COVID-19 Vaccine Policy & Guidelines Q&A Updated July 27, 2021

What do you mean by in person/direct involvement?

Any position that required person to person contact with a SOO athlete.  This includes, but not limited to: 1:1, Small groups with athletes, Sport Coach, Support Roles ie Drivers, Officials, Facilitators.

What do you mean by fully vaccinated.

Full vaccinated = 14 days after receiving your second dose in a 2-dose series vaccine (i.e., Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Astrazeneca/COVISHIELD) or a complete single dose in a single-dose vaccine (i.e., Johnson & Johnson)

However, we do understand that many of our coaches are in the process of receiving their 2nd dose so we are allowing coaches to be eligible for in-person coaching if they have received their 1st dose and plan to obtain their 2nd dose.  Coaches who have their 1st dose will be required to provide proof of their 1st dose when completing the vaccine declaration form.  Those coaches will then be required to provide proof of their 2nd dose to remain eligible for in-person coaching.
Note: you will be eligible for in person coaching 14 days after your 1st vaccine dose.

Does it matter which vaccine I received?

No, all vaccine brands approved by Health Canada are acceptable acceptable (currently, this includes Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Astrazeneca/COVISHIELD and Johnson & Johnson).

I plan to have my 2nd dose in the upcoming weeks, am I eligible for in person volunteering right now?

Yes, but you will need to indicate the date for your 2nd dose on the Vaccine Declaration Form.  Once you have received your 2nd dose, you will have the opportunity to update your Vaccine Declaration Form to provide a copy of the vaccine record for your 2nd dose.

I have my 1st dose, and I plan to get my 2nd But something happens and I do not, or cannot, get my 2nd dose.

Coaches who do not, or cannot, get the 2nd dose of the vaccine within a reasonable time period, will no longer be eligible for in-person coaching and will be asked to move to a virtual coaching role or administrative position.

What if I cannot find a copy of my vaccination record to upload?

You can go to the following website to obtain your vaccination records:

What formats are you accepting for the proof of vaccination?

We will accept pdf, jpg, gif, png, heic. If you have difficulty providing proof of vaccination in one of these formats, please contact SOO and we will find an alternative way for you to provide proof of vaccination.

I do not plan to get vaccinated. How can I stay involved?

We encourage anyone who is eligible to be vaccinated. Being vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

Volunteers who do not plan to get vaccinated are welcome to coach any of our virtual programs or may consider volunteering in an administrative role that does not require person to person contact with an athlete.  For example, Data Administrator.  Please contact your Community Coordinator or Program Consultant to discuss these options.

If you have hesitancy about getting vaccinated, we recommend you speak to your physician or  health care professional.

What if I am medically unable to be fully vaccinated?

We understand that there are circumstances that may prevent you from being vaccinated.

Please contact to discuss your situation and for further instructions.

What if I change my mind and decide to be fully vaccinated. Would I be eligible for in-person coaching?

14 days after your 1st dose, (and providing you plan to obtain your 2nd dose), you will be eligible for in-person coaching. Please contact your Head Coach and have them add your name to the coaching list form so you can complete the Vaccine Declaration Form.

Why are we allowed to do in-person coaching if we only have our first vaccination?

Coaches who indicate they have the 1st dose and show their intention to receive the 2nd dose are eligible for in-person coaching as they are fulfilling the eligibility requirements by showing intent.

Where can I get the Vaccine Declaration Form?

Please let your Head Coach know that you are intending to return to in-person coaching.  Your head coach will add your name to the Coach List Form that they must submit for all coaches who are intending to return to in person coaching.  Once the Coaching List Form is submitted by the Head Coach, each coach on the list will receive an email with the link to the online Vaccine Declaration Form.  Check your junk mail for the email.

How will I know if I am cleared for in-person coaching?

Upon submission of your Vaccine Declaration Form, you will receive an email indicating if you are eligible or ineligible for in person coaching.  Your Head Coach will receive a copy of the same email so they will be aware of your eligibility status for in person coaching.

Why do we need to continue with COVID 19 safety protocols at in person training sessions if we are fully vaccinated?

Ontario law currently requires all individuals (whether or not they are vaccinated) to comply with public health measures like wearing masks. SOO must comply with any legislated health and safety requirements. Our health and safety policies will be updated as public health guidelines and legislative requirements change.

If I have to upload a copy of my vaccination certificate, how will my privacy be protected?

Vaccination certificates are uploaded and stored on a secure server. Access to this information will be limited within SOO on a strict need-to-know basis. The information will not be disclosed externally unless required by law, to enforce the proof of vaccination policy or where required for health and safety purposes. Vaccination certificates will be destroyed once they are no longer necessary for the purpose for which they were collected. 

How is SOO monitoring COVID-19 in the province?

Special Olympics Ontario uses the Province of Ontario website to gather information and reports regarding COVID-19.

How long will we be required to prove our vaccination status?

Special Olympics will continually re-evaluate its policies. If it is determined that proof of vaccination is no longer necessary to protect SOO athletes, the requirement will be removed.

Why are the athletes not required to be vaccinated?

SOO is doing everything we can to encourage athletes to be vaccinated including creating information resources to assist them in their decision and a service to direct them to making appointments. We are also providing athletes with the opportunity to voluntarily disclose their vaccination status to SOO.

Special Olympics has determined that, at this point in time, it will only be requiring coaches to be vaccinated against COVID-19. This is being done primarily to ensure the safety of our athletes, who are in a high risk group for developing a severe adverse reaction to COVID-19.

Although they are not required to be vaccinated, our athletes are nonetheless required to comply with Special Olympics’ other health and safety practices, including wearing masks, socially distancing, and screening prior to entering a Special Olympics facility. In addition, Special Olympics is complying with all provincial public health guidelines and reopening requirements to ensure a safe return to sport.

For many of our athletes, Special Olympics is the only organization through which they are able to compete in sport. If Special Olympics imposes obligations that have the effect of precluding a particular athlete from participating in a Special Olympics program, it is entirely possible that they will lose the ability to compete at all, which would be at odds with the values of our organization. Our goal is to ensure Special Olympics can continue to serve the community and provide opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities to compete in sport, while also protecting the health and safety of all involved.

SOO is continuing to monitor developments and will inform the SOO community if any changes are made to our current policy.

Are 1:1 support persons required to have vaccinations?

Yes, 1:1 support persons who attend and participate in training sessions with their athlete are required to have their vaccinations.

What about Community Council Meetings. Are we required to be vaccinated to host those meetings?

Vaccinations will only be required if the community council meetings have athletes present.

What about athlete banquets. Will vaccinations be mandatory for attending athlete banquets?

At this time, we are not able to answer this question. However, we will provide updates to the membership regarding questions like this.

As an athlete, if I am unable to be vaccinated, is it safe for me to attend in person training?

We recommend you (and your family) speak to your physician about the risks involved with attending in person training.  If you choose not to attend in person training, we recommend you continue with our Virtual Program Activities.  If you choose to attend in person training, please know that all COVID-19 Safety Protocols remain in place at this time to ensure the safety of all members.