Effective August 1, 2020.

Last updated 12/16 – See Winter, Spring and Summer Activities (Additional Opportunity) and FAQs

Based on current pandemic updates from the State of New Jersey, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Association, our Medical and Legal advisors, Special Olympics New Jersey has made the decision to extend the pause of the start of indoor activity At this time, we will continue to monitor the situation with an anticipated restart date no earlier than February 1.  

As a result, all competitions in the 2021 Winter Games will not be held.

Outdoor Winter sport training and approved outdoor “Out of Season Requests” will be allowed unless deemed unsafe to continue based on guidelines.

 Special Olympics New Jersey’s goal is to make informed decisions in the best interest of all participants. We will continue to evaluate the Return to Activity plan as currently constructed and provide updates in the coming weeks with more details when they are available.

 

Special Olympics New Jersey (SONJ) Return to Activity plan with several modifications and guidelines began August 1st. 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.

 

 All athletes participating in Winter and Spring activities will remain in Stage 1A 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 1A. Furthermore, participants from a more restrictive region may not participate in a region with less restrictions. SONJ will be functioning under “Stages” to not be confused with the state of New Jersey’s “Phases.” Stage 1A 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.

 

Health and Safety Guidelines

Expand each for full details

Size and Frequency of Events: SONJ Stage 1A
  • Beginning February 1, groups of ten (10) or fewer at a time, INSIDE, including coaches, athletes, Unified partners and volunteers may be grouped together in a single area and the groups should be pre-determined by the coach prior to the start of practice.
  • Groups of ten (10) or fewer at a time, OUTSIDE, including coaches, athletes, Unified partners and volunteers may be grouped together in a single area and the groups should be pre-determined by the coach prior to the start of practice.
  • Recommend practicing in-person no more than once a week per sport.
Groupings/Social Distancing Clarifications
  • Once athlete groupings are determined, athletes may not switch to another group. Groupings should stay together throughout the entirety of the season when possible.
  • Coaches may move from one grouping to another but must always wear face coverings and stay at least six (6) feet apart from athletes when possible.
  • Coaches can supervise multiple groups, as long as face coverings and proper distancing is maintained at all times.
  • Social distancing of at least six (6) feet shall always be maintained between athletes and coaches, including within the ten (10) OUTDOOR groupings.
  • More than one group of ten (10) OUTDOOR can be in a single area, provided there is twenty (20) feet between each group of athletes.
  • The number of OUTDOOR groups will be limited by current state, facility and SONJ guidelines at any given time.

 

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 if possible (i.e. soccer ball, water bottle, etc.)
  • Email template for activities (important items to include in email communication to participants attending an event. This includes information on arrival time, parking, bathrooms, 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.
  • SONJ can also mail copies to you if you do not have access to a printer.
  • Display Distancing Signage (on the ground works), set-up isolation area twenty (20) feet from the group in the event of illness and sanitize equipment.
  • 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

  • Refer to Screening and Tracking Template for Special Olympics New Jersey Activities.
  • Take temperature using touchless thermometer.
  • A fever is considered a temperature of 100.4°F/37.8°C or higher.
  • If temperature is high, you may offer one re-test after five (5) minutes to ensure temperature is accurate. Note: sitting in a hot car, direct sunlight, and physical exertion just prior to taking temperature can create an inaccurate reading.
  • 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)

  • Coaches, staff, volunteers, family members, and caregivers should wear a mask at all times.
  • Athletes should arrive and depart wearing a mask and are encouraged to wear it when not actively participating in a sport 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:
  • Touchless Thermometers (provided to LTP)
  • 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 are discouraged but, 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 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 on-field participants including coaches and athletes must complete the COVID-19 Code of Conduct Waiver and High Risk Waiver (if applicable) before attending any SONJ practice or activity.
  • Failure to complete the COVID-19 Code of Conduct Waiver will result in no in-person participation allowed
  • Within 24-48 hours after each practice or event:
  • At the conclusion of the season:
  • Thermometers are required to be returned to SONJ at the end of the season. Any lost or unreturned thermometers will carry a fee of $60.
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
  • Stay Home and do not attend SONJ activities for 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19.
  • Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19. Consult with a doctor to discuss the need for testing and/or treatment.
  • If possible, stay away from others, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19.
  • The activity must be suspended for at least 2 weeks, and all participants will be notified while maintaining privacy, that an individual at an SONJ activity has tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Winter, Spring and Summer Season Timeline

Updated 12/16 – Expand for full details

December 2020 to June 2021 Activities Timeline
  • Continuing December and January 2021
    • Outdoor training may continue
  • Beginning February 1st  (dates subject to change)
    • Indoor Winter and Spring Sports training (training ONLY)
    • Basketball Skills and Bowling training may begin
    • Approved Out of Season requests (OUTDOORS)
  • March 2021  (dates subject to change)
    • Basketball Skills Sectionals: March 13-14 at multiple sites
    • Basketball Skills Showcase: March 27 at Wildwood Convention Center in Wildwood, NJ
    • Bowling Finals: March 20-21 at Bowlero in North Brunswick, NJ
    • Approved Out of Season requests (OUTDOORS)
  • April 2021 (dates subject to change)
    • Summer season begins on April 5th
    • Includes Bocce, Gymnastics, Powerlifting, Swimming, Team Softball, Tennis and Track
    • 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 Games: June 11-13
      • held at multiple locations

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

High Risk Waiver & COVID-19 Code of Conduct Waiver

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

Winter, Spring and Summer Activities

expand each for full details

Alpine Skiing/Snowboarding
  • Culminating 2021 Winter Games will not occur
  • Outdoor training may continue
Basketball Skills
  • Beginning February 1st, indoor training may begin.  (date subject to change)
  • Spring Sports RTA Email: January 2021
  • Basketball Skills Sectional Competitions
    • Dates: March 13-14
    • Location: Various locations
  • Basketball Skills Showcase
    • Date: March 27
    • Location: Wildwood Convention Center, Wildwood, NJ
Bocce/Gymnastics/Powerlifting/Tennis
  • Indoor training may begin April 5
  • No Sectional competition
  • Qualifying score information will be determined, and information sent to coaches and LTP Coordinators prior to the start of training
  • Summer Sports RTA Email: March 2021
Bowling
  • Beginning February 1st, indoor training may begin.  (date subject to change)
  • Spring Sports RTA Email: January 2021
  • Basketball Skills Sectional Competitions
    • Dates: March 20-21
    • Location: Bowlero, North Brunswick, NJ
Cross Country Skiing/Snowshoeing
  • Culminating 2021 Winter Games will not occur
  • Outdoor training may continue
Esports

Esports Competition events for the Winter and Spring seasons are still to be determined.
If you have any questions please contact Jess Stevenson, JNS@sonj.org.

SONJ Esports

Figure Skating/Speed Skating
  • Culminating 2021 Winter Games will not occur
  • May begin indoor training February 1 at the earliest
Floor Hockey/Volleyball
  • Culminating 2021 Winter Games will not occur
  • Outdoor training may continue
Softball
  • Indoor training may begin April 5th
  • League play will be scheduled for May
  • Summer Sports RTA Email: March 2021
Swimming
  • Indoor training may begin April 5
  • No Area Swim or Sectional competitions
  • Qualifying score information will be determined, and information sent to coaches and LTP Coordinators prior to the start of training
  • Summer Sports RTA Email: March 2021
Track
  • Indoor training may begin April 5th
  • Area track competitions will be planned
  • Summer Sports RTA Email: March 2021
Summer Games 2021
  • Dates: June 11-13
  • Location: Held at various locations
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!

 

Out of Season SONJ Practice Plan 

expand for full details 

Additional Opportunities

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

*December and January– OUTDOORS ONLY

*February through June– INDOORS and OUTDOORS

https://www.tfaforms.com/4847073