Dear Special Olympics Massachusetts Friends & Family,
We wanted to share an update on how the coronavirus (COVID-19) will be affecting our organization over the next few months. Because this is a new challenge for us all, we have developed a plan through the Spring Sports Season.
In light of the new recommendations shared by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s Office and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that large public gatherings be cancelled or postponed, Special Olympics Massachusetts will take the following actions:
- Cancelling or postponing all Special Olympics Massachusetts events and trainings through May 9, 2020. This cancellation includes, but is not limited to competitions, fundraising events, practices, fitness programming, and coach or volunteer trainings.
- Due to the extension of the timeframe for canceled events and training, the planning that is required for events, the uncertainty from our venue partners, and the qualification process for advancement to additional levels of competition between May 10 and June 14, we will cancel all Special Olympics Massachusetts-hosted events in that time, including qualifying tournaments, fundraisers, Hall of Fame, and Summer Games.
- The Special Olympics Massachusetts offices will remain open for the time being, but a number of staff members will be working remotely, as such, please allow for a little extra response time to calls and emails. This is a period of rapid change for us all, so there are a number of things to manage, but we will work as quickly as possible to answer questions and reply to communication.
- With regards to our school partnerships, the school superintendents and the school districts will take the lead. Our schools programs are part of the inclusive school community. If and when school districts make the decision to open and resume interscholastic sports and other school initiatives, our schools programs will follow suit.
These measures will no doubt cause incredible disappointment for our athletes, coaches, and volunteers, however, in light of the current circumstances, we must continue to make everyone’s health and safety our number one priority.
In the meantime, we understand that the isolation that comes from social distancing can be incredibly stressful - when we are feeling stress, we tend to lean on our friends, family and, at Special Olympics, our teammates.
Because we know that missing out on practices, games, and other social opportunities will only make these coming weeks more difficult,
Special Olympics Massachusetts is committed to providing alternative, remote programming. Over the next few days and weeks, we will roll out a number of opportunities to participate in fitness and wellness trainings from home. We are also looking into opportunities to bring groups of athletes, coaches and partners together to socialize and stay well together, digitally.
Although we are entering uncharted territory, we know that our community of over 14,000 athletes, 10,000 volunteers and countless fans, is here to support each other - even if that is from the comfort of their own homes.
Together we are an incredibly resilient group of people who can get through anything and come out on the other side even stronger.
Thank you for your time and dedication to the Special Olympics Movement,
Mary Beth McMahon
President & CEO
Special Olympics Massachusetts