Last updated 3/31/2022

All individuals participating in Special Olympics New Jersey activities are strongly recommended and encouraged to be vaccinated, however it is not required for participation. In order to be considered vaccinated, individuals 5 years and older must receive a primary series of a COVID-19 vaccine in one of the following:

For persons 18 and older, a primary series consists of:

  • A 2-dose series of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 mRNA vaccine (preferred), or
  • A single-dose COVID-19 vaccine (Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine)

For children 5 years through 17 years of age, a primary series consists of 2 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

Guiding Principles

    1. The health and safety of all members of the Special Olympics New Jersey community is paramount.
    2. Participation is completely optional, and we respect, understand and fully support anyone who is unable to or uncomfortable returning to practice.
    3. Anyone considered high risk (per the High Risk Waiver) must read the information on these pages.
    4. Guidance is based on current medical information and state guidelines at the time of publication and is subject to change as guidance evolves. 

Health and Safety Guidelines

Expand each for full details

Groupings/Social Distancing Clarifications

*Guidelines subject to change based on New Jersey state guidelines and venue rules and regulations. 

  • Social distancing of at least three (3) feet shall always be maintained between all individuals on-site. Social distancing can limit the spread of COVID-19 by lowering the risk of transmission.
  • The number of INDOOR/OUTDOOR groups will be limited by current state, facility and SONJ guidelines.
Mask Compliance

Effective March 9th, 2022 - Mask requirement update for Spring and Summer seasons

  • For all individuals attending a Special Olympics New Jersey event, including athletes, volunteers, Young Athletes and spectators:
    • All VACCINATED individuals will not be required to wear a mask.
    • All UNVACCINATED individuals are strongly advised to wear a mask for all INDOOR activities.
Pre-Event Guidelines
  • Complete the online High-Risk Waiver & COVID-19 Code of Conduct Waiver. By completing these forms, all participants are acknowledging that they have received education materials regarding the virus and confirm understanding of the risks and participation procedures.
    • All participants must complete the High-Risk Waiver (if applicable) & COVID-19 Code of Conduct Waiver before participating. Failure to complete the COVID-19 Code of Conduct Waiver will result in no in-person participation.
    • High Risk Waiver & COVID-19 Code of Conduct Waiver
  • Complete the online Communicable Diseases Waiver. By completing this form, all participants are acknowledging that they understand the potential risk of exposure during activity.
    • All participants must complete the Communicable Diseases Waiver. Failure to complete the Communicable Diseases Waiver will result in no in-person participation.
    • Communicable Diseases Waiver 
During Event Guidelines

For all individuals attending a Special Olympics New Jersey event, including athletes, volunteers, Young Athletes and spectators:

    • All VACCINATED individuals will not be required to wear a mask.
    • All UNVACCINATED individuals are strongly advised to wear a mask for all INDOOR activities.
Post-Event Guidelines
  • Clean and sanitize any and all equipment after each practice or event (i.e. soccer balls, cones, distance markers, equipment bags, etc.)
  • Equipment sanitation best practices are outlined in the Additional Coach Resources.
  • Athletes/family members should be instructed to clean and sanitize all personal equipment before and after practice as well
Protocols for reporting if someone becomes Ill with signs or symptoms of COVID-19 or has been notified that they have been or may have been exposed to COVID-19
  • Must notify Jeff Baldino, jjb@sonj.org or 609.896.8000 x252

2022 Summer Season

After careful consideration regarding challenges, we continue to face with the current health situation, and in consultation with our medical and legal representatives, SOI, the CDC and NJ Department of Health, Special Olympics NJ (SONJ) will put the following guidelines in place for summer statewide sectional and chapter competitions.

Proof of the Covid-19 vaccination is not required for training/practice, league play, or to participate in Area, Sectional, and the 2022 Summer Games as day athletes, Unified partners, coaches or volunteers.

All athletes, Unified partners, volunteers and coaches wishing to stay overnight on the campus of The College of New Jersey for the 2022 Summer Games must submit proof of vaccination prior to attending the Games.

Requests for exemptions from the vaccine requirements to stay overnight on campus during the 2022 Summer Games will NOT be considered for athletes, unified partners, coaches, or volunteers. Exemptions from the vaccine requirements cannot be considered for due to overnight accommodations, and the complex nature of determining exemption validity.


*In order to be considered vaccinated, individuals 5 years and older must receive a primary series of a COVID-19 vaccine in on of the following:

For persons 18 and older, a primary series consists of:

  • A 2-dose series of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 mRNA vaccine (preferred), or
  • A single-dose COVID-19 vaccine (Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine)

For children 5 years through 17 years of age, a primary series consists of 2 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine


How to submit proof of vaccination:

A copy of the CDC vaccination card may be sent directly to SONJ via the online link or US Mail. You may also take screen shots of the approved app “Docket” and send via the online link below. The screen shots must include the name of the athlete and date(s) of vaccination.

Proof of vaccination may be sent online using the following form: COVID-19 Vaccine Card Submission Form


Spectator attendance/vaccination

At this time, spectators will not be required to provide proof of vaccination. If spectators are permitted to attend events, please adhere to designated spectator areas and mask requirements as posted.


Athletes under the age of 12

In considering the vaccine requirements for winter and spring statewide sectional and chapter competitions, SONJ recognizes the age limitations for those eligible and willing to receive the vaccine. As such, having the ability to offer in-person activities in a safe environment remains a priority.  We encourage all athletes to participate safely through training and local competition where applicable. Advancement to sectional and chapter competition will be limited to vaccinated individuals only.


Average Daily Case Rate

To continue to use data in concert with the consultation with SOI, the CDC, the NJ Department of Health, as well as medical and legal representatives, SONJ will be implementing the use of the average daily new cases per 100,000 people metric.


All participants are required to fill out the High Risk Waiver & COVID-19 Code of Conduct Wavier and the Communicable Diseases Waiver.  Please only fill out the following forms ONCE:

High Risk Waiver & COVID-19 Code of Conduct Waiver

Communicable Diseases Waiver


COVID-19 Vaccine Information

In a continual effort to provide the latest information, SONJ will provide links to answer some of the questions you may have regarding the vaccines. COVID-19 vaccines are highly recommended for athletes, Unified partners, volunteers, and staff, and MAY be required for some activities and/or venues. All decisions should be made individually with the advice of your family and your physician.  The information below has been compiled from Federal, State and local agencies, and organizations that support individuals with intellectual disabilities.

COVID-19 Vaccine Form & FAQs


More Information

Be sure to watch our Return to Activity Videos to learn more about venue preparation, traveling to activities, and coaching adjustments.

Watch Videos


Special Olympics New Jersey’s (SONJ) goal is to make informed decisions in the best interest of all participants. SONJ will continue to evaluate the Return to Activity plan as currently constructed and provide updates with more details when they are available. All decisions were made with the safety of all participants at the forefront. As such, all safety measures and protocols are being created following the recommendations and guidelines of Special Olympics Inc., the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and the State of New Jersey. These safety measures and protocols will be required and monitored throughout the season.