Coronavirus – An Update from Special Olympics Virginia
March 20, 2020
Under advisement from Special Olympics International, in cooperation with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and out of an abundance of caution, we have made the decision to suspend all community-based Special Olympics practices, competitions and other activities through the end of May.
This will include Summer Games, which was scheduled for June 12-13.
All school-based Unified Champion Schools (UCS) activities should continue to follow the lead of the school system and/or school superintendent in the decision-making process.
All Special Olympics VA and Law Enforcement Torch Run fundraising events also are suspended through May 31.
We made this decision based on information from experts, prioritizing the well-being our of athletes, family members, volunteers and supporters. Our events are opportunities for people to come together for a wonderful cause but unfortunately, that joining together can pose a risk to our athletes and communities.
During the course of the next few weeks we’ll be sharing useful information with all of our athletes, coaches and families on ways they can stay fit and make healthy lifestyle choices. We’ll post videos of training you can do at home as well as other tips and online resources. Stay tuned to our Facebook page and your email for more details.
Our staff is still working so if you have any questions or need to reach out to us you can contact any staff member via email. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding.
Rick Jeffrey, Special Olympics Virginia President
March 12, 2020
Special Olympics International has strongly suggested that State programs suspend athlete active programs. As such SOVA has directed we cease activities as stated below.
All Area 6 Special Olympics Virginia activities, to include practices/trainings, competitions, social gatherings, etc., Will BE SUSPENDED through MARCH 31.
Check with your local Coordinators for updates as we get closer to the end of March.
Following is documentation regarding this decision.
Coronavirus – An Update from Special Olympics Virginia
March 11, 2020
Special Olympics Virginia is entering its spring season and with growing concern over the coronavirus in the United States, it is important to address our upcoming competitions and events for the health and safety of everyone involved.
COMMUNITY-BASED PROGRAMS: As it stands today, under the recommendation of Special Olympics International CEO Mary Davis per the Memo included below, all community-based Special Olympics Virginia activities, to include practices/trainings, competitions, social gatherings, etc., should be SUSPENDED through MARCH 31, at which time the situation will be reevaluated. Fundraising events that do not include Special Olympics athletes may continue at your discretion.
SCHOOL-BASED PROGRAMS: At this time, for any Unified Champion Schools activity at Virginia schools, such as Champions Together, Young Athletes, Unified Sports leagues, Feet Meets, etc., we should follow the lead of the school system and/or school superintendent in their decision-making process.
We appreciate your understanding and cooperation. We know that our love of sport doesn’t compare to the importance of protecting the health of the athletes, volunteers and fans, which will remain our top priority.
Special Olympics Virginia President
Memo from Mary Davis, CEO, Special Olympics International
Dear Program CEOs/Executive Directors,
As a follow up to our memo last Wednesday to all of you and due to recent developments tied to the global spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), including a case tied to a U.S. Special Olympics athlete, and the heightened risks for people with intellectual disabilities and the elderly, Special Olympics Programs worldwide are very strongly advised to suspend all sport training and competition activities and other activations involving our athletes through 31 March 2020, at which time the situation will be reevaluated.
Fundraising events that do not include Special Olympics athletes may proceed at the discretion of each Program, so long as Programs carefully assess the risk in collaboration with their local or national health agencies.
This decision was carefully made after consulting with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and after reviewing the latest guidance from the World Health Organization.
In the coming weeks, we will work with leadership across the Special Olympics movement and continue to monitor and evaluate developments that may impact our athletes, staff and volunteers. We will also work with our communications network to coordinate with local and national health departments, while monitoring traditional media and social media channels.
These actions are necessary to ensure that we are doing everything we can to prevent transmission of the virus. We have prepared a list of frequently asked questions that you can reference on the topic of virus prevention and control.
Should you learn of anybody in your SO Program, who may have contracted the virus, please alert your regional president or designated regional point of contact and communication lead immediately.
Please feel free to share with us any questions you may have.
We sincerely appreciate your understanding and cooperation: the health and safety of our athletes and constituents are our highest priority.
CEO, Special Olympics International