Last updated 6/4/2021

All athletes participating in summer activities will remain in Stage 2 for the entire season unless deemed necessary to drop to a more restrictive stage. If necessary, SONJ can identify regions of the state to drop to a more restrictive stage while other regions remain in Stage 2. Furthermore, participants from a more restrictive region may not participate in a region with fewer restrictions. SONJ will be functioning under “Stages” to not be confused with the state of New Jersey’s “Phases.” Stage 2 outlined as followed:

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. 
    5. Athletes can participate in two (2) activities beginning May 1st.  However, the second activity cannot be an additional in-season sport.  The following are considered in-season sports: Softball, Track & Field, Swimming, Bocce, Powerlifting, Tennis, and Gymnastics. 

Health and Safety Guidelines

Expand each for full details

Size and Frequency of Events: SONJ Stage 2

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

Updated on 4/30/21

  • Beginning April 5, summer sports groups of fifty (50) or fewer at a time, INDOORS or OUTDOORS, including coaches, athletes, Unified partners, volunteers, or anyone on-site with an affiliation to SONJ.
  • If INDOORS, the restriction extends to fifty (50) total individuals or 35% of the room's total capacity, whichever is the lower number.
  • As of May 1, 2021, athletes can participate in two (2) activities.  However, the second activity cannot be an additional in-season sport.  The following are considered in-season sports:  Softball, Track&Field, Swimming Bocce, Powerlifting, Tennis, and Gymnastics.
    • Activity is defined as an out-of-season sport or any SONJ affiliated activity such as a walking club, fitness center, etc.
    • Athletes are permitted to practice more than once per week.
  • Athletes may take part in all virtual (at-home) opportunities in addition to the one (1) in-person activity.
Groupings/Social Distancing Clarifications

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

  • Social distancing of at least six (6) feet shall always be maintained between all individuals on-site.
  • Coaches can supervise multiple groups, as long as face coverings and proper distancing is maintained at all times.
  • Consider conducting training in "pods" of the same athletes training and rotating in practice to ensure limited exposure.
  • The number of INDOOR/OUTDOOR groups will be limited by current state, facility and SONJ guidelines at any given time.

 

Mask Compliance (updated 6/4/2021)

Updated on 6/4/21

  • Masks are highly recommended for unvaccinated Athletes and Unified partners at all times during both active and inactive participation with the following modifications based on updated safety and medical guidance.  (Please Note: Gymnastics and Powerlifting are still required to wear masks at all times.) 
  • Swimming: athletes should not wear a mask when swimming.  A mask must always be worn when not in the water.  This includes immediately prior to and immediately after exiting the pool.
  • Softball:  masks are highly recommended to be more worn at all times except when the safety of the athletes may be compromised such as on the field during play.
  • Tennis:  masks are highly recommended to be more worn at all times except when the safety of the athletes may be compromised such as on the court during play.  Masks are required immediately prior to and after matches.
  • Track and Field:  masks are highly recommended to be worn at all times except when the safety of the athletes may be compromised such as on the track and field during activity.
  • Bocce: masks are highly recommended to be more worn at all times except when the safety of the athletes may be compromised such as on the field during play.
  • SONJ additional OUTDOOR activities and Young Athletes Program: masks are highly recommended when actively participating.
  • SONJ additional INDOOR activities: masks are required.
  • Masks are highly recommended for unvaccinated Coaches, staff, and volunteers, for OUTDOOR events. Masks are required for Coaches, staff, and volunteers for all INDOOR EVENTS.
  • Spectators attending OUTDOOR events will not be required to wear a mask if social distancing can be maintained. However, it is highly recommended that a mask be worn for those unvaccinated.
  • Spectators attending INDOOR events will still be required to wear a mask at all times.
Pre-Event Guidelines

Please become familiar with these guidelines and resources below.

  • Work with SONJ Staff to find a facility that will:
    • Accommodate your group while ensuring physical distancing guidelines are met.
    • Ensure there is a designated space to isolate ill participants including tape, cones, or chairs indicating where to sit. This space should be at least twenty (20) feet from the main practice area where the rest of the participants will be gathered.
  • Prior to your first group activity establish a plan for safe practice, which includes access to personal protective equipment (PPE) (see "During Event Guidelines") and physically distanced activities.
  • Maintain a master list with contact information for all athletes, coaches, and volunteers.
  • Email or communicate these guidelines (High-Risk Waiver & COVID-19 Code of Conduct Waiver) to participants and families in advance and strongly encourage athletes to bring personal equipment (i.e. sport-specific equipment, water bottle, etc.)
  • 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 allowed.
  • 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 allowed.
  • Communicable Diseases Waiver 
  • Online submission is preferred, but a paper copy is available.
  • Print Physical Distancing, Wear a Mask, and Directional Signage to be displayed at all events.
  • SONJ can also mail copies to you if you do not have access to a printer.
  • Display Distancing Signage (on the groundworks), set up an isolation area twenty (20) feet from the group in the event of illness and sanitize equipment.
  • Equipment sanitation best practices are outlined in the Additional Coach Resources.
  • Strongly recommend identifying 1 or 2 other registered individuals within your program that can support and help with the sign-in and screening process at each practice/event.
During Event Guidelines

Participant Sign-In and Screening

  • Everyone must use hand sanitizer or wash hands upon arrival.
  • Those that have been or may have been exposed and or exhibit signs or symptoms of COVID-19 they must go home and remain quarantined for fourteen (14) days or until a negative COVID-19 test is produced in order to return to activities.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • Unvaccinated athletes, coaches, staff, volunteers, family members, and caregivers are recommended to wear a mask at all times during active and inactive competition.
  • Athletes should arrive and depart wearing a mask and are encouraged to wear it when not actively participating in a sports activity.
  • All participants are encouraged to provide their own masks.
  • If 6 feet of social distancing cannot be maintained at any point during active participation, a mask should be worn by all participants. (i.e. a golf partner helping an athlete line up a shot)
  • Coaches should have the following PPE supplies at practice as part of their Coach Toolkit, which can be provided by SONJ upon request:
    • Hand Sanitizer
    • Sanitizing Wipes or Spray
    • Gloves
    • Masks
  • A full list of available Coach Toolkit items.

Social Distancing

  • Avoid activities that are not conducive to physical distancing (minimum of six (6) feet)
  • Items to indicate physical spacing are encouraged (pool noodle, cones, string, etc.)
  • Avoid utilizing shared equipment and regularly clean equipment if anything is shared
  • Spectators, if present, should be at least six (6) feet from other spectators, twenty-five (25) feet from participants, and must not exceed the maximum of ten (10) individuals in a group.

If Someone Becomes Ill during an SONJ Activity (Competition or Practice)

  • Must notify Jeff Baldino, jjb@sonj.org or 609.896.8000 x252
  • Direct individual to an isolation area, which should be at least twenty-five (25) feet from the rest of the group and keep him/her there until they are able to safely leave.
  • If they exhibit signs or symptoms of Covid-19 they must go home and remain quarantined for fourteen (14) days or until a negative COVID-19 test is produced in order to return to activities.
  • The activity must be suspended for at least 2 weeks (or until a negative test has been produced), and all participants will be notified while maintaining privacy, that an individual at an SONJ activity has tested positive for COVID-19.

Food & Beverages

  • All participants must bring their own beverages and water bottles must not be shared.
  • Hydration stations (water fountains, etc.) should not be utilized.
  • Do not share snacks and avoid snack breaks or meals during practice and events. All social distancing recommendations should be followed during any breaks.
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

Coaches Submit to SONJ:

  • All participants including coaches and athletes must complete the COVID-19 Code of Conduct Waiver and High-Risk Waiver (if applicable) and Communicable Disease Waiver before attending any SONJ practice or activity.  Failure to complete the COVID-19 Code of Conduct Waiver and/or Communicable Disease Waiver will result in no in-person participation allowed.
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

Summer Season Timeline

Updated 3/24/21

April 2021 to June 2021 Activities Timeline

  • April 2021 (dates subject to change)
    • Summer season begins on April 5th
    • Includes Bocce, Gymnastics, Powerlifting, Swimming, Team Softball, Tennis, Athletics (Track & Field), and Young Athletes
    • Approved Out of Season requests (OUTDOORS and INDOORS)
  • May 2021 (dates subject to change)
    • Softball League begins
    • Area Track Meets
  • June 2021 (dates subject to change)
    • Summer Sports Finals: June 11-13
      • Event Locations TBD
    • Virtual options will be available for a certificate of participation for those not comfortable returning to in-person activity

Summer Activities

Expand each for full details

Athletics (Track & Field)

**All sports, activities, and events are subject to change based on current health and safety guidelines.
**Event-specific information and qualifying scores will be provided at a later date.

  • Area track competitions will be held virtually- information will be sent to you from Area Director regarding area events and timed/distance submission deadlines.
  • You must participate in the virtual area track meet in order to qualify for the in-person Summer Sports Track Final.
  • Current Events Offered:
    • Field Events -  Standing Long Jump, Softball Throw, Mini Jav
    • Track Events - 50M, 100M, 200M, 400M, 800M, Wheelchair 25M, Wheelchair 50M, Walk 100M, Walk 400M, 50M Assisted Walk
    • Relays will not be offered this year
  • Summer Sports Finals - Athletes may compete in two (2) in-person track and field events
    • This may consist of 2 track events, 2 field events or one of each
    • Athletes are now permitted to practice more than one (1) time per week

Athletics Guidelines

Bocce

**All sports, activities, and events are subject to change based on current health and safety guidelines.
**Event-specific information and qualifying scores will be provided at a later date.

  • No Sectional Competition
  • Current Events Offered:
    • Traditional OR Unified Doubles
  • Summer Sports Finals Location: TBD
  • Athletes are now permitted to practice more than one (1) time per week

Bocce Guidelines

Gymnastics

**All sports, activities, and events are subject to change based on current health and safety guidelines.
**Event-specific information and qualifying scores will be provided at a later date.

  • No Sectional Competition
  • Summer Sports Finals Location: Schafer Sports Center, Ewing, NJ
  • Athletes are now permitted to practice more than one (1) time per week

Gymnastics Guidelines

Esports
  • For information on Esports and other at-home activities, visit the SONJ at Home page

Powerlifting

**All sports, activities, and events are subject to change based on current health and safety guidelines.
**Event-specific information and qualifying scores will be provided at a later date.

  • No Sectional Competition
  • Summer Sports Finals Location: SONJ Sports Complex, Lawrenceville, NJ
  • Athletes are now permitted to practice more than one (1) time per week

Powerlifting Guidelines

Team Softball

**All sports, activities, and events are subject to change based on current health and safety guidelines.
**Event-specific information and qualifying scores will be provided at a later date.

  • League play scheduled for May 1st, 8th, 15th, and 22nd at Mercer County Park, West Windsor Township
  • Summer Sports Finals Location: TBD
  • Athletes are now permitted to practice more than one (1) time per week

Softball Guidelines

Swimming

**All sports, activities, and events are subject to change based on current health and safety guidelines.
**Event-specific information and qualifying scores will be provided at a later date.

  • No Sectional competition
  • Current Events Offered:
    • Butterfly - 25M, 50M, 100M
    • Freestyle - 25M, 50M, 100M, 200M, 400M
    • Backstroke - 25M, 50M, 100M
    • Breaststroke - 25M, 50M, 100M
    • IM - 100M, 200M
    • Relays will not be offered this year
    • Athletes may compete in two (2) individual events
  • Summer Sports Finals:  This event will be a REMOTE competition
    • Swim programs will submit qualifying times and final scores from their home pool
    • Athletes are now permitted to practice more than one (1) time per week

Swimming Guidelines

Tennis

**All sports, activities, and events are subject to change based on current health and safety guidelines.
**Event-specific information and qualifying scores will be provided at a later date.

  • No Sectional competition
  • Current Events Offered:
    • Singles or Unified Doubles
  • Summer Sports Finals Location:  TBD
  • Athletes are now permitted to practice more than one (1) time per week

Tennis Guidelines

Young Athletes

**All sports, activities, and events are subject to change based on current health and safety guidelines.
**Event-specific information and qualifying scores will be provided at a later date.

  • Community program guidelines and protocols being finalized
  • Summer Sports Finals Location: TBD
  • Contact Amy Simmons at AJS@sonj.org with any questions
Summer Sports Finals 2021
  • Dates: June 11-13
  • Locations: TBD
Remote Opportunities
  • SONJ at Home - Find all your at-home resources, including Total Body Challenge, live activities, Hangout sessions, health and fitness videos, and so much more!
  • Virtual Summer sports opportunities to be released at a later date.

Out of Season SONJ Practice Plan 

The following is an application for Programs to submit a practice plan proposal for an activity/sport not listed.

*April through June

https://www.tfaforms.com/4847073


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. This is NOT an endorsement or suggestion that you get the vaccine. 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 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.