We will update this page periodically (most recent updates at the top of the page) with updates on how COVID-19 is affecting Special Olympics Missouri events.

#SOMOAtHome Programming

We are offering a variety of online programming for all of our constituents during the COVID-19 pandemic, including health & wellness lessons as well as leadership & life skills classes. Click here for the full list of exercises and learning opportunities. 

Messaging updates

July 23: Return to Play protocols

May 6: Suspension extended through June

April 21: Summer Games announcement

March 17: Programming cancelled through May 31

March 12: Columbia Polar Plunge cancelled

March 11: Programming cancelled through March 31

July 23, 2020:

After months of waiting and planning, we are proud to announce that Special Olympics Missouri is ready to get back to play, closely following a set of guidelines we're calling our Return to Play (R2P) plan. These guidelines were approved by the Special Olympics Missouri Board of Directors on July 6.

Information on COVID-19 is changing daily. Transmission rates vary across Missouri by city and county. Special Olympics Missouri is dedicated to protecting the health and safety of our athletes, volunteers, coaches, families, officials, staff, and all who contribute to the success of our athletes in training, competition, and events.

The information on the R2P website is by no means a prescriptive, complete, or exhaustive list of Return to Play considerations. We recognize we will learn, adapt, and adjust as we make our way through this pandemic. For all documents, resources, and online trainings pertaining to our Return to Play guidelines, please visit the website.

If you have any questions, please email us directly. 


May 6, 2020:

An update regarding COVID-19 and in-person practices for June:

As we previously stated in other announcements, we are taking the threat of COVID-19 (coronavirus) seriously. Our number one priority is keeping our athletes and constituents safe.

 

Based on guidance from Special Olympics, Inc., the suspension of all sports trainings (including practices), competitions, and other program-related activities involving our athletes is being extended through JUNE 30, 2020.

 

This includes any function involving our athletes due to emerging data showing an elevated risk for people with intellectual disabilities developing serious illness if they contract coronavirus.


If you have program-related questions, please contact Trish Lutz (
Lutz@somo.org).

In the meantime:

 

We are still offering programming virtually to athletes, coaches, families, and volunteers around the state. If you haven't already checked it out, here's a taste of what we've been doing for the last few weeks during stay-at-home orders:

 

Special Olympics, Inc. (SOI), has prepared a list of frequently asked questions on the topic of virus prevention and control that you can reference. The CDC also has a lot of great information that is updated regularly (including how to avoid contraction of the virus if you are in the group of higher-risk individuals).

 

SOI has developed a 30-minute eLearning course for the Special Olympics community about COVID-19. This course is designed to cover the basic information about the coronavirus. To take the course, register at www.learn.specialolympics.org.

 

If you become aware of anyone in the Special Olympics Missouri family who becomes infected with coronavirus, immediately alert Susan Stegeman (Stegeman@somo.org).

For all future updates on the virus and how it affects Special Olympics Missouri, please visit www.SOMO.org.

 

April 21, 2020:

An important announcement regarding Coronavirus/COVID-19 and State Summer Games

After weeks of discussion, we are officially altering this year’s State Summer Games originally scheduled for June 5-7 in Columbia.

Since we already announced the cancellation of all SOMO events through May 31 due to COVID-19, we knew it would be difficult to still hold Summer Games less than a week later (our athletes need at least eight weeks to train in their respective sports). Ideally, we would be able to push back State Summer Games until the late summer or even early fall, but SOMO is a year-round sports organization.

If we made the decision to push back Summer Games, that would force us to change our fall sports schedule. Most of our area competitions for fall sports already have dates and venues scheduled. What may seem like a simple change in moving back Summer Games a month or two, would create giant waves, affecting all fall competitions.

With the uncertainty of how long this virus will continue to impact our operations, communities, constituents, and partners, we’ve decided to move forward with a series of alternate program opportunities instead.

We believe that we’ve come up with good ways to make sure some of the State Summer Games sports can still be played in 2020:

  • Virtual State Summer Games
    • We are in the very early stages of trying to take our State Summer Games virtual! It obviously won’t be the same as competing together in-person, but we are committed to find ways for everyone to compete safely with whatever equipment they already have at home.
    • We will make an announcement about the events athletes can compete in, how to register, and much more, in a Facebook Live announcement at 6 p.m. on May 1. Be sure to tune in then!
  • Volleyball and powerlifting will be offered at State Outdoor Games (Sept. 24-27 in Jefferson City)
    • Due to the growth in bocce, we were already planning to offer some bocce competition on Thursday night at Blair Oaks H.S. anyway. Since we were already scheduled some competition on Thursday, this allows us to move volleyball and powerlifting state competition to the same day (Sept. 24) at the Training for Life Campus. All other sports competition scheduled for State Outdoor Games will stay the same.
    • We will offer these sports late enough in the day on Thursday that no one will need to stay the night on Wednesday.
    • For teams that now need to stay on Thursday night (when they wouldn’t have in a previous year), State Games Assessments will NOT increase.
  • Local track & field and swimming competitions could be offered later this summer or fall
    • As of right now, it’s too early to tell if any of the areas will be able to reschedule track & field and swimming competitions, but staff is trying to find a way.
    • A lot depends on the availability of schools and venues during the summer and fall months. Please be patient as we work through these details. We will communicate details when we are able.
  • Stand-alone soccer invitational this fall at the Training for Life Campus
    • We haven’t held a state soccer competition for more than 5 years due to lack of teams statewide.
    • As a way to jumpstart the soccer program, we will offer a soccer training/invitational this fall at the Training for Life Campus in Jefferson City.
    • We are exploring potential dates and will communicate those as soon as we have them, so existing teams can start practicing and so new teams can have plenty of time to form and practice.
    • If you are an athlete from an area that doesn’t have a coach nor enough people to form a team, part of this soccer invitational will include training on the sport. So whether you come with a whole team or by yourself, there will be plenty of opportunities to play soccer and make new friends!

While we’re not holding State Summer Games in its usual form, we’re excited that we’re offering all of the sports in some fashion. We thank you for your patience in these unprecedented times. We know it’s not easy for anyone right now, but we’re filled with joy knowing that when this passes, practices and scheduling will resume and we’ll finally be together again.

In the meantime, we’re offering a series of programming that all of our constituents can take advantage of called #SOMOatHome. For a full list of upcoming sessions, to watch all past sessions, and to read a blog post on how the program started, visit www.SOMO.org/atHome.

To supplement our health & wellness and leadership & life skills classes through #SOMOatHome, we’ve created an account on an app and website called Flipgrid (www.Flipgrid.com). It’s a great way for all of our constituents to stay connected with one another and take part in various health challenges from home. For more information on how to use the app or the website, please watch the tutorial video either on our YouTube or at www.SOMO.org/atHome. Please join us on Flipgrid; let’s have some fun!

To make sure you’re receiving the most up-to-date information on how the coronavirus is affecting Special Olympics Missouri events, please follow us on Facebook and at www.SOMO.org/Coronavirus.


March 17, 2020:

An update from SOMO on the coronavirus (MARCH 17)
As we previously stated in an announcement on March 11, we are taking the threat of COVID-19 (coronavirus) seriously. Our number one priority is keeping our athletes and constituents safe.

 

On March 15, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated guidelines to postpone or cancel in-person events that consist of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks.

 

Special Olympics Missouri is following the guidance of the CDC, Special Olympics Inc., and Special Olympics North America by officially extending the suspension of all sports trainings (including practices), competitions, and other program-related activities involving our athletes through MAY 31, 2020.


At this time we are evaluating the feasibility of State Summer Games in Columbia (June 5-7) and how it will be impacted. We will be in contact as we learn more, so stay tuned.

If you have program-related questions, please contact Trish Lutz (Lutz@somo.org).

It will require ALL of us taking every precautionary measure to ensure that everyone stays as healthy as possible. Please join us in taking this seriously for the safety of all of our athletes and the safety of our community at large. It’s important that we all stay positive over the next few weeks. We’ll get through this by supporting each other, practicing safe social distancing, checking in on one another, and spreading facts, not fear. Keep the faith and know that we are all in this together.

We are in the process of creating virtual programs to engage Special Olympics Missouri athletes and fans during this time. Currently, our athlete-leaders are leading exercise, hygiene, and cooking sessions on our Facebook channel two times per day. We look forward to offering other forms of programming via our social media channels, including leadership and life skills courses in the near future.

To see all updates related to coronavirus, including past online learning sessions and a calendar of upcoming sessions, please visit www.SOMO.org/CoronavirusUpdate on a regular basis.


SOI has prepared a list of frequently asked questions on the topic of virus prevention and control that you can reference. The CDC also has a lot of great information that is updated regularly (including how to avoid contraction of the virus if you are in the group of higher-risk individuals).

 

SOI has developed a 30-minute eLearning course for the Special Olympics community about COVID-19. This course is designed to cover the basic information about the coronavirus. To take the course, visit www.learn.specialolympics.org.

 

If you become aware of anyone in the Special Olympics Missouri family who becomes infected with coronavirus, immediately alert Susan Stegeman (Stegeman@somo.org).

Here are some tips to help make sure we all stay healthy:

• If you’re feeling even slightly under the weather or you’re running a fever, please stay home. Whether you’re an athlete, coach, family member or volunteer, please don’t put everyone else at risk because you don’t want to miss something. We know missing out isn’t any fun, but taking the chance that someone could get sick because of your actions isn’t fun either.

• Wash your hands after using the restroom and before eating -- do so for AT LEAST 20 seconds.

• Use a paper towel to turn off the faucet and open bathroom doors, not your freshly-washed hands

• Avoid touching your face

• Sneeze or cough into your arm, not your hands

• Avoid shaking hands and high-fives

• Avoid drinking from the same cup or bottle as someone else

• Set up a home training regimen with your local athletes to make sure everyone still stays in shape

-    Keep an eye on our social media accounts over the next week as we work with our athlete-leaders to develop a training plan for our athletes to stay fit in this time without practices

• For updates on the virus, visit the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention website daily


For all future updates on the virus and how it affects Special Olympics Missouri, please visit www.SOMO.org.

 

 

March 12, 2020:

COLUMBIA POLAR PLUNGE CANCELLED


Hello Columbia Polar Plungers,

The Columbia Polar Plunge scheduled for March 14 is officially cancelled. Due to the concern over Coronavirus, and following on the heels of us cancelling all program-related events (practices, competitions, etc.) statewide through the end of the month, we feel it's in the best interest of all of our constituents involved if we do the same for this special event.

It will require all of us taking every precautionary measure to ensure that this virus doesn't spread any more than it already has. Please join us in taking this seriously for the safety of everyone in our communities.

We are looking at the possibility of hosting a Plunge later this fall where you would be invited to join us. We will be in contact with more details on the event at a later date.

We apologize for any confusion or disappointment. We are looking out for the safety of our whole community and hope to see you again very soon.

For those of you who raised enough money for incentives, we have them and are happy to coordinate getting them to you. At this time, since this situation is changing by the hour, we ask that you are patient with us as we try to figure out how to handle disbursement of those incentives. We will be in contact in the next couple of months. Feel free to reach out to us if you haven’t heard anything by June 1.

We are sending this message out to everyone who registered online, but we know that there are people who register in-person on the day of the event. Please make sure everyone on your team, and those who register on event day, are aware of the cancellation.

If you have donations to mail in, please send them to Special Olympics Missouri, 711 W. McCarty St., Jefferson City, MO 65101. Please include "Columbia Polar Plunge" AND the Plunger's name with the money.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me at Delameter@somo.org.

Thanks again for your support!

Kami Delameter, Columbia Plunge Organizer

 

 

March 11, 2020:

Special Olympics Missouri is taking the threat of COVID-19 (coronavirus) seriously. Our number one priority is keeping our athletes and constituents safe.


As an organization that serves a broad array of individuals, including some who may have medical issues that increase their potential susceptibility, we feel especially compelled to follow the recommended practice of social distancing to keep our athletes and supporters safe.

 

For this reason, Special Olympics Missouri is suspending all sport trainings (including practices), competitions, and other program-related activities involving our athletes through March 31, 2020. We will re-evaluate the situation at the end of the month.

If you have program-related questions, please contact Trish Lutz (Lutz@somo.org).

This decision was made carefully after consulting with Special Olympics officials and state and county health officials after they spoke with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization.

It will require ALL of us taking every precautionary measure to ensure that everyone stays as healthy as possible. Please join us in taking this seriously for the safety of all of our athletes and the safety of our community at large.

SOI has prepared a list of frequently asked questions that you can reference on the topic of virus prevention and control. The CDC also has a lot of great information that is updated regularly (including how to avoid contracting the virus if you are in the group of higher-risk individuals). 

 

Here are some tips to help make sure we all stay healthy:

  • If you’re feeling even slightly under the weather or you’re running a fever, please stay home. Whether you’re an athlete, coach, family member or volunteer, please don’t put everyone else at risk because you don’t want to miss something. We know missing out isn’t any fun, but taking the chance that someone could get sick because of your actions isn’t fun either.
  • Wash your hands after using the restroom and before eating -- do so for AT LEAST 20 seconds.
  • Use a paper towel to turn off the faucet and open bathroom doors, not your freshly-washed hands.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Sneeze or cough into your arm, not your hands.
  • Avoid shaking hands and high-fives.
  • Avoid drinking from the same cup or bottle as someone else.
  • Set up a home training regimen with your local athletes to make sure everyone still stays in shape.
    • Keep an eye on our social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) over the next week as we work with our athlete-leaders to develop a training plan for our athletes to stay fit in this time without practices. If you are an athlete who is interested in helping, email Brandon Schatsiek (Schatsiek@somo.org).
  • For updates on the virus, visit the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention website daily


For all future updates on the virus and how it affects SOMO events, please visit www.SOMO.org.

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