COVID-19 Return to Play FAQ

How should Programs keep track of the COVID-19 Participant Code of Conduct and Risk Assessment form?
Special Olympics Massachusetts is not mandating a specific process for collecting or tracking Code of Conduct/Risk Assesment forms, but encourages Programs to develop a system that will work for their participants and volunteers. 
What if someone refuses to sign the COVID-19 Participant Code of Conduct and Risk Assessment form?
The main focus should be on the education and emphasizing that we are keeping everyone safe and strongly encouraging signing of the document. The Code of Conduct is not a legally binding document.

For the screening form, when asking if you have had any exposure to COVID-19, how immediate should the contact / exposure be/have been?
Only report if the participant has had direct contact with someone who has had COVID-19, not that someone has been in contact with a friend who had another friend that had COVID-19.

Are there specific sports that are not allowed to return in certain phases?
Sporting activities should focus on individual skill development and conditioning to avoid indirect contact until Phase 2 and direct contact until phase 3. For example, you might resume basketball individual skills practice in phases 1 and 2, but not scrimmages or games until phase 3. Or you might fully resume singles bocce in Phase 1, with small groups, physical distancing, and sanitation/disinfection protocols in place. A Program may choose how and when they return to each sport, provided they follow the precautions and infection control outlined in the Protocol for each phase. The sport specific resources document provides an outline of some basic risk categories. It also provides links to how specific sport federations and associations recommend modifications to programming and training. The return to practice and play document provides activities to do either at home or in gatherings under 10 people starting in phase 2.
Why are participants living in long-term care facilities considered high risk?
The list of individuals at high-risk is based on guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO). Research has shown that individuals with disabilities living in a nursing home or congregate moderate to intensive long-term care facility are at increased risks of transmission as well as complications. The intention behind this is in regards to individuals living in licensed long-term care facilities, this does not apply to individuals living in group homes. For more information on who is high risk please visit this risk assessment fact sheet.

How should food and beverages at practices be handled?
During Phases 1 and 2, participants should bring their own food and water/beverage if needed. There should be no shared food nor shared water jugs/beverage.

What is Special Olympics Massachusetts doing to make sure equipment is sanitized at practice?
Programs have been provided PPE to ensure the safety of all participants. The PPE included sanitizer, disinfecting wipes and a no touch thermometer. Masks are required to and from practice and were also provided to programs.

Could you clarify indirect contact and direct contact? Is passing a soccer ball considered indirect contact?
In this context, “indirect contact” is considered an activity where a ball or equipment is touched or in contact with an individual’s hands/skin and then directly touching another individual’s hands/skin without disinfection. An example of indirect contact would be a basketball or football or softball being passed around between participants. Individual drills for those sports with disinfection of equipment/ball in between uses is permitted. For example, an individual practices dribbling and then the ball being disinfected before being used by the next individual to practice their skills. Soccer drills that involve passing the ball by kicking and staying 6 feet/2 meters apart is not indirect contact as the contact is via the covered foot, not skin. Note: scrimmage or full play of any sports such as basketball, football, volleyball, floor hockey, or soccer, etc. however, would be considered direct contact as bodies are regularly in contact with one another.