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.

What is the timeline for roll-out?

Beginning August 1, 2020, SONJ will Return to Activity with several modifications and guidelines.

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 will 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 notify participants that were at the event that an individual in attendance tested positive (without disclosing identifying information) as soon as possible and instruct those individuals to remain home and remain quarantined for 14 days. A negative COVID test must be produced in order to return to activities.

In Stage 1 does the group size restriction of 10 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 10 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 1. 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.

Could you clarify “indirect contact” and “direct contact”? Is passing a soccer ball considered “indirect contact”?

In this context, “indirect contact” is considered an activity where a ball or equipment is touched or in contact with an individual’s hands/skin and then directly touching another individual’s hands/skin without disinfection. An example of indirect contact would be a football being passed around between participants. Individual drills for those sports with disinfection of equipment/ball in between uses is permitted. For example, an individual practices throwing the football and then the ball being disinfected before being used by the next individual to practice their skills. Soccer drills that involve passing the ball by kicking and staying 6 feet is not indirect contact as the contact is via the covered foot, not skin.

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. Ideally should be more than one facility as the events get larger (50 people).
  • 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.
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 recommended that a face shield be used instead of a facemask at Special Olympics activities.

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?


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 fall season?

Athletes can only participate in one (1) on-field activity this fall. Athletes can take part in any and all Virtual (at-home) opportunities in addition to the one (1) on field activity.

How does a participant take part in Virtual (at-home) opportunities this fall?

All individuals taking part in any Virtual (at-home) opportunities must complete the at home participant waiver and have an up to date medical or Class A form. The High Risk wavier and COVID Code of Conduct waiver do not need to be completed for Virtual opportunities.

If a participant has had COVID-19 previously can they participate in the fall activities?

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, you must get written medical clearance before returning to Special Olympics in person activities as serious cardiac, respiratory, and neurological issues may develop as a result of COVID-19.

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?

All in-person activities must be done outdoors

Can programs begin training in any other sports/activities other than those listed in the Fall Activities guide? Updated 9/1

Programs can only participate in the Fall 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? Updated 9/1

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.

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