The coronavirus is affecting everyone, both personally and professionally. With new recommendations from our governor, Maine Department of Health, the CDC and a new directive from Special Olympics, Inc. (distributed last week) that strongly advises all programs to cancel all Special Olympic activities through May 31st, we have developed an updated plan to take us through the next few months.
In light of these recommendations, Special Olympics Maine has made the difficult decision to take the following actions:
–We will cancel all activities/events through May 31. This cancellation includes, but is not limited to, competitions, trainings, practice sessions, fundraising events, meetings, etc; at the state, area and local level. (At which time we will re-evaluate the current situation.)
–Due to the extension of the timeframe for cancelled events and training, the planning time that is required for events, the fact that we will not hold any Regional (spring) Games, and that athletes will not have proper time to train, practice and prepare after May 31, we will cancel State Summer Games as scheduled for June 5-7.
These measures will no doubt cause incredible disappointment for our athletes, coaches, volunteers (everyone involved), however, our first priority is, and will always be, everyone’s health and safety.
*With regards to our school partnerships, the Maine Principals’ Assoc; (MPA) and individual school districts will make decisions on any/all school sports (which includes Unified Sports) as well as other unified school initiatives and activities
*Until further notice, the Special Olympics Maine State office will remain open on a limited basis (with limited staff) M-F, 2-4 p.m. Office staff will work remotely, and be available each day, during our regular business hours. To reach staff, please call our office and follow the directions on the automated phone message. (Or, if you have email or cell phone info, reach out to that staff person directly
Further, we understand that the isolation that comes from social distancing can be very difficult to deal with, and in difficult times we tend to turn to our friends, family and teammates. Without the chance to attend practices, competitions and the social opportunities that Special Olympics offers, we understand that this will only make the coming months even more difficult. To that end, Special Olympics Maine is committed to filling idle time with alternative, remote programming and interaction. Last Wednesday we rolled out our “Weekly Warrior” program through social media. Giving athletes, coaches, volunteer groups and corporate partners a number of opportunities to engage in fitness/wellness training from home. This program will offer weekly, updated interaction for all, with goals and challenges to achieve. In an effort to be READY TO GO, when that time comes again. (And it will come again.)
These are very challenging times for all of us, but we know that our Special Olympics Community of over 5,000 athletes, 6,000 coaches and volunteers, and countless friends, family, fans and sponsors will offer each other the support needed to get through all this!