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 1A 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 1A. 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 basketball 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 basketball 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 dribbling the basketball and then the ball being disinfected before being used by the next individual to practice their skills.

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 competition?

Coaches, staff, volunteers, family members, and caregivers should wear a mask at all times.  If at any point during active participation six (6) feet of social distancing cannot be maintained, a mask should be worn by all participants.  Mask wearing during active competition will be pending sport-specific or facility guidelines.

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.

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
  • 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.
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 winter and spring season?

Athletes can only participate in one (1) in-person activity for the winter season and one (1) in-person activity for the spring 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!  Beginning in January we will be 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.  Total Body Challenge will also resume.

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

If a participant has had COVID-19 previously can they participate in winter and spring 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 in December and January.  Winter and Spring sport indoor trainings may begin on February 1st.  Summer sports training may begin on April 5th.

Updated on 12/16

Can programs begin training in any other sports/activities? Updated 10/29

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? Updated10/29

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.

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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