COVID-19 UPDATE

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Please visit https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx for the most up to date information on COVID-19.

11/24/2020

Effective November 13, 2020, multiple health zones within the province enacted enhanced health measures. Since that time, COVID-19 numbers continue to rise within the province with increased instances of community spread and cases of unknown origin. That combined with the vulnerability of our Special Olympics athletes and their families, we have made the decision to take action to ensure our membership and their families remain safe and healthy.

Effective immediately, all in-person programs are suspended until January 11, 2021.

The decision to suspend programs was made because of the escalating number of cases in our province. This decision is not a reflection of the outstanding work and diligence of our programs who successfully returned to sport. I want to sincerely thank the leadership volunteers from these affiliates and community programs who followed protocols meticulously and ensured there was no COVID spread among our Special Olympics athletes and volunteers. We have to act now to do our part to ensure the safety of our members and help prevent the spread of COVID-19 within our communities.

Our approach throughout the pandemic was to be the organization that gets criticized because we were too conservative, not the one that opened too fast or didn’t pause fast enough if cases escalated. The current environment is extremely concerning and we will take an abundance of caution around protecting the health of our athletes and volunteers.

We acknowledge that social distancing is very difficult for many, especially our athletes who struggle with not being able to meet with their friends and the volunteers who they have a close bond with. In the lead up to the Holiday Season we are going to be launching several new virtual social initiatives to connect our members and have some much needed fun. We will also encourage athletes to sign up for the final weeks of PEAK and get ready for info on the Winter 2021 edition. Visit here for more info: https://www1.specialolympics.ab.ca/get-involved/peak-program/.

Another great source of information is the Healthy at Home newsletter which can be signed up for here: https://mailchi.mp/specialolympics.ab.ca/healthyathome

As dark as it seems now, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It will take time and patience, but we will get through this together.

Please stay safe everyone.

Johnny Byrne

CEO

9/1/2020

Attention: Special Olympics Alberta Communities, Clubs, Volunteers, Athletes, Partners, Associates and Families 

As we mentioned in our last social media update: “Our Return to Play protocols have been approved and Special Olympics Alberta staff are currently working with each Affiliate and Community Program to determine what their plan will be for the fall.” 

While this announcement does not include a set return date, we are hopeful and excited for a successful return to play in many of our communities. We want to reiterate that each community’s return to sports will differ depending on their facilities, sports, and available volunteers.  

We will still continue to provide virtual opportunities for athletes through our Healthy at Home newsletter and in collaboration with Chapters across the country. 

Return to play is going to be an ongoing process, so we want to thank you for your patience as we continue to be conservative in our approach. Our priority is, and will always be, the health and safety of our athletes, volunteers, and coaches.

If you have any questions or would like to speak with a staff member please email info@specialolympics.ab.ca or call 1-800-444-2883 and leave a message. 

6/29/2020

Attention: Special Olympics Alberta Communities, Clubs, Volunteers, Athletes, Partners, Associates and Families

In consultation with local and provincial health authorities and Special Olympics programs across Canada, Special Olympics Alberta is directing that all in person local sport programs, competitions, and any related activities remain suspended until August 31, 2020.

We will continue to monitor and evaluate the status of this pandemic and advise you of next steps on or before August 31st. While the province begins to open up, the obligation for safety, security, protocols and liability lies with the business or organization. Sport in general and Special Olympics specifically, has a duty of care beyond the normal scope of most organizations.

Special Olympics Alberta is working with Special Olympics Canada and all Chapters on finding the best way to navigate this challenging situation. Our approach when planning our return to play is that we are going to be the organization that gets criticized because we were too conservative in our opening, not the one that opened too fast. There is still COVID in our communities and we will take an abundance of caution around protecting the health of our athletes and volunteers.

Protecting the health and safety of everyone involved is the primary objective, while getting programs operational in some form. Stay informed by going to our website www.specialolympics.ca/alberta/covid-19 for the latest updates.

Should you have any questions or would like to speak with a staff person about the pandemic please email info@specialolympics.ab.ca or call 1-800-444-2883 and leave a message and we will follow up.

Stay safe everyone!

4/15/2020

Due to recent developments tied to the coronavirus (COVID-19), Special Olympics Alberta is suspending all sport training, practices and competition activities, other Special Olympics events involving our athletes through June 30, 2020, at which time the situation will be re-evaluated.

Special Olympics Alberta is collaborating with chapters from across the country to bring you virtual programming through SO Healthy at Home. Healthy at Home is a place where athletes, coaches, families, and supporters can visit for ongoing resources, events and connection opportunities.

Sign up for our weekly newsletter that will include updates, resources, courses, connection opportunities, and much more.

https://mailchi.mp/specialolympics.ab.ca/healthyathome

3/16/2020

To ensure that we are supporting the fight against the spread of COVID-19 and protecting the health and wellness of our staff, all Special Olympics Alberta employees will be working from home for the foreseeable future.

Our staff can still be reached by phone or e-mail and we look forward to staying connected with you. Please reach out with any questions that you may have.

3/13/2020

Due to recent developments tied to the coronavirus (COVID-19), Special Olympics Alberta is suspending all sport training, practices and competition activities, other Special Olympics events involving our athletes through April 14, 2020, at which time the situation will be re-evaluated.

This decision was made carefully based on new developments and advice from Special Olympics International and information from Alberta Health.

Cancelling our events is disappointing and not a decision made lightly; however, we know that our love of sport does not compare to the importance of protecting the health of our athletes and the entire Special Olympics Alberta community.

Please review specialolympics.ca/alberta/covid-19 for any updates regarding this situation. In addition, any updates will be communicated to participants via email, our website and social media channels (FacebookTwitter and Instagram).

Please continue to practice smart and careful prevention strategies. Wash your hands often, use hand sanitizer, avoid high-fives, avoid handshakes, and avoid contact with your face.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate this situation and strive to make the best possible decisions for everyone in our community.

Sincerely,

John Byrne

CEO

jbyrne@specialolympics.ab.ca