Special Olympics Australia –
Information regarding Coronavirus

UPDATE – Friday 20 March 2020

Considering unfolding developments in relation to the Coronavirus, Special Olympics Australia has made the difficult decision to cease all 2020 school program delivery until further notice.

All term 1 school programs are to cease effective immediately. No term 2 programs are to be scheduled or to commence until further notice.

We anticipate returning to normal program delivery from the beginning of Term 3, pending a review of the Coronavirus situation and Australian Government recommendations for the sport and education sectors.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of our school program, please contact Pierre Comis, Head of Schools and Participation.

Download our 'What you need to know' Infographic on Coronavirus

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Wednesday 18 March 2020

The situation with coronavirus (COVID-19) is changing rapidly. We are doing all we can to protect our athletes, volunteers, coaches and our Special Olympics community. 

Advice from Special Olympics Inc. (SOI)
We have received notification from SOI which states, “SOI is strongly advising all Regions, Programs, and SOI to cancel all in-person events through 31 May 2020, at which point we will reassess the situation and provide updated guidance”.
This recommendation from SOI is in line with our recommendation made on Friday 6 March 2020 and we urge you and your Special Olympics Club to follow this advice to protect yourselves and others around you.

Impacts on business
All Special Olympics Australia staff have now been asked to telecommute (work from home) with immediate effect and until further notice.
This is also based upon advice from SOI and will ensure that we are limiting the number of people working in our offices and out in the community in order to minimise the risk of exposure.
All staff are available as usual on phone and email. If you need any assistance with membership, events, fundraising, communications or club and state operations, please contact the relevant staff member via 1300 225 762.

Read FAQs and hints and tips on how to maintain physical fitness

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Friday 6 March 2020

Considering unfolding developments in relation to the Coronavirus, Special Olympics Australia recommends that our members and clubs postpone all existing training, competitions and other events until further notice.

We recognise the unique context associated with providing services for people with intellectual disabilities and have taken this decision after careful consideration and balancing the benefits, risks and mitigation options.

Special Olympics athletes and their health and wellbeing are at the centre of this decision.

We note that the Australian Government advises the risk in the community is currently very low, but because the outbreak scenario is rapidly changing, and our athletes are vulnerable people, we have made this proactive decision to protect our community.

This recommendation is for any Special Olympics or affiliate event that Special Olympics athletes may attend. This includes planned State Games and multi-sport events.

Importantly, preparation for the scheduled 2020 Junior National Games in October at Launceston will continue in the expectation that the Games will proceed as planned. Teams and athletes attending the Junior National Games should continue with their administrative plans for the Games to proceed but exclude training, competitions and other events.

Events that do not involve Special Olympics athletes will continue as planned with risk mitigation strategies implemented.

We recommend everyone practise good hygiene. Good hygiene measures include:
- washing your hands often with soap and water
- using a tissue and covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze
- avoiding close contact with others, such as touching.

Maintaining physical activity is important to improve health outcomes of Special Olympics athletes. Where possible, physical activity should be continued with additional precautions such as use of good hygiene practises.

We recommend that people remain calm and cautious whilst acting on the best health advice available.

As the global and local situation changes, this decision will be reviewed and updated. We will remain vigilant and focussed on the wellbeing of our athletes and community.

 

Additional resources can be found -

For the latest advice, information and resources:
www.health.gov.au

Coronavirus:
http://https//www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus

https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov

https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert

https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/coronavirus.aspx

Basic protective measures:

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public