Return 2 Play

What’s the Plan?

Special Olympics South Carolina has developed a statewide plan to safely return to play. It is a phased approach and will be implemented statewide versus by local program. In order to ensure the safety of athletes, coaches, Unified Partners and our volunteers, plus countless family members and caregivers, our staff has evaluated each sport on risk level. Sports were selected by potential risk factors; ability to social distance, whether they were indoor or outdoor sports and if they had shared equipment.

Sports Update:

Special Olympics South Carolina is continuing to monitor the number of COVID-19 cases in our state.

  • In lieu of hosting larger state competitions, the 16 local area programs and Unified Champion Schools are encouraged to host area-wide or school-based competitions. All sports are open for training on a local level.
  • Team sports can train and compete in all levels. Indoor sports are limited to 50 people or less.

Special Olympics South Carolina continues to partner with over 260 Unified Champions Schools across the state to offer such innovative programming as Unified PE and Interscholastic Unified Track and Field to reach the entire school population through inclusive sports training and programming.

Area programs who have teams training will follow COVID-19 mitigation guidelines set forth by Special Olympics International.
Requirements for State Level Competitions are here: RTP Winter Spring 2022

Everyone is still required to sign SOSC Covid Waiver.

Athletes who cannot train in person, Health Homework training options are provided on the Special Olympics South Carolina YouTube Channel
Parents and family members can find more information in our Return2Play Family Guide.
There are very specific steps that must be completed by coaches before any trainings can begin.
Those steps can be found here: under Coaches FAQ.


More details will be released as they are finalized. You can contact your Area Director or Coach for more information.

Sport Specific Plans

Alpine Skiing    Badminton      Basketball      Bocce      Bowling      Competitive Cheer    Cross Country Running      Disc Golf    Equestrian      Flag Football      Golf      Gymnastics      Kayaking     Powerlifting      Sailing       Snowboarding      Soccer        Softball        Stand Up Paddleboarding       Swimming       Table Tennis       Tennis              Track & Field      Volleyball

Coaches FAQs

Once Special Olympics South Carolina opens up Return 2 Play phases, do I need to let my Area Director know I’ve started training with my athletes again?

  • Contact your Area Director/Area Leadership and advise them of your desire to begin practice BEFORE you contact your athletes/athlete’s families. If you do not have your local program’s contact information visit a complete contact list.
  • Any coach wishing to begin training will be required to complete a Return 2 Play Coaches Guide Course reviewing the COVID Safety Protocols and submit a Training Sanction Form to their Area Director.  These steps are MANDATORY to begin training. This form must be submitted to the Area Director who will then forward to the SOSC Sports Staff.
  • Complete the Registration Form  for your Return to Play Resource Kit to receive your free kit. Please contact Anna Parks ([email protected]) with questions.
  • Attend the following Coaches Q&A Zoom calls for discussion and review of any questions or concerns. Future Dates are TBA.
  • Return to Play Volunteer Expectations

What do I do if a athlete/coach/volunteer shows symptoms after attending a practice?

  • Review with the individual what symptoms they are experiencing and when they first appeared.
  • Ask when they were tested and when they were advised the results would return.
  • Advise the individual to not return to practice until 7 days symptom free with a doctor’s note or a negative test result is received.
  • Contact each individual who attended practice and advise of possible exposure to COVID-19.
    • Review symptoms and request they contact you if symptoms occur.
    • Advise them if the individual tests positive for COVID-19
  • Stay in constant contact with your Area Director and Kelly Garrick about the situation from beginning to end.

How was this protocol developed and who was consulted?

  • This plan and considerations for each sport safety protocols were formed based on the recommendations of the CDC, SCDHEC, SOI, South Carolina High School League and the Special Olympics South Carolina COVID-19 Advisory Group

What will be the process and timeline for revisions to the protocol?

  • Revisions will be made based on recommendations as they come from national and local authorities in conjunction with the Special Olympics South Carolina COVID-19 Advisory Group and Special Olympics South Carolina.

Are schools required to follow the Special Olympics Return to Activity Protocol?

  • Consideration should be given to the following:
  1. The school would not be required to follow SOSC protocols IF the activity is considered to be “school-operated” or “school sponsored”. The school’s and/or school district’s protocols would take precedent.
  2. The school would be required to follow SOSC protocols IF the activity is considered to be “Special Olympics-operated” or “co-operated”.
  • As stated in the Special Olympics Return to Activity Protocol: “If school activities transition into Special Olympics community activities (e.g., the final competition/tournament is hosted by Special Olympics), then proper Return To Play protocol and necessary precautions for Special Olympics events, as outlined, must be followed.” 

Can we provide extensions on the submission of athlete medical forms?

  • Special Olympics Medical form extension is no longer allowed. All medicals must be valid. If a medical has expired (valid for 3 years) the athlete will need to get their medical forms updated.  New athletes should still submit a medical form prior to participation in Special Olympics sports.

Who do I contact with questions?

  • Please contact your local Area Director with any questions regarding Return to Play protocol or other general information. If you do not have your local program’s contact information visit for a complete contact list.
  • With any other sport-related questions please contact the Senior Director of Sports and Competition, Kelly Garrick ([email protected])

Coach Resources

SC Return to Play Protocol Videos
SC Return to Play Protocol Videos –

Special Olympics International (SOI)
COVID-19 Video
Dr. Alicia Bazzano, Special Olympics Chief Medical health Officer

National Federation of State High School Association (NFHS) Learning Center
COVID-19 Free Online Course


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