December 9, 2021
As we continue along in the COVID-19 journey, we would like to provide an update regarding the provincial vaccination status and Return to Program (RTP).
The province of Ontario has begun vaccinations for the 5 -11 year old age group. We have received several questions around the RTP protocols for this age group. At this time, we will continue with our current protocols regarding proof of vaccination for all participants 12 years and up attending in person programs. Should the provincial government implement mandates regarding the proof of vaccinations for the 5-11 year olds, we will review our protocols at that time to determine a suitable application to our programs.
Additionally, the third vaccination booster dose is quickly becoming available to many people in Ontario. We will continue to promote the importance of vaccinations to our membership and encourage all our Special Olympics Ontario members to be vigilant and obtain the booster dose when they are able to.
Recently, we have seen an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases across the province with some regional health districts placing a hold on the easing of restrictions and capacities. Given the current circumstances, Special Olympics Ontario will continue with our current RTP procedures and COVID-19 safety protocols within all programs. Although all participants are required to provide proof of vaccination to participate at in person programs, we must continue to keep our members’ health and safety as our priority. Special Olympics Ontario will continue to monitor the COVID-19 cases across the province and when possible, will review the COVID-19 safety protocols to determine if restrictions may be lifted.
In-person programming and local competition opportunities through Hometown Games continues to be a focal point for our organization to take us from where we are now, to a point where we are able to rebuild our grassroots programs and launch us back into in person competitions. It is our intention, when safe to do so, to gradually reduce COVID-19 safety protocols to ensure our athletes have time to transfer from individual skill building sessions to competition like skill sessions which will prepare them for the Hometown Games experience, when it does happen. We will continue to provide progress updates in the coming months.
We recognize that the RTP protocols in addition to the health restrictions, places a significant burden on our volunteers and the local structures. Special Olympics Ontario is in the process of introducing some financial backing to assist with funding gaps as we build back. In the interim, if you have questions or require assistance, please reach out.
We will continue to support our members who are not comfortable returning to in-person sessions. We have a number of virtual programs available to our members:
Please visit the Return to Program website to see the FAQ and get further information on how to get your program/event back in action.