Practice Tips & Reminders
  • Be prepared for the check-in process to take much more time than normal. It is suggested to have a plan in place to keep athletes engaged who have already checked-in but are waiting for the practice/activity to start.
  • Encourage parents/guardians/caregivers to stay at the venue until the athlete has passed the initial check-in screening.
  • Utilize volunteers or assistant coaches to help with check-in procedures as well as to help monitor the group for adherence to health, safety, and social distancing protocols (i.e. wearing a mask when appropriate, no hugs or high fives, no sharing of equipment before its sanitized, etc.)
  • Best practices for equipment sanitation:
    • Wearing gloves, use a household disinfectant spray in a well-ventilated area and coat frequently touched surfaces of all shared equipment until wet. Let equipment sit out to air dry.
      • This includes cones, poly spots (floor markers), and sport-specific equipment
    • Wash and/or sanitize all equipment bags after each use.
    • Dispose of gloves and wash your hands with soap and water for at least twenty (20) seconds after sanitizing all equipment.
    • For further sanitization information, visit the CDC’s webpage for Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting
  • If there is a point in time during active participation in a sport or activity that social distancing cannot be maintained between an athlete, Unified partner, coach or volunteer, then it is recommended that the athlete place his or her mask back on during that time as long as they can continue to safely perform the activity while wearing a mask.
    • Some examples of this include, but are not limited to: If a golf Unified partner is working closely with an athlete to line up a shot or adjust their stance, or a coach is holding a bike steady while the athlete is getting on or off, etc.
Coach Toolkit

The following items will be made available to each LTP upon request. To request a kit and coordinate delivery, please contact: Matt Willey, MAW@SONJ.ORG

Kits will include the following items:

  • Printed and laminated social distancing info signage
  • Clipboard
  • Sign in sheets
  • Touchless thermometer
    • 1 (one) thermometer will be provided for each LTP for use during the fall 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.
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Gloves
  • Masks
  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Storage Equipment bag
  • Social Distancing aids
  • Set of cones to mark areas for practice
  • Sports equipment – basketballs available upon request
  • Individual Water bottles – provide number of athletes and coaches participating
  • Spray Bottle

Online versions of included signage

Summer Season 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
Additional Coach Resources

General Special Olympics Return to Activity Resources

(Note: some of the information on the websites below may vary from Special Olympics New Jersey’s Return to Activity information. SONJ’s Return to Activity Guidelines should be followed where any discrepancies exist.)

Practice Resources by Sport

**More resources to come



All participants are required to fill out the following form:

High Risk Waiver & COVID-19 Code of Conduct Waiver

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. 

  • 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.
  • To control exposure, athletes can participate in no more than one (1) approved in-person SONJ activity.
    • Activity is defined as an in-season sport, out of season sport, or any SONJ affiliated activity such as walking club, fitness night, etc.
    • Athletes are permitted to practice no 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
  • Athletes and Unified partners MUST wear a mask at all times during both active and inactive participation.
    • Swimming is the only exception, but athletes must wear a mask prior to and immediately after exiting the pool.
  • Athletes and Unified partners may remove masks for hydrating or for brief medical reasons.
  • Coaches, staff, volunteers, and spectators MUST wear 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
  • Online submission is preferred, but a paper copy is available.
  • 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 groundworks), set-up 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.
  • Coach or volunteer must sign-in all participants on the Screening and Tracking Template for Special Olympics New Jersey Activities which asks screening questions.
  • Take temperature using a 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, 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 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, or 609.896.8000 x252

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