Who do I contact with general questions?

Please contact SONJ by emailing sportsinfo@sonj.org.

How did the Return to Activity timeline get determined?

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 by the state of New Jersey and Special Olympics New Jersey Community.

How will high risk participants be protected?

Participants, parents, guardians and caregivers should be provided with education on Special Olympics guidelines and relevant acknowledgements or expectations (conduct expectations, waivers, etc.)

While respecting privacy laws, how do I find out if someone has tested positive that I trained/practiced with?

In terms of notification of other participants if there is a Special Olympics participant who is found to be COVID-19, SONJ will work with the Program to notify participants that were at the event that an individual in attendance tested positive (without disclosing identifying information) as soon as possible.

In Stage 2 does the group size restriction of 50 and under include any non-Special Olympics staff who may be venue employees or other members of the public at the same venue who are not part of our Special Olympics group?
  • Venue staff should not be interacting with the athletes and must remain 6 feet from the Special Olympics group. The facility staff would not count against your 50 limit. If the facility staff are mixing with the group and within 6 feet during the activity and/or will be leading activities, then they should be counted in the number of participants.
  • In addition to Special Olympics guidance, Programs will have to follow the guidance of the venue/facility (as well as the local authorities) if more stringent in terms of number of participants allowed within the venue/facility overall for Stage 2. If there are other groups in the space, it is the responsibility of the venue to follow local guidance to control and applicable venue capacity limits and/or physical distancing requirements amongst groups in the venue. However, if the venue is not operating in a safe manner, or in conjunction with the general infection control precautions, the Program should consider switching venue or ceasing activities, until they can be done safely.
Who must complete the COVID-19 Code of Conduct waiver and Risk Assessment waiver

All Special Olympics participants (Athletes, Unified partners, Coaches, Volunteers, and SO Staff) must complete the form. Failure to complete the COVID-19 Code of Conduct waiver and Risk Assessment waiver (if applicable) will result in no in-person participation allowed.

Do I have to complete the COVID-19 Code of Conduct waiver each Sports Season?

No. Once the waiver is initially completed, it does not have to be done each season.  Please only complete the waivers ONCE per person.

What happens if someone refuses to sign the COVID-19 Participant Code of Conduct and Risk Assessment waiver (if applicable)?

Failure to complete the COVID-19 Code of Conduct waiver and Risk Assessment waiver (if applicable) will result in no in-person participation allowed.

Does the COVID screening violate HIPAA (applicable in the US only)?

Special Olympics is exempt from HIPAA.

How often are teams permitted to practice?

Athletes can practice no more than one (1) time per week.  If a program must be split in half and hold more than one practice session to accommodate the group, a coach is permitted to attend more than one practice, but athletes are not.

Are we restricting participation, preventing athletes and volunteers from participating if they identify as “high risk”?

Any participant that identifies as high risk and would like to participate will be required to complete the High Risk waiver.

What is meant by handwashing facility or station? What type of hand sanitizer should be used?
  • For a handwashing facility or portable station, there should be access to clean water, soap and paper towels to dry hands.
  • Have signage reminding participants about hand hygiene and proper techniques for washing hands and using hand sanitizer.
  • Hand sanitizer should be with at least 60% alcohol.
Are masks required during indoor and outdoor competition?
  • 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 masks at all times.
May a participant use a face shield instead of a mask?

It is not known if face shields provide any benefit as source control to protect others from the spray of respiratory particles. At this time, clinical guidance suggests that a face shield should be used in addition to a facemask in certain clinical settings, not as a replacement for a mask. A face shield alone does not provide proper protection from the spread of COVID-19 via droplets in the air. At this time, it is not permitted for a face shield to be used instead of a facemask at Special Olympics activities.

What 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
If someone says they have a medical reason for not being able to wear a facemask, how should a Program handle this?

At this time, if an individual is unable to wear a mask for any reason, they will not be able to participate in Special Olympics New Jersey in-person activities. Virtual at home actives will be permitted.

Is a current and up to date SONJ 3-year medical required for participation?

Yes.

What should I do if my SONJ 3-year medical is invalid and I plan to return to practice?

Athletes must get an updated medical form prior to their first practice. If athletes are having trouble obtaining a valid medical or getting a doctor’s appointment, please reach to Amelia Hamilton (ARH@SONJ.ORG)

Can athletes participate in more than one sport for the upcoming Summer season?

Athletes can only participate in one (1) in-person activity for the summer season. Athletes can take part in any and all Virtual (at-home) opportunities in addition to the one (1) in-person activity.

Will there be any virtual opportunities for athletes?

Yes!  We have begun hosting sport-specific and general fitness live zoom sessions, as well as opportunities for members of the community to socially engage with one another through games and activity sessions through SONJ at Home.  Total Body Challenge will also resume.

Contact Sam Cyliax, SMC@sonj.org with any questions.

Should I wear a mask when traveling to practice?

For travel to and from practice – If you must take public transportation or carpool with people outside your household, wear a mask the entire journey to/from home.

If necessary, where can I get tested for COVID-19?

A full list of testing sites in New Jersey can be found here.

Can any of the in-person practices/activities be moved from outdoor to indoor facilities?

Only if participants can adhere to all rules and regulations laid out in the Return to Activities Guidelines and the guidelines of the venue.

Updated on 3/24

Can programs begin training in any other sports/activities?

Programs can only participate in activities that are listed.  If there is an activity or sport not listed, and a Program would like to submit a proposal for an outdoor practice plan for an activity/sport, the link can be found here: https://www.tfaforms.com/4847073.

Can programs schedule social activities?

Currently, the only approved Special Olympics New Jersey activity can be conducted.  If there is an activity or sport not listed, and a Program would like to submit a proposal for an outdoor practice plan for an activity/sport, the link can be found here: https://www.tfaforms.com/4847073.  We also have virtual "Hangout" sessions available through our SONJ at Home site.

When can Summer sport indoor training begin?

Summer sports training may begin on April 5, 2021, adhering to the Return to Activity Guidelines. To submit a proposal for an Out of Season practice plan for an activity/sport, the link can be found here: https://www.tfaforms.com/4847073.

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