Requirements for Delegations to Return to Play

The COVID-19 pandemic introduces a number of different challenges for delegations. Our number one goal is to get athletes active and training together again while keeping their safety and well-being as the cornerstone to all of our decisions on a state level. On this page you will find the guidelines that will allow athletes, coaches and Unified Partners to get back to physical activity in a safe, phased approach.

SOMN Return to Play Timeline and Details

Return to play guidelines as of 7/1/2021

  • AS OF July 1, SOMN is following the updated guidelines from Special Olympics Inc. (SOI). SOMN is currently in the GREEN phase.
    • Return to Activities Protocol
    • Mayo Clinic Weekly County Rate
    • There are no sport-specific guidelines in the green phase. Delegations should follow the mask requirements listed below and take active measures to continue social distancing. Follow the rules and guidelines at your practice facility. Shared equipment should be sanitized between uses.

How to Return to Play

  • Review: Return to Activities Protocol and requirements below.
  • Paperwork & Waiver: All paperwork must be up to date AT LEAST A WEEK BEFORE PRACTICE STARTS. This includes the online COVID-19 waiver and all necessary paperwork for athletes, Unified Partners and coaches.
  • Practice: After each step listed above is complete your delegation may hold the first practice.

COVID-19 Vaccine Information

Please review the Special Olympics Minnesota Vaccine FAQs

Delegation requirements to return to practice

1. All athletes, coaches, Unified Partners, Heads of Delegations and team assistants are required to complete the COVID-19 Training and Waiver and have up to date certifications on file (athlete medical/consent, coach certifications, background checks, etc.) prior to beginning practice.
2. If you have any of these high risk conditions listed below, it is recommended that you should not return to Special Olympics Minnesota in-person activities until there is little to no COVID-19 in your community.

If you do choose to return to in-person activities, you acknowledge the risks that are associated with these activities, including putting yourself, your family and your teammates at risk. This applies to all roles within Special Olympics: athletes, coaches, Unified Partners, volunteers, etc.

High Risk Classifications:

  • People 65 years and older
  • People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility (like a congregate or group home)
  • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
  • People who have serious heart conditions (including heart failure, heart surgery, coronary artery disease, congenital heart disease, cardiomyopathy)
  • People who are immunocompromised
    • Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications
  • People with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 or higher). Calculate your BMI
  • People with diabetes
  • People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
  • People with liver disease
  • People with brain and spinal cord disorders (like cerebral palsy, epilepsy, stroke, dementia)
3. Follow Special Olympics guidelines on screening based on your county weekly COVID-19 case count
  • If a person answers has a fever or shows signs of COVID-19 symptoms, the participant and anyone they arrived with will need to leave the venue immediately.
  • Athletes and Unified Partners that have at any time previously tested positive for COVID-19 will need to provide written medical clearance from their doctor before returning to practice or in-person activities. This requirement is for the immediate purpose of ensuring no further COVID-19 transmission and because of the potential long-term (especially cardiac-related) health impacts that could make participation more dangerous. For Unified Partners and athletes that have a current medical on file, this means they can submit a note from their doctor to SOMN. For athletes that do not have a current medical on file, they must get a new physical exam (dated after their positive COVID-19 test) to update their medical before returning to practice.
  • If a person develops symptoms during the event or practice, they will be asked to leave immediately.
    • There will be an isolation area set up for the individual(s) to go to until they are able to safely leave the premises.
    • Any person who has had close contact with the individual will also be asked to leave.
    • If symptoms progress and it requires a 911 call, notify the person that transported the individual along with the authorities that the individual is showing symptoms of COVID-19.
4. Teams must follow social distancing recommendations.
  • Individuals must adhere to social distancing recommendations when participants are not playing (on the bench, in the dugout, on the sideline, etc.).
  • Practice social distancing of 6 feet from other households during drop off/pick up of players.
  • Find new ways to show sportsmanship, for example use hands or hats to give a wave. Promote cloth face coverings or facemasks.
5. Mask Requirements
  • Masks are strongly recommended for ALL participants, especially when indoors, except during rigorous exercise. All individuals who are unvaccinated must wear masks indoors and outdoors except during rigorous exercise.
  • Follow Return to Activities Protocol and what phase your county falls in based off of the Mayo Clinic Weekly County Rate
  • Many sports often involve occasional close contact with others, so an activity or practice session may need to be modified to ensure that 6 feet of social distance can be maintained.
  • Athletes, volunteers, and coaches must follow facility requirements regarding wearing cloth face coverings or face masks.
  • MN Department of Health defines face coverings as: Types of face coverings include a paper or disposable mask, a cloth mask, a neck gaiter, a scarf, a bandanna, or a religious face covering. It is not known whether face shields (a clear plastic barrier that covers the face) provide the same source control for droplets as face masks, but they may be an option in situations where wearing a face mask is problematic. For optimal protection, the shield should extend below the chin and to the ears, and there should be no exposed gap between the forehead and the shield’s headpiece.
6. Team members cannot share snacks or drinks at practice.

Individuals must bring their own food and beverages.

7. Teams must report positive COVID-19 cases and exposure to positive COVID-19 cases.
  • If a case of COVID-19 is reported to you and is a part of your Delegation, report the case to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) at [email protected].
    • MDH or local public health will work with you to identify close contacts and do follow-up with your team.
  • If a case of COVID-19 is a part of your Delegation you must also report the case to SOMN.
    • Participants who are found to have COVID-19 symptoms and have not tested positive must wait 7 days after symptoms resolve to return to activity OR must provide written proof of physician clearance to Special Olympics Minnesota to return earlier.
    • Participants who test positive for COVID-19 must sit out for a minimum of 10 days and a minimum of 7 days after symptoms resolve.
    • Athletes and Unified Partners who have at any time tested positive for or currently have COVID-19 must provide written medical clearance before returning to sport and fitness activities. For Unified Partners and athletes that have a current medical on file, this means they can submit a note from their doctor directly to SOMN. For athletes that do not have a current medical on file, they must get a new physical exam (dated after their positive COVID-19 test) to update their medical before returning to practice.
  • If a Special Olympics participant was exposed to an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 at a different location (e.g., their school or home or work) you must report the case to SOMN.
    • If the individual who was exposed has completed the COVID-19 vaccination (two doses in a two-dose series or one dose in a one-dose series) and is exposed outside of a Special Olympics practice, they do not need to quarantine if ALL the following are true:
      • The COVID-19 exposure was at least 14 days after their vaccination series was fully completed.
      • The COVID-19 exposure was within 90 days of their final dose of the vaccination series.
      • They do not currently have any symptoms of COVID-19.
    • If the individual who was exposed has NOT completed the COVID-19 vaccination and is exposed outside of a Special Olympics practice, the safest option is to stay home and away from others for 14 days. In certain situations, you may end your quarantine after 7 days with a negative COVID-19 test results. You cannot end your quarantine before 7 days for any reason. You may consider being around others after 7 days only if:
8. Transportation Guidelines

Follow Return to Activities Protocol and what phase your county falls in based off of the Mayo Clinic Weekly County Rate