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Special Olympics Kansas releases softball, golf return to play guidelines

(Courtesy Special Olympics)
(Courtesy Special Olympics)(Special Olympics)
Published: Jul. 21, 2020 at 2:31 PM CDT
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MISSION, Kan. (WIBW) - Special Olympics Kansas has released its softball and golf return to play guidelines and is optimistic about getting athletes back on the field following COVID-19 cancellations.

Special Olympics Kansas says Special Olympics athletes will take the field again soon with permission to begin practice and competition of softball and golf. It says it has outlined a three-phase set of guidelines to begin Aug. 1, 2020, which emphasizes the importance of the health and safety of all members of the Special Olympics movement.

Special Olympics Kansas says athlete, coach and volunteer health is the main priority of the organization and return to play follows. It says dates and locations for state competitions of softball and golf will be announced at a later date.

“Special Olympics Kansas is cautiously optimistic that we will be able to achieve a safe Return to Play for our athletes,” stated Special Olympics Kansas President/CEO, John Lair. “Special Olympics training and competition is a key part of our athletes’ lives, and it is important that we do our part to attempt to bring some of that normalcy back.” 

Special Olympics Kansas says phase one of the plan will begin on Aug. 1 and will allow individual teams to gather in groups of less than 20 to participate in general activities, sports, training and group fitness. It says it is encouraging these groups to adhere to proper social distancing guidelines as no form of physical contact is allowed at this time.

The organization says during phase one all athletes and volunteers must sign a COVID-19 Participant Code of Conduct and Risk Assessment Form before the first team practice, and all teams will e keeping an attendance sheet at every gathering in case further contact tracing is needed.

Special Olympics Kansas says as it has made health and safety a priority, proper pre-activity precautions and recommended skills, activities and drills have been outlined and provided to teams.

The organization says phase two begins Sep. 7, starting with an increase in the allowed capacity of gatherings. It says teams will then be allowed in groups of up to 40, and will still be encouraged to practices proper social distancing while direct contact will still be prohibited, however, indirect contact can be resumed.

Special Olympics Kansas says phase two contains identical guidelines to phase one, with the addition of softball teams now being allowed to have inter-program scrimmages while also maintaining proper health and safety guidelines.

According to the organization, phase three, the final phase in the return to play, will begin Oct. 1 when the gathering limit will increase to 250 people, including the total number of individuals at the competition facility. It says this phase allows regional tournaments among teams and will include sanitation and social distancing protocols that will be decided on closer to each event.

The organization says teams will still be encouraged to practice all provided training safety requirements to maintain athlete, coach, volunteer and spectator safety during phase three.

Kansas Special Olympics says all of its guidance provided is based on the current medical information available. It says as COVID-19 knowledge changes rapidly, guidance will continue to evolve and if a team or program is uncomfortable with the in-person competition, athletes will have the option to participate in several options of Special Olympics Kansas Virtual Health & Fitness.

The organization says it is encouraging that local programs and teams follow local county policy if local restrictions are more restrictive than its policy.

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