraged colleagues to consider moving face to face meetings online, including job interviews. So if you’re due to meet anyone at the Foundation, they’ll check in with you about your preferences and agree the best approach with you.

Look out for each other

One of the best things about Raspberry Pi is the amazing community that we have the privilege to work with everyday. That includes our teams, partners and funders, educators, volunteers, businesses, and millions of incredible young digital makers.

Whatever happens over the coming days, weeks, and months, it feels increasingly likely that everyone in this community will be affected in some way. Hopefully, for most people that will be nothing more than being inconvenienced.

Personally, I am finding the uncertainty one of the hardest things to deal with. I’ve really appreciated all of the messages of support and offers of help that I’ve received over the past few days. This has always been an organisation and a community where people genuinely care about and support each other. Let’s all double down on that now.

Philip Colligan

CEO Raspberry Pi Foundation

24 comments
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Dear Philip,

I fully understand. My son was really looking forward to the Coolest Projects UK event – he loved it last year. Thanks so much for what you do and good luck riding this one out.

Sincerely,

Rich

Reply to Rich Furniss

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good on you

you have my respect and support on your actions

croft

Reply to croft

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There is no possibility of a home brew testing kit?

It’s only impossible until you try, I wouldn’t know how to do it, but I bet you guys have access to some smart people.

Reply to Adam

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corona virus Homebrew testing kit:
You’ll need to swab the back of you throat. Extract RNA from the swab (this will need highly corrosive Trizol, some chloroform, isopropanol and ethanol- although RNA extraction kits are available online.
Next you need a polymerase chain reaction kit, some DNA primers designed to ‘see’ unique regions of the corona virus genome (available online via ThermoFisher custom oligos’, a thermal cycler – basically a hotplate capable to 3 temperatures 55C, 75C and 90C (it is posssible to make one).
you’ll then need a way to visualise the results-
DNA is negatively charged. If we load our samples onto a 2% agarose gel slab made up with some non-toxic gel red dye which will bind to DNA, use a powerpack to pass 70Volts through the gel the DNA will migrate towards the positive electrode in 45mins. Then you’ll need a camera capable of seeing fluorscent dyes like gel-red. A positive result will be seen as a band on the gel. False positives are a problem though.good luck

Reply to Smiffy

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So, really, nothing too difficult then?

(Ducks and runs!) :o)

Cheers,
Norm.

Reply to Norman Dunbar

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I thought Adam was thinking of a different sort of home brew. You test the home brew by drinking it. That will take your mind off the Coronavirus problem. If the effect wears off, test some more home brew. Repeat until you need to make more home brew…

Reply to Rod

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Perhaps now is a good time to focus on remote learning and all the technology associated with virtual classrooms.

Reply to Jack

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Is there any chance that raspberry pi foundation can make teleconferneving facilities available for some virtual dojos?

I know it would take a bit of organising, but I was thinking, session could start with a demo (astro pi) then over to coders to have a go and tinker, then close with a show and tell passing viewing round the virtual room??

Colin Woods

Reply to Mr Colin J Woods

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AFAIK, Cisco is opening it’s Webex product for videoconferencing for free. It has a theoretical limit of 100 clients per session, so it should be enough for many Code Clubs or Coder Dojos.

Reply to Carlos Luna

Mark

This is a quick stopgap answer for you, but there should be some official guidance coming out today for dojos and CodeClubs – one of the suggestions will be google hangouts/meet. Your @coderdojo email is a gmail account which provides you access to Hangouts/Meet, (which allows for up to 150 users/channel) and since they’ve released the premium features during the quarantine, you can also record your sessions if you want, for later sharing/playback/access by other ninjas.

Simply log into your coderdojo account and create an event in your google calendar, making sure it has the video link added. Copy the URL of the video link and send it to your parents in an email from Zen, inviting them to join the chat at the time of your dojo. They’ll be able to join through the browser on any device (or meet app on android) and it will require you (the event admin, so be logged in!) to allow any users into the chat, once they request to join via the link. (You can also invite people directly via email when creating the event and this will skip the ‘request to join’ bit for those people.)

If you’re running multiple sessions in your dojo (python, Scratch etc) you can make an event for each – just make sure you have a mentor in each one at the outset to maintain a bit of order, who is assigned as an admin. It might help to invite people to any ‘extra’ sessions directly via email, to avoid needing an admin online to allow them in.

As I say, there will be an official response shortly with more detail and help – just wanted to save anyone the effort of organising 3rd party or paid tools in the meantime when you don’t need them.

Reply to Mark

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Excellent message and actions. Good luck to us all.

Reply to Charly

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Many thanks to the Raspberry pi fans community.
Please help folding the antibody by joining the teamed computing community.
See those links
https://www.rcsb.org/structure/6nb7
https://foldingathome.org/start-folding/

And, don’t forget
Protect yourself: Wash your hands, do not touch your eyes, mouth or noze
Cancel your participation in large gatherings, avoid crowds temporarily.
Germ protection mask FFP2 N95 : https://amzn.to/38SOuy5
Hand Sanitizer Gel : https://amzn.to/2Q5BNJG

Reply to Mika Ceguyer

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Would be great when [email protected] would work on my pc..
But it doesn’t. Apperently I don’t get any work assigned.

Reply to nudelchef

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The young people at our codeclub will really be sad. However as a Lead Volunteer i fully understand the bit about the uncertainty as i constantly face parents questions about details of our travel from London to Manchester and how it aligns with the local nhs guidelines on the pandemic. Thanks to yourself and your team as i can imagine how difficult it would have been to make this decision.

Reply to Nnenna A

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Thank you for the message and for taking the necessary precautions. We can all stay home and work on our long-overdue Pi projects!

Reply to James Fox

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Hi Philip, that’s a great message and your kind words at the end have a lesson for us all. Let’s all stick together and help one another through these challenging times. Take care everybody, Adam

Reply to Adam Fowle

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Is there any ETA for compute modules? In the post it says “At this stage, I am delighted to report that Raspberry Pi products are still available in all of the usual places and we’re working very hard to make sure that this continues.”

However Farnell & RS are both out of stock of the CM3+s.

Reply to Ryan Walmsley

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He said that the manufacture and selling of the Raspberry Pi will keep going, not: “Because of the Caronavirus, all the boards are magically in-stock!”

Reply to Giga

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If you are looking for remote learning opportunities, Boolean Girl, a US based non-profit that uses the Raspberry Pi to teach girls to code, build, invent and animate, has started live, instructor led events 3 times a week for kids out of school.

We use a Raspberry Pi to teach kids Scratch, Python, and Physical Computing.
See details booleangirl.org/full-STEM-Ahead

Reply to Brian S Moran

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Yes, you are right. At such a special time, we must take measures to avoid a large-scale virus outbreak. Waiting for your next Coolest Projects.

Reply to Linda Yue

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I noticed on the form uk gov sent out about emergency ventilator manufacture that one of the boxes was to do with embedded control. Seems like this would be right in the pi communities skillset. Did you already respond? (NB it seems that this would be a job for experts/superusers since it will be safety critical, I am not one of those hence just passing on the idea)

Reply to Graham scott

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Yes, our engineers are already working with some other organisations on this after talking to government. Can’t really say more than that right now; we’ll let you know if there’s anything to know later on.

Reply to Liz Upton

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Open source ventilator controllers! A.S.A.P
Ty
RAS

Reply to Shelby

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