COVID-19 & Return To Play Policies

COVID-19 Updates & Return To Play Policies

Date: May 4, 2020

To: SOAZ athletes, volunteers, families, and friends

From: Jamie Heckerman, CEO

Subject: Cancellation of in-person programming & events through June 30, 2020

Last week, Special Olympics International (SOI) announced that Special Olympics programs should extend the cancelation of all in-person events and activities through June 30, 2020, at which point the situation will be reassessed and further guidance provided. In compliance with this request, as well as to abide by CDC guidance, we are canceling all sports training, practices, competitions and fundraisers through June 30th. This extension includes the cancellation of the Floor Hockey Regional Competition (practices cannot be conducted in May or June) as well as Unified Family Camp.

While canceling events is disappointing, we know that our love of sport does not compare to the importance of protecting the health of our athletes and the entire Special Olympics Arizona community. We are continuing to monitor the situation & consulting with public health officials from our local state department for further direction on future programming. We will provide ongoing updates as more information becomes available.

Please refer to this page of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention website for all tips or review the following FAQ document from the Maricopa County Department of Health. Please continue to practice smart and careful prevention strategies. Wash your hands often, use hand sanitizer, avoid high-fives and handshakes, and avoid contact with your face. If you do not feel well, please stay at home to protect yourself & others.

Even though we can’t be together during this time, we hope you’ll stay in touch with us through SOAZconnected – a digital strategy designed to promote the physical, emotional, and social well-being of our athletes, their families, and all members of our community through interactive, virtual engagement opportunities in health & wellness, sports & fitness, arts, and education. Join the SOAZconnected Facebook page and subscribe to notifications to find out how you can continue participating in SOAZ programming from the comfort of your home. Check it out daily for new tips, tricks, challenges, and social hangouts! Feel free to post or comment with questions, to share advice, cheer each other on, and more! You can also visit the SOAZconnected page on our website to find more information & resources.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Below are some resources and activities that have been put together for our community to access during this trying time.

  • eLearning Course: With the help of athletes and Program Staff, a 30-minute eLearning course has been developed for our Special Olympics community about COVID-19. This course is designed to cover the basic information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) including: what is the coronavirus, what are the symptoms, how does it spread, and how you can protect yourself. We encourage the entire Special Olympics community to complete this module at Please see instructions for accessing this course.
  • Young Athletes
    • Family Flash Cards. Fun and engaging flashcards featuring each of the individual activities and at home equipment modifications for families to use at home to run Young Athletes.
    • Young Athletes At Home. Guide for families and caregivers on how to run Young Athletes activities at home.
    • Young Athletes Videos. Videos demonstrating the individual Young Athletes activities.
    • Healthy Play at Home. Poster for families to track the various healthy behaviors they do at home.
    • Tips for talking to children about Coronavirus 2019 from CDC and UNICEF.
  • Fitness
    • Fit 5 Resources Series
      • Fit 5 Guide: Educational guide and tracker for athletes to focus on fitness.
      • Fitness Cards: A series of leveled exercises in endurance, strength and flexibility. These cards can be done at home and with little equipment.
      • Fitness Videos: Videos portraying the exercises in the fitness cards. Athletes can follow along with the videos to get a great workout!
    • Staying Fit at Home: simple week-long calendar that athletes can follow to stay fit. Week-long calendar can be repeated as needed. Athletes can sign up on the link in the resource to receive newsletter with content from Health Messengers to for tips and ideas on how to stay active.

Thank you for your patience and understanding. This is uncharted territory and we appreciate your support as we work to make the best decisions for our athletes and everyone in the SOAZ community.

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