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

Winter and Spring Season Timeline
  • November 2020
    • Outdoor Winter Sports training
    • Approved Out of Season training (OUTDOORS ONLY)
  • Beginning December 7, 2020
    • Outdoor Winter Sports training
    • Approved Out of Season training (OUTDOORS ONLY)
  • Beginning January 4 (dates subject to change)
    • Indoor Winter Sports training
        • Floor Hockey Skills
        • Volleyball Skills
        • Figure Skating
        • Speed Skating
    • Floor Hockey and Volleyball Skills competition – TBD
    • Basketball Skills and Bowling training may begin
    • Approved Out of Season requests (OUTDOORS and INDOORS)
  • February (dates subject to change)
    • Winter Games competition
    • Basketball Skills and Bowling training
      • There will be no Wildwood Spring Games competition. A skills event will be held in Wildwood on March 27.
    • Approved Out of Season requests (OUTDOORS and INDOORS)
  • March (dates subject to change)
    • Basketball Skills Sectional competition
    • Bowling Finals at Bowlero
    • Area Swim Meets
    • Approved out of Season requests (OUTDOORS and INDOORS)
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

Alpine Skiing & Snowboarding 

Cross-Country Skiing & Snowshoeing 

 

Figure Skating 

 

Floor Hockey 

 

Speed Skating 

 

Volleyball 

 

Basketball 

 

 Bowling 

Virtual:

Out of Season Sport Resources

Swimming 

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 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.

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