January COVID-19 Update
As of January 5, 2022
Dropping Back to Phase 1 for Start of Winter 2022
PHASED APPROACH TO RETURN TO ACTIVITIES
On December 14, 2021, Special Olympics Oregon (SOOR) announced that it would move from Phase 1 into Phase 2 of our continued phased approach to Return to Activities. Phase 2 had just gone into effect on January 1, 2022.
Due to the massive increase in COVID-19 cases around the state along with the projection of continued community spread in the coming weeks, SOOR will be returning back to Phase 1, effective immediately, until at least January 31, 2022 (see Phase 1 protocols below).
All phases of the return plan are developed by the SOOR Return to Activities Task Force and approved by the SOOR Board of Directors. Plans are based on the guidance from Special Olympics, Inc., as well as guidelines shared by the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Infection (CDC), the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and County Health Departments. The Special Olympics Oregon Return to Activities Task Force is comprised of athletes and local program leaders from across the state, board members, other content experts and staff.
Phase 1: Local Sports + Activities
This return to Phase 1 will be in effect until at least January 31, 2022. Any modifications to the timeline or specific policy changes will be made in consultation with the SOOR Return to Activities Task Force and Board of Directors.
In Phase 1, local programs will have the option to select from a menu of sports to host limited sized sports training in outdoor settings with specific safety protocols in place. There will also be paperwork requirements for participants prior to return to any in-person activities on the field of play or in other non-sport settings.
RETURN TO ACTIVITIES PLAN FOR PHASE 1
The following sports/events will be offered during Phase 1:
- Official SOOR Sports
- Athletics: All running, walking, rolling events, softball throw + running & standing long jump
- Soccer: Skills and individual drills only – no direct contact with other players
- Other outdoor sports to be considered based on consultation with SOOR staff
- Additional SOOR Club Sports
- Hiking/Walking Clubs
- Fitness Clubs
- One-day sport experiences – please consult with SOOR staff
No more than a total of 50 eligible participants will be allowed to gather for Special Olympics Oregon sports training. Teams must adhere to the 4:1 athlete to coach/chaperone ratio. Eligible participants are defined as:
- Athletes with current Medical Form, COVID Code of Conduct and Communicable Disease Waiver
- Unified partners with current Class A approval (completed application, background check, completed trainings), COVID Code of Conduct and Communicable Disease Waiver
- Coaches with current Class A approval (completed application, background check, completed trainings), COVID Code of Conduct and Communicable Disease Waiver
- Training COVID Safety Manager(s): Approved Class A volunteers who will be on-site to help set venue and implement all safety protocols
- Any other approved Class A volunteers or staff directly supporting the sports training
- No Spectators: In order to assure safety, consistency in attendance, and maximize the greatest opportunity for participation with the limited capacity, spectators will NOT be permitted to attend sports training
Masks, Physical Distancing & Other Safety Protocols
- All participants will be required to wear a mask (except during active physical activity) – regardless of vaccine status
- Participant screening, distancing, and sanitation protocols will be in place for each training session
- COVID Safety Manager(s) will be responsible for setting up venue and creating proper flow and processes to ensure that everyone is safe from the time they arrive to the time they depart the training venue
Local Program Scheduling Flexibility
- During Phase 1, there will be no specific start or finish deadlines (local programs can set their own dates)
- Local programs have flexibility when making the following choices:
- When to start and finish the season
- Which outdoor sport(s) to offer (from the provided menu)
- How many participants (up to 50) will participate per training site
- How many trainings will be offered
- This flexibility also means that some local program may choose to NOT offer any sports training during Phase 1 due to a variety of reasons including facility availability, coaching resources, or other factors
UNIFIED CHAMPION SCHOOLS (UCS)
Our Unified Champion Schools programs will continue to work directly with school districts across Oregon and will utilize school district policies for any programming solely contained within the school district responsibilities. UCS will follow the same protocols as local programs for any programming when hosting events outside of school/district jurisdiction.
RETURN TO FUNDRAISING & OTHER NON-SPORT EVENTS
SOOR Leadership Meetings or Other Non-Sport/Non-Fundraising Gatherings:
- 50 or fewer participants/attendees
- Outdoors recommended
- Indoor allowed
- Masks required (except during rigorous exercise or equivalent)
- Distancing strongly recommended
- Consider shortening duration of gathering
- Local Program Hosted: Same guidance as meetings
- Partner Co-Hosted: Same guidance as meetings
- Third Party (hosted exclusively by a group other than SOOR, but where SOOR reps may have a presence): Local County Health Department guidelines apply
- Local (county) guidelines
- Any athletes who are asked to participate in official capacity will be required to follow COVID Code of Conduct
Please reference this document for more details and guidance on Phase 1 Fundraisers, Meetings and Non-Sporting Events.
This pandemic continues to throw new curveballs at our plans to return to the in-person sports and events that we cherish so much. We all share in the disappointment of having to take a step back by postponing any indoor sports trainings and events to start this winter season.
However, many of our participants remain at higher risk.
It is estimated that as many as one-half to two-thirds of our athletes fall into the high-risk category. For a complete list of the underlying health and other conditions that Special Olympics, Inc. has determined to be high risk, please click here: SOI Fact Sheet: Who Is High Risk. In addition, many of our volunteers may also fall into higher risk categories for infection or negative outcomes due to infection.
Currently, SOOR does NOT require the vaccine to return to in-person participation. Further, we do not currently collect data on who has and has not been vaccinated or have a reliable means to track this prior to registration for the upcoming season. Special Olympics, Inc (SOI) has developed a tracking app that we will consider in the future. In Phase 1, all participants (athletes, Unified partners, coaches, other volunteers) will be held to the same safety and masking protocols regardless of vaccine status.
Everyone age 5 and older are now eligible to get the vaccine in Oregon and COVID-19 booster shots are also available for those who are eligible.
Special Olympics encourages everyone who has access to the COVID-19 vaccine, to get vaccinated. The vaccine will help protect you from getting COVID-19. If you still get infected after you get vaccinated, the vaccine works to prevent serious illness. By getting vaccinated, you also help protect people around you. People with intellectual disabilities are almost 6 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than the general population. The vaccine helps to reduce the risk of serious disease and death. This information is not meant to be complete, exhaustive, or a substitute for medical professional advice or OHA and CDC guidance and is being made available in the context of the public health emergency related to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
For more vaccine-related resources, please see resources on the right-hand side of this webpage.
We are proud of incredible response we have received from athletes, volunteers, and supporters to our virtual programming during the ongoing disruption caused by COVID-19. The health and well-being of our athletes has been our top priority. As we transition back into in-person experiences, virtual programming options will remain moving forward. Programs currently being offered include:
Special Olympics Oregon launched this at-home wellness community in April 2020 and it has grown to more than 1,300 members. SOOR Active provides on-going virtual health education, wellness, sport, fitness, and social experiences. SOOR Active will continued in the future but will modify programming as we return to in person experiences moving forward.
SOOR Esports Presented By PlayStation
Special Olympics Oregon introduced SOOR Esports presented by PlayStation as another way for athletes and Unified partners to engage in meaningful social interaction through on-line skills training and competition. To date, more than 200 players have participated in Unified Rocket League training and competitions. Esports will continue year-round.