Effective August 1, 2020

Special Olympics New Jersey (SONJ) is excited to announce plans to officially Return to Activity with several modifications and guidelines beginning 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.

Special Olympics New Jersey will be functioning under Stage 1 for the Fall Sports Season. All athletes participating in Fall activities will remain in Stage 1 for the entire season unless deemed necessary to drop to a more restrictive stage. SONJ will be functioning under “Stages” to not be confused with the state of New Jersey’s “Phases.” Stage 1 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 1
  • Groups of ten (10) or fewer at a time, 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 and no more than two practice rounds of golf in a 10-day span.
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) athlete groupings.
  • More than one group of ten (10) athletes can be in a single area, provided there is twenty (20) feet between each group of athletes.
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.)
  • 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.
  • Pre-practice/Screening Questions to be shared with participants prior to practice (see "Know Before You Go" section).
  • Screening and Tracking Template for Special Olympics New Jersey Activities to be used at each SONJ event or practice.
  • 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 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

  • Everyone must use hand sanitizer or wash hands upon arrival.
  • Coach or volunteer must sign-in all participants on the Screening and Tracking Template for Special Olympics New Jersey Activities which asks screening questions.
    • 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 exposed and or exhibit signs or symptoms must go home and remain quarantined for fourteen (14) days. A negative COVID-19 test must be 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 Event

  • 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. A negative COVID-19 test must be produced in order to return to activities.

Protocols for Reporting if Someone becomes Ill with signs or symptoms of COVID-19.

  • Coach must notify Jeff Baldino, jjb@sonj.org or 609.896.8000 x252

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 event.
    • 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.

All participants are required to fill out the following form:

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

Fall Activities

expand each for full details

Cycling

LTP Registration Deadline: prior to your LTPs first practice
Event Registration Deadline: Friday, October 9, 2020
Date(s): Saturday, October 24, 2020 (North Sectional) & Sunday, October 25, 2020* (South Sectional)
Event Location: Skillman Park, Montgomery and At-home (“Virtual”)

Anticipated Event Offerings:

  • 500M, 1K, 5K, 10K
  • Balance Bike 150m, 250m

*tentative

Equestrian

LTP Registration Deadline: prior to your LTPs first practice
Event Registration Deadline: Friday, September 25, 2020*
Date(s): Saturday, October 17, 2020 – video submission deadline
Event Location: At LTP Equestrian facility (“Virtual”)

Anticipated Event Offerings:

  • 3 Classes
  • 2 Events
    • Obstacle course
    • Equitation

*tentative

Esports

Event Registration Deadlines: Sept. 21 (for 9/26), Sept. 28 (for 10/3), Oct. 5 (for 10/10) & Oct. 12 (for 10/17)
Date(s)*: September 26, October 3, 10, 17
Event Location: At-home (“Virtual”)

Anticipated Event Offerings:

  • Rocket League Tournaments

*tentative

Flag Football Skills

LTP Registration Deadline: prior to your LTPs first practice
Event Registration Deadline: Friday, October 2*
Date(s)*: September 20, 27 and October 4 (virtual skills training) & October 11 (NFL Play 60 Event)
Event Location: At-home (“virtual”), and SONJ Complex, Lawrenceville

Anticipated Event Offerings:

  • At-home (“Virtual”) skills training
  • In-person NFL Play 60 Skills Challenge

*tentative

Golf

LTP Registration Deadline: prior to your LTPs first practice
Event Registration Deadline: North (Sept. 11), South (Sept. 11), Central (Sept. 18), Level 1 (Oct. 2)

Dates & Locations:

  • North Sectional: Saturday, September 19, 2020 – Plainfield West 9, Plainfield
  • South Sectional: Sunday, September 20, 2020 – Latona Golf Club, Buena
  • Central Sectional: Saturday, September 26, 2020 – Greenbriar Country Club, Monroe Township
  • Level 1 Golf Skills: Saturday, October 10, 2020 – Fiddler’s Elbow, Bedminster

Anticipated Event Offerings:

  • Level 1
  • Level 2**
  • Level 4**
  • Virtual Skills Training Sessions

**Note- 2 qualifying rounds scores will need to be submitted with event registration for levels 2 & 4

Soccer Skills

LTP Registration Deadline: prior to your LTPs first practice
Event Registration Deadline: North (Oct. 2), South (Oct. 9), Central (Oct. 16)
Dates & Locations:

  • North Sectional: Saturday, October 10, 2020* – Oak Ridge Park, Clark
  • South Sectional: Saturday, October 17, 2020* – RiverWinds, West Deptford
  • Central Sectional: Saturday, October 24, 2020* – Mercer County Park, West Windsor

Anticipated Event Offerings:

  • Individual Skill Challenge (in-person or at-home)
  • Team Skill Challenge, traditional & Unified (minimum 5 players) (in-person or at-home)

*tentative

Triathlon

LTP Registration Deadline: prior to your LTPs first practice
Event Registration Deadline: September 9, 2020
Date(s): September 1-30, 2020
Event Location: At-home (“Virtual”)

Anticipated Event Offerings:

  • At-home (“Virtual”) duathlon