Greetings Local Program and Head Coaches:
I hope this message finds you all doing well and coping with the COIVD-19 stay-at-home order, business restrictions and physical distancing that has become standard in our lives. Though several of our counties are seeing increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases, the majority of our state seems to be leveling out a little bit and our Governor has begun to phase nonessential businesses back into operation on a very limited basis. There is hope that we are progressing past this pandemic but physical distancing, face masks and hand washing will be with us for the foreseeable future and, in my opinion, most of us will not feel truly safe until there is a vaccine developed that will eradicate the virus.
Special Olympics has a responsibility to protect our vulnerable athlete population as well as all of our volunteers at every level. We have an additional risk calculation that requires us to be more vigilant as to how and when we can start phasing in our traditional Sports and Health program. In response to this responsibility, Special Olympics, Inc. (SOI) has extended the postponement of all in-person activities and events through June 30, 2020. This includes training, competition, fundraising and meetings. The SONM staff will continue to work from home and the Chapter Office will remain closed.
Return to Play Task Force
Special Olympics North America (SONA) has assembled a Return to Play Task Force to develop protocols, guidelines, and best practices that will be implemented as states begin to offer training and competition in the future. Additionally, we are waiting to hear from American Specialties, the national insurer of Special Olympics, as to what new requirements and mandates will need to be implemented to ensure we train and compete in the safest environment possible moving forward.
It is in the best interest of our athletes and our program as a whole for SONM to establish our own Return to Play Task Force. This task force will look at establishing common protocols that will apply to all sports as well as sport specific protocols. If you, or someone in your delegation would like to serve on this task force, please email me [link]. Once we have assembled, we will meet weekly via Zoom. There is a lot of professional expertise and talent in our movement. This is a great place to capitalize on that which will make us better prepared to move forward.
Fit 5 Challenge
The response to the Fit 5 Challenge on Facebook has been great and I want to extend my congratulations to all who participated in the #SONMFit5 Challenge. This is the final week of the challenge so we are shifting gears and stepping up the game a little bit by competing in the Southwest Border Battle.
Southwest Border Battle
New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah (the Four Corners states) have come together to bring you the Southwest Border Battle beginning May 4. This is a multi-state collaboration engaging Special Olympics athletes through wellness. During this 6 week challenge we will be focusing on 7 areas of wellness: physical, emotional, social, intellectual, environmental, financial, and spiritual. There will be a daily challenge to complete focusing on one of the areas of wellness. Get ready for a fun filled 6 weeks where you will learn more about yourself as a whole.
COVID-19 has proven to be a major challenge to our Special Olympics program and in our daily lives. It is important that we stay connected so I encourage you all to keep reaching out to our athletes to just say “hi,” to keep in contact with your Area Directors and other programs in your Area, and to participate in the statewide zoom meeting. I am looking forward to talking with all of you.
For the Love of the Game,